A flight – four vodkas of your choice – is served to patrons in a block of ice. PHOTO/Lauren “Algernon” Volkerding

BUCKHEAD’S NEW SUSHI & VODKA SPOT

Nestled among other posh establishments of the Andrews Entertainment District and cater-corner from the super-popular Souper Jenny (featured in the May 13, 2011 edition of the AJT) is the newly-opened Czar Ice Bar. Here, a splash of Russia – as well as a taste of Japan – awaits patrons.

With tiled white floor, electric-blue lighting and jet-black walls, the interior of Czar is beautifully clean and crisp, if a touch cold; then again, how could a place with “ice” in its name not be? Seating options run the gamut from communal couches to traditional tables (inside and outside) to the high seats at the bar itself.

And speaking of the bar, the serving surface itself is indeed ice, and behind, the bottles of vodka sit on shelves that stretch up to the high ceiling. The brilliant chandelier lighting shining on the colorful menagerie of labels in front of traditional mirror bar-backing makes for a stunning impression.

The dining menus feature primarily sushi (nigiri, sashimi and creative rolls) prepared by Chef Saito Saito and include such popular offerings as the California roll and the Super Crunch roll as well as an excellent spring roll appetizer and (at lunch) noodle and teriyaki bowls. The martinis offered are inspired and delicious, especially the Lychee Berry, which incorporates two fresh juices among other ingredients…

Which brings this writer to the vodkas. The menu – stretching the length of an over-size page and viewable as a PDF via the bar’s website, czaricebar.com – includes varieties from no fewer than 22 countries. Of specific interest is the kosher Russian Standard as well as two varieties of Israeli vodka: L’Chaim Kosher Vodka and Peisachovka Raisin Vodka.

Andrews Entertainment District President Stephen de Haan says these particular spirits are not terribly easy to come by in Georgia, but he’s proud to serve them.

“I’m not aware of any other carriers in the state,” he said. “But these vodkas are well worth the trouble of finding.”

Peisachovka especially had an excellently balanced finish, not to sweet but smooth all the same. Enjoy it on the rocks or as part of a flight – which are served as four shot glasses, each with the vodkas of your choosing, cradled in a block of solid ice.

With reasonable prices and an invaluable ambience, Czar Ice Bar is a – forgive the poor pun – “cool” place to be.

By John McCurdy
Managing Editor