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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Scoutmob Excursion: A-Priori Seafood (Doraville)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  2 out of 5 Gummy Bears

:) = Private parking lot.  Variety of decent fresh seafood dishes.  Attentive servers who tolerated us well.

:(= This restaurant is neither casual nor kid-friendly, despite what Yelp says.  We don't recommend coming here with children. 

Tip:  ScoutMob has a deal available for this restaurant.  Get it while it's fresh!

Spoons full of crawfish, compliments of the chef.
Well, our favorite site, Yelp, fooled us again.  We visited A-Priori assuming a priori that it would be "Casual" and "Good For Kids" based on Yelp's review.  When we arrived, Mommy was horrified to find that it's actually a restaurant with clean white linens covering all the tables, easy listening/elevator music playing throughout the dining area, and servers clad in neatly pressed black dress pants and crisp white button down shirts.  There was nothing casual or kid-friendly about this situation.
We considered turning around and leaving, but the restaurant was empty when we arrived, so we decided to give it a try.  Thankfully, the pristinely dressed hostess and server were friendly and gracious to us.  Our server brought us a high chair and was good-natured when we played a short game of musical chairs before choosing our seats.  The chef even sent us complimentary spoonfuls of lightly fried crawfish tails covered with a tomato-based sauce, and our server brought us delicious cheesy bread and a marinara dipping sauce topped with fresh mozzarella - all of which we thoroughly enjoyed.  But despite the staff's best efforts, we knew the truth:  A-Priori is for Mommy-Daddy Date Nights, not family dinner outings. 
"I like to dip it, dip it."
Here's what we ordered:  A-Priori Ceviche (crab meat, jumbo shrimp, mango, & avocado with a citrus sauce, served with crispy plantain chips); fried calamari; organic corn arugula salad (baby arugula, sweet grilled corn kernels, cubes of feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes with a vinaigrette-style dressing); Grilled Spanish Octopus served with organic baby kale, tomatoes, and beans, and Almond and Parmesan Baked Tilapia with braised greens.

Corn arugula salad
Front: Grilled Spanish Octopus
Back:  Almond and Parmesan Baked Tilapia

We were disappointed in the kid-unfriendliness of the restaurant, but the food didn't totally let us down.  The seafood was fresh.  The flavors and ingredient ratios of each dish weren't perfect, but had lots of potential.  The calamari breading had just enough salt, but the calamari was slightly overcooked.  The corn arugula salad was delicious, and we loved the little salty bites of feta, but thought the salad could use more corn and a little less arugula.  The ceviche and Grilled Spanish Octopus were basically perfect dishes, though.  The ceviche was tasty, bursting with plump shrimp, and just a tiny bit spicy.  The octopus was tender and cut into easy-to-eat strips, and the presentation of this dish was gorgeous.  (Note the cute little flowers in the photo above.  We got a lot of pleasure from taking the flowers off the top of the dish and giving them to Mommy.)  We also liked the tilapia, although Daddy and Mommy didn't seem to think much of it.  I think the grownups' favorite part of the meal was the presence of so many veggies.  A-Priori packs their dishes with yummy organic veggies.
"Has anyone seen this fella they call Vee-chay?" 
So our final word on A-Priori is this:  pay them a visit if you're in the area and like seafood, but don't bring your little ones.  We think this restaurant has potential to be a great place for adults to enjoy a quiet, peaceful dinner.  But it's not the best spot for little foodies.  
Until next time, friends, enjoy your weekend, eat well, and keep an eye out for our next post!  It's going to be a good one. 
Afterthought:  Parents, if you and your littles are craving a seafood menu similar to A-Priori's, we recommend Goin' Coastal in Virginia Highlands.  This restaurant has yummy seafood dishes (including an amazing brunch menu), and it's super kid-friendly.

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