Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Do you have any don't misses?


Mayhaw Man
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am going to be in ATL for a meeting this weekend and these are the two meals that I am set for. I know that both places are well regarded I won't have much of a chance to mess it up, but I was wondering if any of you had anything for dinner at either of these places that you regard as "can't miss" picks in terms of menu selections?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At Restaurant Eugene make a point of including pickles in your meal, as the chef gives them their rightful due.

And I always make a point of getting a dessert souffle at Bacchanalia if it's on offer, generally as part of a grouping (three things peach, three things strawberry, etc.). Really nice souffles.

Also, arrive at Bacchanalia early to browse the shop (Star Provisions), where you will find something that you have to have. You don't know what it is yet, but it's there, waiting.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And let us know what you think of the restaurants. I've had to cancel my last two reservations at Bacchanalia because I had to cancel the trips to Atlanta due to ice storms. Will be going to Atlanta end of this month. Want to bet that although it will be 70 tomorrow - there'll be an ice storm then :hmmm: . Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the blue crab fritter with thai essence appetizer at Bacchanalia is sublime and a definite can't miss. That's a signature item that's almost always on the menu from what I can tell.

At Restaurant Eugene, I had hamachi collar bone that was also can't miss, but that's only available via a tasting menu. If there's something that is can't miss at Eugene, it's the tasting menu option as a whole. The dishes you get will undoubtedly be different than the ones I got last time, but it'll be great, I can assure you of that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I ended up at Watershed and Bacchanalia. Not so coincidentally, there was a good piece concerning these places and the food that they serve in Sunday's Atlanta Constitution-Journal

Drove out to Watershed in Friday night's driving rain. Apparently rain is not a something that keeps Atlantans home, however, as the place was packed. Lots of good friends and lots and lots of good food were there to be enjoyed.

Because I was dining with food geeks (such are my friends) there was little at Watershed that went untasted. The standouts (imo-your mileage may vary and I purposely don't, and never will, write restaurant reviews and I don't shoot pictures in fine dining restaurants. I will take a shot or two of a BBQ joint, but that's different to me, somehow) included Creamy Stone ground Shrimp Grits with Pullman Plank (a Pullman plank is, essentially, a long slice of bread cut lengthwise from a rectangular loaf, buttered lightly, and toasted) and the Butterbean Hummus with Crudités and Homemade Pita. Those grits were really, really a good example of something that has been done to death. Scott's are a fine reminder why this is a great dish-creamy, redolent with the flavor of shrimp, and really, really satisfying. The butterbean hummus was just fun. It tasted great and came with a crudités plate full of fresh, crunchy stuff-perfect for table sharing and giving everyone a good chance to try out their "boarding house reach."

I also had an Iceberg Wedge with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing." This is one of my all-time favorite salads and this one did not disappoint. I ate every crunchy bite of it.

Mains were ordered individually but pretty much passed around (when eating with my friends, it would be better if we only ate at restaurants with lazy susans in the middle of the table-the passing thing gets kind of crazy and if you are particularly germ conscious, well, Atlanta has the answer for that, as well. It's a great town! I ordered a big, grilled pork chop served with collards (they were perfectly done-not too mooshy, just right) and over various roots (rutabaga, sweet potato, and pearl onions). The chop must of come off of a gargantuan pig, as it looked like that Bronto Chop that the car hop throws onto the tray in the opening of the Flintstones.

The standout for the evening, to me and most of my friends at the table (several of whom grew up in the Delta South) was a dish that reminded us all of the best of weirdly adopted Southern Staples-The Salmon Croquette. I have no idea how this became a kind of Southern middle class staple, but to those of us that were raised in the 50's and 60's in the South, we ate a whole lot of canned salmon coated in cracker meal and pan fried. When done correctly (Peacock, as you might guess, did it better than correctly) it's really a fine thing-though he was using really swell fish in his, it didn't ruin it at all. There was a hard to the touch cracker crust and some perfectly cooked salmon in the middle. They were served with some freshly cooked spinach and mashed potatoes. Damned fine eating, that.

Desserts were exactly what I want out of desserts-simple and satisfying. All of them were above average and the simply listed Very Good Chocolate Cake was exactly that-very good-rich, decadent, but not crazy fancy. It was simply a perfectly made piece of chocolate layer cake with some rich, but not too rich, chocolate butter cream icing. As many of you know, I like a good piece of cake and this was a particularly good example of the genre.

Watershed is a really nice space with the table situated far enough apart to make diners feel like they have room to spread out and relax for a long evening of casual dining and conversation. The food is not complex, as Peacock and Satterfield (his sous, a really talented guy in his own right) let the ingredients do the talking. This brings up something I have failed to mention; this is not namby-pamby food. The portions are very large and he focuses on perfect execution of very simple, perfectly fresh ingredients.

The next day I had a nice lunch, after a morning visit to The Carter Center, (the weather, after some rain on Friday night, was pretty close to a nice early Spring day-damned glorious, in fact) with some eGullet friends at Einstein's. The food was nothing to write home about, but they have tons of outdoor seating and the place was hopping. I would go there again, for sure, but probably more for the chance to sit outside and relax that for any big hope of fine dining. I had a good sandwich on some very good bread, so I'm not complaining and it was great to see an old friend and another person who I have never had the chance to meet in person.

Later that afternoon I headed out to the Sweetwater Brewing Co. for the soon to be world famous Potlikker Film Festival. 250 very lucky ticket holders were able to sample a fine menu of tastings, some really delicious, well made beers,, and top it all off with a viewing of three of Joe York's fabulous, tremendously entertaining, short films-Marsaw, Hot Chicken, and Whole Hog. I have seen them all a number of times but it was fun seeing them with a fresh audience.

We had a late reservation at Bacchanalia, Ann Quatrano and Clifford Harrison's fine restaurant located in an old abattoir in a pretty industrial little piece of Atlanta north of Downtown (I think-Atlanta's real big and I was real turned around-alot).

The place is a real scene-they have food stores, a bakery, three restaurants, and apparently are adding another. It's a really pleasant space and I like the idea of eating in a building that was formerly a slaughterhouse-it seriously appeals to the carnivore in me. The original heart pine floors stand out nicely with the old schoolhouse tiles on the walls.

The restaurant is very comfortable and beautifully appointed. And while I am going on about the look of the place like some kind of drunken interior decorator, I should mention that Quatrano is crazy for serving pieces, silverware, and wine stuff. All of the dining accoutrement that we saw hit our table (lots and lots and lots as you will see shortly) was beautiful and often surprising, fun, and sometimes both.

I was with three other folks-a new friend from Birmingham, and old friend from New York, and a very special friend from DC-all of us, to some degree or another-professional food folk of some sort or another. I only say this because the one unpleasant, or at least really weird, part of the evening came just as we sat down. We had a late reservation-9:15-and arrived 5 minutes late (though we called ahead and warned them, so no problem there, I don't think). We were seated and as we looked around we saw that a number of the diners must have had nine o'clocks as they were just sipping on drinks and not into their meals. The waiter, who we were to learn was very, very knowledgeable about most of the facets of the place and should be commended for that-fine dining or no, that's not always the case, came up to the table and began telling us, as condescendingly as possible, how a four course meal works. This explanation went on and on and on and by the time he was finished we were all kind of looking at each other thinking, "do we look that stupid?" Once he was done, my New York friend quickly set him straight by explaining what we were doing there, that we did, in fact, know which fork to use, etc. I wouldn't have handled it like that, but I'm glad that he did as the service suddenly changed gears to professional and virtually perfect. No more, " And you will all need to order ALL of your selections at once, as in a professional kitchen, there is much planning to be done that you might not understand." Well, "dugghh, said all of us.

Anyway, we got organized to his satisfaction and ordered all at once-16 different items :wink: . 4 starters, 4 mains, 4 cheese plates, and 4 desserts. We also ordered a kind of crazy combo of wines - 2 bottles and 2 different by the glass selections. I had nothing to do with the wine order, but the sommelier (didn't get his name, but a really nice guy who apparently knew his stuff according to my dining partner-who's won a few wine cellar awards and DOES know her stuff) was helpful and solicitous. The whole wine service thing was a little weird, but it was mostly our fault for being picky. They were happy, though, as we weren't exactly ordering Boone's Farm.

Once again, I'm not going through the whole thing, but I can cover the entire experience by saying that you won't be disappointed. If there is anything negative that I have to say, and there is precious little, I thought that some of the dishes were under seasoned. This, of course, may well have been the intention of the kitchen and I just like my stuff a bit more zippy-so I'm not faulting it at all. I'm only saying that I would have probably liked it even more than I did had I not found myself looking for a little more of something.

Of course, generally, I loved it. It was a great meal and we were all able to sample lots and lots of interesting, well though out, perfectly executed food.

I'm not going to go through anything but the highlights and as I don't have a menu with me today, I can't even do that very well, but in the first course the charcuterie plate was a standout. 6 different selections, house made, and thinly sliced. The service piece chosen here was a long, rectangular plate that really made for a dramatic and wholly attractive presentation. I had a dish of lightly fried sweetbreads served on baby collards. Those sweetbreads, and I am a huge fan of sweetbreads, were probably the best that I have ever eaten. Awesome, just awesome. I really, really hated to pass the plate on that one.

Roasted lamb loin was the star of the dinner courses. It was done to a turn and we pretty much fought over it. I also liked the roasted chicken quite a bit. (I need a menu bad, I honestly can't tell you what came with what and I wasn't taking notes as I wasn't working).

