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June 20, 2013

Atlanta Eats Beat:  June 2013

Foodie Fêtes, The Ritz’s Resident Pimentologist, Menu Scoops from ATL’s Hottest New Restos & Roswell’s Dining Renaissance

By Nancy Staab

Summer brings a new gourmet ice cream vendor, Attack of the Killer Tomato bash, “Southern pâté,” a Bocado Burger spin-off and a rash of new restos in Buckhead, Atlantic Station and Roswell.

Clockwise: Jeni's Ice cream, Chef Todd English, roast carrots & beets at King + Duke, cocktail at Hugo's, sushi at Umi Clockwise: Jeni's Ice cream, Chef Todd English, roast carrots & beets at King + Duke, cocktail at Hugo's, sushi at Umi

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Coming to Westside Provisions

The Ohio-based ice cream maven Jeni Britton Bauer is bringing her popular pints to Westside Provisions later this summer. Her shop will be located next to Star Provisions for the ultimate in double-dipping. Pop intp Star Provisions for lunch/dinner and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream for dessert. The rotating monthly menu will include lots of seasonal flavors and favorites like brambleberry crisp, whiskey and pecans, a spicy Queen City (chocolate) cayenne, a luscious purple wildberry lavender; and for more sophisticated palates how about Riesling poached pear sorbet or Cherry Lambic sorbet? And don’t miss Jeni’s petite, pastel macaron ice cream sandwiches. The homemade ice creams are made with all-natural ingredients such as “grass-grazed Ohio cream,” fair trade vanilla, local produce and bean-to-bar chocolate. Saveur  magazinevcalls her confections nothing less than “revolutionary.” Get your licks later this summer when Jeni’s opens in Westside.  For more info:


Meet Ritz-Carlton Atlanta’s Resident Pimentologist

Pimento Cheese at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta Pimento Cheese at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta

Many a swanky hotel has its own in-house mixologist, but what about a resident pimentologist? The position seems de riguer for any self-respecting luxury hotel in the South, but so far The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, downtown, is the only luxe lodging to boast such a prime position. Pimento Cheese is often considered “the pâté of the South,” and with this in mind Brian Jones, the Georgia-born chef de cuisine of Atlanta Grill, has whipped up house-made pimento cheese with crackers and crudité for complimentary tastings in the Lobby on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5-6:30 PM. The secret to Jones’ seductive spread: charred red peppers, combined with a good mayonnaise and sharp cheddar cheese. Jones has created several gourmet variations on this classic recipe, such as ones with goat cheese and roasted hot chilies; homemade buttermilk cheese with pecans and roasted red peppers; a white cheddar crème fraiche version with caramelized onion and espelette peppers; and a smoked gouda with green onion and roasted sweet peppers.

And because “pâte´” calls for a fine wine, Chef Jones is also creating Pimentologist Pairings to go with the pimento cheese tastings, such as a fine sparkling wine from Georgia or a good German Reisling.


Star Chef Todd English To Bring P.U.B Concept to Atlanta reports that celeb chef and Georgia native Todd English (Olives, Figs) will bring his casual P.U.B., i.e. Public Urban Bar concept to Atlanta by the end of the year. No word yet on locales, but we can get a pretty good idea of the fare based on the Birmingham, AL, and Las Vegas menus. Think: signature carvery with rotisserie-cooked meats; a full raw bar, and traditional pub items like fish and chips and bangers and mash. Personally, we would be more excited to welcome one of English’s more sophisticated restaurants like the Mediterranean Olives, than this more mass-marketed concept, but we will take what English we can get!


New Menus from King +Duke, Umi, Saltyard, and Two Urban Lick’s Blues Brunch

Ford Fry’s first Buckhead foray, King + Duke, has been mobbed since its opening, with diners in the handsome restaurant and see-and-be-seen cocktailers on the festive terrace. Chef Joe Schafer has cleverly centered his menu around a mode of cooking, woodfire roasting, rather than a cuisine. The result is a delicious, eclectic menu of dishes kissed with robust, earthy flavors. Depending on what you order, you can go Mediterranean with an assortment of small plates like coal roasted artichoke with anchovy aioli and grilled lemon; grilled eggplant with preserved tomato, pine nuts and mint; and a can’t miss mini-gyro of candied lamb belly, sheep’s milk feta, marinated cucumbers and warm flat bread. The menu goes slightly Morrocan with a vibrantly colorful pan of roasted farm carrots and beets with feta and harissa. But you can also veer Asian with the crab toast with Thai basil, chile and mint or the Peking duck with plums and red mustard greens.  This being a Ford Fry concept, Southern food is, of course, well represented via Mississippi rabbit; North Georgia trout and the ubiquitous deviled eggs—these ones topped with Virginia ham. Steaks, burgers, and lobster round out the menu. While the entrée list is lengthy, plenty of “bites,” “starters” and “shares” encourage small plate sampling and sharing. Each menu item, from bites to entrees, is well composed, thought-out and original in subtle ways. However, it’s the genius wood-roasting achieved with a 24-foot hearth that imparts real flavor to these rustic-but-refined dishes. For more info:

