We came to Atlanta during Taylor’s Fall Break to see the Hapsburg exhibit at the High Museum, something that shouldn’t be missed. What a great excuse to visit Atlanta and try out some new restaurants. Mike gets all the credit for discovering this fabulous place right across the street from the Ponce City Market. I’m not that familiar with Atlanta even though it’s just five hours from home, but when Taylor did an internship at the High museum this summer we got a chance to visit a bit and were looking forward to returning to explore the restaurant scene. We were looking for an interesting restaurant that was farm to table. Mike discovered that the chef, Graham House, had spent some time in Italy, and California before coming to Atlanta, but is actually from Asheville, so we wanted to give this unique place a try.
We came early on a gorgeous fall Friday night. The building looks like an old warehouse, exposed brick and high ceilings. Sometimes restaurants with these type of ceilings can be so loud that you can’t carry on a conversation. Somehow, while this place was packed, it was not loud. There was a diverse group of people of all ages. Our waiter, was enthusiastic about all of our potential choices and made great recommendations. He explained that they are known for using fresh locally sourced ingredients, some from their own garden in the back, and using farmers who are environmentally conscious. While discussing several of the house favorites, he suggested that the best way to really get to know the chef was to try the tasting menu. This consisted of five small portions that they will pair with wine if you like. Most restaurants want the entire table to do the tasting menu. It makes sense, otherwise if someone orders off the menu they’re not going to be in sync with the ones receiving the tasting menu. However, only two of the three of us wanted the tasting menu. It was not a problem at all and they just timed Taylor’s appetizer and entree with our second and fifth courses.
I love how wine pairings allow you to try different wines that you might not be familiar with. Many times, while the wine is good with the food, I’m not overly impressed. In this case, the wine pairing was amazing. Each choice actually complimented the flavors of the dish. We were blown away by the first course which was a dungeness crab salad that was topped with clementines and toasted lady peas. This may have been our favorite, I can’t remember ever having a dish with clementines. It was followed by roasted cauliflower on a miso sauce and then stuffed quail which was topped with muscadine grapes. The man course was a cut of beef I’ve never had, bavette, which apparently is not found often because it is so difficult to cook.
Chef Graham had no problem with this dish or any of the others. Each were presented beautifully and not only used local ingredients but used them in such combinations that you felt like you were eating something for the first time. I can’t wait to experiment with adding clementines to other dishes. We finished with a blondie, something so simple, I was expecting a more exotic dessert. However, it was served with macadamia nuts in a cream sauce with homemade ice cream. While simple it was the perfect ending. We felt that we had a unique dining experience that we won’t be able to reproduce any time soon. The tasting menu changes frequently so don’t expect these exact dishes.
If you really want to get to know the chef, trying the tasting menu is a great way to see what he thinks is special. The regular menu had a large variety of choices with small plates, and larger plates. You could also order any of the courses on the tasting menu. If you are lucky enough to live in Atlanta than you can go back and try the Three Little Pigs or the Duck or Grilled calamari or… So many wonderful choices.
Even though it was a busy Friday night the chef took time to come out to meet us, what a special treat. This restaurant has been around since 2008 and has won lots of awards. I think they’ve got things right in creating a unique and fabulous dining experience.