If you've ever driven down Pharr Road in Buckhead, there's no way on Earth you didn't see or notice the big fish next to the Atlanta Fish Market. We now live down the street from it, so we pass by it almost daily. The kids love to stick their heads out the windows and look up at it as we drive by. I'd venture to guess that it's one of the more popular landmarks in Atlanta. Anyway, this story isn't as much about that fish as it is my first visit to the restaurant back in 1996. I'd been in Atlanta only a couple of months, when I was invited to dinner there with a friend and her parents. We got there a little early and had drinks at the bar while we waited to be seated. Eventually we made it to our table and began perusing the amazing menu. A few minutes later, our server came to the table with a customary basket of bread. As he put the basket on the table, a small roach jumped out of the basket and ran across the table. I can't put in words the look on our server's face. It's one thing to be told there's a fly in your soup. It's another when the server actually witnesses a roach leap from the bread basket and scurry across the table. Needless to say, we were all rather speechless. The server apologized profusely, and we actually laughed about it and told him not to worry about it. Things happen, right?
We eventually placed our orders and had a wonderful meal. But the dinner conversation was quite interesting, as we spent more time trying to guess how we might be "compensated" for the roach incident. For the first half of our meal, I noticed the Maitre d' nervously pacing around and watching us, as if he knew he had to come say something but had no idea what or how to say it. He eventually came to our table, and his comment was rather humorous: "Good evening...I understand we had a little "visitor" this evening." We all laughed and told him it was definitely surprising, but that things happen and everything was fine. He proceeded to apologize and then offered us dessert on the house. We were a little surprised, as we'd expected something a little more exciting, but something is better than nothing.
I've only been to the Atlanta Fish Market one other time since the roach incident. That's not to say that I wouldn't go back. It's just that Atlanta has so many great places to eat, I just haven't made my way back there. It goes without saying, though, that it's a popular place, not only because its food, but also because of the big fish out front.
Now that Buckhead is going through a massive transition, with most of the old, popular bars and restaurants almost all either torn down or changed, it's nice to see that the Atlanta Fish Market (and its famous landmark) have weathered the storm. I would like to go eat there again sometime, but until then, we will continue to drive by so that the kids can gaze in amazement at "the big fish."