Coal roasted artichokes with anchovy aioli at King + Duke Coal roasted artichokes with anchovy aioli at King + Duke

Just down the corridor from King + Duke is the sophisticated and sleek Umi Sushi designed by Goodrowe/Hobby. It’s a palace of primitive Zen-luxe with hand-charred cypress walls and a white oak bar. The food from MF Sushi protégé Fuyuhito Ito is equally pristine, whether gorgeous sashimi and nigiri, grilled black cod misoyaki, a decadent baked lobster tempura, or elegant Bento Boxes for the lunch crowd. Pair your dishes with cocktails that are garnished with edible flowers or a top-shelf Japanese whisky. Umi even stocks the coveted Yamazaki single malt whisky, aged 18 years. And don’t even think of leaving without sampling one of Lisa Ito’s beautiful desserts such as the green tea soufflé or a pecan chocolate pie with Ara Shio caramel sauce, Japanese coarse salt and a touch of decorative gold leaf. We hear this designer space has already garnered a celeb crowd, including Sir Elton John, actor Alan Arkin and a hip-hop musician or two. For more info:


The latest project from the formidable La Grotta team, Saltyard, is now open next to Watershed at Peachtree. The small-plate-heavy menu includes: gruyere cheese gougeres with smoked salt whipped butter; local pork craklins; scallop crudo with orange, pistachio, mint and chili; cheeses and charcuterie; blistered green beans with bacon, ginger, cider-reduction; grilled octopus, and ‘shrooms on toast with house sausage, brandy cream and brioche. Want a more substantial meal? Try the “biggie smalls” dishes such as Provencal duck confit; hangar steak frites; or lemon and ale braised chicken thighs with parmesan polenta and grilled asparagus. For more info:


Two Urban Licks has a new chef, Todd Stein, and now it’s debuting a new Blues-fueled Sunday Brunch. Menu highlights include brioche beignets; scrambled eggs with crawfish, roasted poblano, cured tomato and crème fraiche; and a pimento cheese BLT with fried green tomato, lemon aioli and a spring salad. Live Blues will play from 11AM to 3PM every Sunday. For more info:


Upcoming Restaurants in the ATL

There’s a slew of new and upcoming restaurants in the ATL, starting with three concepts coming to Atlantic Station from the folks behind Bantam & Biddy, The Shed at Glenwood, and Rosebud/Family Dog. reports that The Shed at Glenwood team plans to open a smokehouse and oyster bar called the Pig and the Pearl this fall, while Rosebud owner/chef Ron Eyester will bring a modern diner to the Midtown development this winter. But first up is Shaun Doty’s Chick-a-Biddy opening at Atlantic Staion next month with a menu of wood-grilled chicken goodness, healthy salads and sides, as well as fish tacos, crab cakes, green Tabasco chicken wings with buttermilk dipping sauce, plus a bountiful brunch menu.


Other local favorites expanding in the ATL are Bocado, which will open a Bocado Burger to popularize on their cult-like double-stacks at the Avalon project in Alpharetta this fall. Meanwhile, Victory Sandwich Bar will relocate from Elizabeth Street to the Park’s Edge space in Inman Park in November. In the meantime, you can get your Jack-and-Coke slushy fix at Victory’s new Decatur location.

Ink + Elm at Emory Village Ink + Elm at Emory Village

Ink & Elm, a sophisticated restaurant/tavern concept, has opened at Emory Village. The resto features a design by ai3 and is helmed by Chef Stephen Sharp (F.A.B, Blue Ridge Grill). The eatery includes a lounge with a fireplace, a raw bar, a cocktail cart, and seasonal dishes such as lamb sausage with green garlic-yogurt, local chicken and pork, North Georgia trout, sandwiches and salads. Ink & Elm will serve lunch, dinner, coffee and late night bites. For more info:


Fresh from a 6-month stint in Vietnam and Japan, chef Angus Brown of late-night eater Octopus Bar, is reportedly planning a new, slightly more formal restaurant called Octopus. By slightly more formal, we mean a place serving proper lunch and dinner with five-star service, rather than just the late-night bites that Brown serves to an indie,chef-heavy crowd at his current East Atlanta post. No word yet on location or opening date, but Brown and business partner/chef Nhan Le spoke to Atlanta magazine about plans for a raw bar with sashimi and oysters, possibly yakitori dishes, and major entrees prepared by Brown. During his Asian travels, Brown raved about caramelized fish hot pots, snails with lemongrass and chili, banh mi, shrimp and pork dumplings, and sweet potato shrimp fritters, so perhaps some of Brown’s Asian inspirations will show up on the new Octopus menu? While the new resto may be a slight less scruffy version of the current Octopus Bar, Brown hopes it still retains some of the original’s raffish charm, including the graffiti art.


