DC: Our review of Sun In My Belly is a unique one, as we’ve actually visited twice in the past couple of months. The first time was during my birthday weekend, so we weren’t completely in blogger mode. So we figured we’d take a trip back and compare both experiences.
DC: The first Sunday of every month, SIMB holds a jazz brunch, which we were lucky to experience during our first visit. As we approached SIMB, we noticed the crowd of hopeful brunchers waiting to be summoned for seating. Immediately, it was clear that this was the spot to be that Sunday. We squeezed our way through the crowd to put our names on the list, and noticed the espresso bar behind the hostess stand. Knowing we’d have a while to wait, we grabbed lattes for us and two of our friends. There isn’t a lot of room inside to stand around, but luckily, after hovering for a while, a couple of seats became available (comfy couches in a small nook). As we took our seats, the musicians began to set up, and momentarily, we were experiencing the sounds of soothing, relaxing jazz. The singer’s voice lulled me to comfort, and made the wait 10x more bearable. I really enjoyed it! As a former barista, I can also say that the latte was definitely up to par.
LC: Once we found our little spots on the couch, I can truly say that I was taken away by the wispy voice of jazz chanteuse Nicole Chillemi. I truly fell in love with her voice! I almost forgot we were sitting there waiting for almost an hour.
DC: Our second trip was on a much drearier day, with no flock of hungry brunchers to be seen. We happened to find parking in the back of the restaurant, and entered from the rear. We were seated almost instantly. At that time, we weren’t aware that the jazz is only a “first Sunday” occasion, so we were slightly disappointed to find no jazz to dazzle our eardrums. The ambiance from the first visit to the second was definitely not as whimsical without the jazz. We were sat at a tiny table for two, with a table of four seated an elbows-length away. Seating was sort of tight, and we had to play tetris with the dishes on our table because it was so small. We were also right near the kitchen AND the restrooms AND the backdoor, so traffic flowed around us quite a bit, and LC got bumped a couple of times. If you can avoid this situation, I would advise that you do. As far as service goes, the second time was somewhat better than the first. Our first server seemed aloof and never cracked a smile or revealed any personality whatsoever. Our second server was nice enough, and tried to help with suggestions. He seemed relatively pleasant, but rushed… it’s a cramped, busy place so I can understand to a degree.
DC: During our first trip, I was over-the-top ecstatic to try the Challah French Toast — stuffed with honeyed ricotta, with fresh seasonal fruit. I had seen several mouthwatering pictures of this during my research of SIMB, and had read tons of favorable reviews. So I ordered it straightaway, with great anticipation. After ordering with confidence and a smile, I had barely set my menu on the table, when the server informed me that they were OUT of French Toast. ::car screeching to a halt sound effect:: “Kentucky Fried Chicken, say what?! Say WHAT?!” “Where is Ashton Kutcher, ‘cause I’m DEFINITELY feelin’ PUNK’D right about now.” One of the major no-no’s for me is when a restaurant runs out of something, ESPECIALLY when it is one of their signature dishes. I’m sorry, but that is inexcusable. Attempting to get myself together, I returned to the menu, scrambling to find an alternative as everyone else ordered their grub. I felt caught offguard, and ended up getting the “omelette of the day” because honestly I was still in a haze of disbelief. The omelette ended up being some mozzarella, spinach, tomato something-or-other, which was okay. The thing is, I love making omelettes, and I feel like I could’ve easily duplicated this omelette at home..and possibly done it BETTER. It was nothing special and I ultimately needed hot sauce to kick up the flavor.
LC: On our first rendezvous, I ordered the Grilled Chicken Sandwich (with Scallion Aoili + Mixed Field Greens + Gouda Cheese on Herb Foccacia). The portion size was pretty large… but after a night of adult beverages (DC’s birthday night), this sandwich was necessary to feeding my giant-sized appetite. I ordered a side of the red potato salad and was generally satisfied with my decision. Overall, the sandwich most certainly served its purpose!
DC: The second time (yes, oddly I gave them a second chance after the first debacle), I hoped that maybe they’d actually have the French Toast. However, this time, I was feeling lunchy, so I didn’t end up ordering it, after all. I opted for The Dagwood sandwich instead (triple decker with ham + turkey + roast beef + swiss cheese + fontina cheese + mixed field greens + sun-dried tomato aioli + spicy dijon on sourdough) ($9.95). “A sandwich is a sandwich,” true…but not all are created equal. This one was definitely on the greater end of the spectrum. The quality of the meats and cheeses were on point, and the sun-dried tomato aioli and spicy dijon on the fresh, soft sourdough were savory complements that I enjoyed. The sandwich was GARGANTUAN. LC scooped up a corner, and I tried my darndest to finish the rest, relishing every delicious bite. My side dish was the red potato salad (what LC got the first time). At first, I was none too impressed, until I dug in a bit more and struck gold with the bleu cheese crumbles… mmmm, c’est si bon! Loved it! The second dining experience was definitely a step up from the first.
LC: I really liked DC’s Dagwood! Most definitely a meat lovin’, big-boy portion, BUT each yummy layer gives rise to the next yummy layer! If they served this in half portions (or if you have a buddy to split it with) this would be a great sandwich choice! On our second trip I ordered the Toasted Tuscan Panini (Turkey + Fontina Cheese with Garlic Aioli on Sourdough) with a side of the Asian Green bean salad (tossed with ginger dressing and black sesame) ($9.95). Sooooo, the sandwich was not my favorite. The garlic aioli was very mayonnaisey and did nothing to save a sandwich that was already rather bland. I had to reach for the sriracha because I NEEDED it in my life to un-bland the situation. If you’ve read any of our other reviews, I know what you’re thinking: “This girl can’t eat anything without burning her tongue off.” And you know what? Maybe you’re right, but the one thing I require in anything savory I eat, is FLAVOR! Unlike DC, my FIRST dining experience was the winner. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich didn’t require any “heat” or “spice,” it was delightful on its own (though, I’m sure I added it anyway). The show stopper for me the second time was the green bean salad; it had just the right amount of ginger with the black sesame meeting you right at the end of the bite. Yummers!
DC: What made the first visit special was the jazz, but unfortunately I was sorely disappointed with the French Toast misfortune. Sadly, there was nothing else on the menu that was even similar to that, so I ended up settling on something average instead. The second time, the food was better, but I missed the ambiance of the jazz. In general, SIMB is cramped, tight, and LOUD. If you’re looking for a quiet, comfy brunch where you can chat with friends, steer clear. If anything at all, I would recommend SIMB for the jazz brunch. I just can’t guarantee that they’ll have everything they advertise on the menu. Maybe someday I’ll return to actually try the French Toast, but it will be far, far in the distant future, as there are tons of other brunch spots in Atlanta that I would love to try first.
LC: I agree, DC. I am not sure when I’ll make my next trip to SIMB (DEF on a jazz day, though). I am not a fan of tight corners, or places so loud that you literally have to YELL at your server, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re at a happenin’ spot.
Score: 3 / 5
Have you eaten at Sun In My Belly? What was your experience? Give us the dish, in the comments below!
Sun In My Belly is located at:
2161 College Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30317
Must have at least 6 people to make a reservation.