The cheese course was really fun. It's a very, very hard thing to do, that cheese thing. It's a big investment and takes a combination of time, care, and proper storage by someone who knows what the hell they are doing to get it right and in Bacchanalia's case, they get it right. I had a Stilton (an ethereal piece of one of my favorite cheeses) that was served with thinly sliced Bartlett pears SLIGHTLY kissed by this really nice vinaigrette that had, for sure, a fair amount of onion juice in it. I t might sound a little weird, but it was really, really good. We also had a Coolea from Ireland with some mixed baby greens that was delicious, as well. All in all, the cheese course was a hit.

As an aside, I need to mention the use of vinegar is a big deal here and it adds much to the whole experience in the first three courses. It shows up again and again-sometimes in the form of pickles and sometimes just as a tasteful counterpoint or addition to a sauce or a dressing. No matter the use, it was an interesting and tasty thread that was common to many of the dishes that we all enjoyed.

The desserts were all very good, and, in fact, this is the one place where we had some trouble ordering. There were about ten choices, and eight of them made the cut to the final list. We chose, but ended up asking for samples of some other stuff, most notably some really swell apple butter ice cream that I could have eaten a quart of. It was delicious. I had a cardamom flan, with thinly sliced and candied apricots. A really good dessert, though I would have been happier if the flan wasn't quite so cooked-but it was late at this point and we had probably screwed up their service flow a ton-we weren't in a hurry at all.

I would recommend the place highly and everyone who ate at Floataway that night seemed to enjoy it just as much as we liked our dinner. Those folks know what they are doing.

So, I like Atlanta. Who knew? Up to this point in my life, I had only been there for Braves games and various conventions. I'll look forward to going back soon.

Edited to say:

Almost forgot to mention that we had a late afternoon lunch on Sunday at The Majestic Diner.

I am crazy for old school diners and this one is pretty much as real as the deal gets. I had a burger, which was exactly what I wanted, that was served with some really crunchy crinkle fries and washed the whole thing down with a bunch of good, bottomeless cup coffee. The place has been there since Sherman came through town, I think, and I don't think that it's changed much. This would be a great place for a meal with kids and, happily, it's open 24 hours for your late night dining pleasure.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad you enjoyed your visit. I was supposed to go to the Pot Likker Film Festival, but husband was out of town and by the time I got my act together to get tickets they were sold out. Oh well.

Some comments on your comments...

The standout for the evening, to me and most of my friends at the table (several of whom grew up in the Delta South) was a dish that reminded us all of the best of weirdly adopted Southern Staples-The Salmon Croquette. I have no idea how this became a kind of Southern middle class staple, but to those of us that were raised in the 50's and 60's in the South, we ate a whole lot of canned salmon coated in cracker meal and pan fried.

Yep, salmon croquettes. And I've always assumed that they got to be a staple because canned salmon is so inexpensive. I still remember having to pick through it to remove the bones and skin before my grandmother made the croquettes.

They were served with some freshly cooked spinach and mashed potatoes.

Are you sure? Because Watershed pretty much invariably serves them with grits, not mashed potatoes. And you forgot the stewed tomatoes, essential to the flavor and color balance on that plate. Maybe they subbed the mashed potatoes because you'd shrimp and grits to start. I like this dish so much I have difficulty ordering anything else at Watershed.

The waiter, who we were to learn was very, very knowledgeable about most of the facets of the place and should be commended for that-fine dining or no, that's not always the case, came up to the table and began telling us, as condescendingly as possible, how a four course meal works. This explanation went on and on and on and by the time he was finished we were all kind of looking at each other thinking, "do we look that stupid?"

Rest assured that you're not the only party that's ever been treated to this spiel. I'm not sure why the staff seems to think it's necessary---presumably they see a need for it.

They also seem to feel the need to set land speed records for service---I've seen tables get through five courses at Bacchanalia in the time it takes me finish a cocktail.

Almost forgot to mention that we had a late afternoon lunch on Sunday at The Majestic Diner.

Yeah, very old school. A good stop on your way home from the Clermont, in case you made it to the Clermont (and if you didn't you can go next time you're in town).

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They were served with some freshly cooked spinach and mashed potatoes.

Are you sure? Because Watershed pretty much invariably serves them with grits, not mashed potatoes. And you forgot the stewed tomatoes, essential to the flavor and color balance on that plate. Maybe they subbed the mashed potatoes because you'd shrimp and grits to start. I like this dish so much I have difficulty ordering anything else at Watershed.

Spinach? Yes. Mashed potatoes? No. It was grits and there were some very good stewed tomatoes on the plate. Long night. No notes. Maybe I should start taking pictures. :wacko:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...