Roswell’s Dining Renaissance: Hugo’s, Opulent and Osteria Mattone

The team behind the polished C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar, Vinings, has opened a slightly more casual seafood eatery Hugo’s in Roswell. Like C&S, Hugo’s has a New Orleans influence. On the menu: po’ boys, Gulf shrimp, bayou crawfish, oysters Benedict, plus steaks, sandwiches and salads. The restaurant is also equipped with a full bar and oyster station. For more info:

A cocktail from Hugo's A cocktail from Hugo's

The team behind Salt Factory Pub and Little Alley Steak has opened a speakeasy joint called Opulent in Roswell. On the menu: lush dishes such as a Kobe beef burger with Gruyere, roasted shiitakes and garlic aioli; Low Country snapper with grits; bistro steak with leek bread pudding; crispy eggplant fries, and a  sorghum glazed pork belly appetizer. To complement the dishes, the dark-paneled joint serves up a speakeasy array of libations such as Grey Matter (Earl Grey infused gin, lemon, mint, cherry bitters) and “bubbly cocktails.” Executive Chef Robert McDonough once did a stint at the legendary Maxim’s in Paris, so expect some Continental flair to this Roswell resto, while co executive Chef Andy Long also has a profitable street car business known as The Fry Guy. For more info:


Also on the books for Roswell: an Italian-inspired Osteria Mattone, slated to open this fall from the Table and Main team of Ryan Pernice and Ted Lahey. The menu will have a strong focus on Roman cuisine, but modified for Roswell tastes. Pernice helped open Danny Meyer’s Maialino in NYC, so expect a few influences from that popular trattoria as well.


Atlanta Chefs in the Press


The Optimist Named One of The World’s Best New Restauraunts by Condé Nast Traveler

First, The Optimist was hailed as one of the best new restaurants by Esquire magazine. Now, the slick, sustainable seafood shack, owned by Ford Fry and helmed by chef Adam Evans has been named one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Hot Tables of 2013: The 70 Best New Restaurants in the World.”  The wood burning method of cooking the fish and the authentic lobster rolls on toasted buns surely explain the honor, but we also think the congenial oyster bar, bocce court, and killer design by Smith Hanes also seals the deal. He nailed the fish-camp, holiday atmosphere that perfectly matches the just-from-the-ocean fare. For more info:

Chef Nods in Food & Wine Magazine

Several ATL chefs made an appearance in the July issue of Food & Wine magazine. Empire State South’s Melanie Durant was named one of the “Best New Pastry Chefs” in the U.S. The magazine highlighted her brown sugar flan with yuzu foam and a celery sorbet [the magazine noted that Durant usually starts her dessert recipes with a vegetable or herb]. The dessert is finished off with “popping candy,” which Durant likens to house-made Pop Rocks. 

Chef Anne Quatrano in Food & Wine magazine Chef Anne Quatrano in Food & Wine magazine

Chef Richard Blais (The Spence, Flip, HD1) provides his recipe for a crisper, more lightly-battered onion ring using a N2O charged siphon for the magazine’s “The Gastronaut Files” column.  Blais also proffers recipes for bread-and-butter pickles and a blue cheese foam.

And in the “Best New Chefs All-Stars” section of Food & Wine, Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Abattoir, Star Provisions) is hailed as a “leader of the New Southern food movement,” while Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch) is praised as the “ultimate Slow Food chef.” See Quatrano’s recipe for Lugurian olive oil cake  and Hopkins’ recipe for pan-roasted clams with bacon, bourbon and jalapeno in the July issue of Food & Wine.


Foodie Fetes


People’s Fest at Atlantic Station

On Sat. June 22 Atlantic Station hosts People’s Fest to benefit the homeless at City of Refuge. Louisiana blues singer Marc Broussard headlines an evening of music, that also includes Ben Deignan, Sonia Leigh and Jameson Elder. Ford Fry’s People’s Food Truck will provide tasty bites (Mississippi hot tamales, banh mi tacos, po boys, papa fritas in a paper cone), while Chick-A-Biddy chef Shaun Doty hosts the VIP Party. The VIP party starts at 4PM for $125. General admission at 6PM is $25 in advance and $35 at the door. For tickets:


Attack of the Killer Tomato at Westside Provisions

Attack of the Killer Tomato is back…with a star-chef-heavy lineup. The event takes place Sunday July 21 from 1-5PM at JCT. Kitchen and benefits Georgia Organics. This year’s event includes 40 of the South’s top chef, 15 star mixologists and 30 farmers concocting tasty tomato-based drinks and dishes for all to sample. Among the participants: Adam Evans, Kevin Rathbun, Tyler Williams, Steven Satterfield, Joe Schafer, Taria Camerino, Kevin Gillespie, Bruce Logue, Ryan Smith, and Asha Gomez.  And in the drinks department: Jerry Slater, Miles McQuarrie, Paul Calvert, Andy Minchow, Arianne Felder and Brian Stanger, to name a few. Star judges, including Esquire magazine’s John Mariani and award-winning writers and cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee, will pick the winning dish and drink.

Tickets are on sale for $55 per person and $50 for Georgia Organics members. Starting Monday, July 1, all ticket prices will increase to $70 per person. For tickets: