FOOD FOR THOUGHT | January-February 2019

Avocado toast at the new Coalition Food and Beverage in downtown Alpharetta. Its focus is modernized 1950s diner food. (All food photos by David Danzig.)

Avocado toast at the new Coalition Food and Beverage in downtown Alpharetta. Its focus is modernized 1950s diner food. (All food photos by David Danzig.)

New year brings new eats, from a Japanese invasion

and OTP migration to a pancake proliferation,

falafel infiltration and seafood termination. Whew!

NEW TASTES are promised near and far, from downtown, Midtown and all along Ponce, to Alpharetta, Fayetteville and Winder. It’s all Food for Thought.

Shrimp sando and lotus chips from Monomoki, near Georgia Tech.

Shrimp sando and lotus chips from Monomoki, near Georgia Tech.

Well done

At the base of a new steel-and-glass tower overlooking the Downtown Connector near Georgia Tech comes MOMONOKI, a new concept from chef JASON LIANG, one of the creative forces behind Decatur’s popular Brush Sushi Izakaya.

Order at the counter and get some of the slurpiest ramen soups in town along with tsukemen (dipping ramen), Donburi(raw or cooked rice bowls), Katsu Sando(Japanese cutlet sandwiches served on perfect milk toast), salads and other small plates.

A full bar is stocked with cocktails, sake, wine, and local and Japanese beers but be sure to save room for desserts from pastry chef CHING YAO WANG, Liang’s wife. Many are made with matcha, a Japanese green tea that refreshes the palate in a soothing, semi-sweet way. …

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The housemade pretzels at Alpharetta’s Coalition.

The housemade pretzels at Alpharetta’s Coalition.

Brothers DAN PERNICE and RYAN PERNICE turned heads a few years back when they opened both Table and Main and Osteria Mattone.

They’re back with a third effort, COALITION FOOD AND BEVERAGE, a handsome spot off the square in downtown Alpharetta.

Chef WOLLERY BACK (formerly of Craft, Restaurant Eugene, and Holeman and Finch) hand-cranks a food fire contraption and churns out modern versions of 1950s diner fare: house-made pretzels, St. Louis-style barbecue ribs, crispy crabcakes, classic club sandwiches and blackened tuna burgers on Alon’s Bakery bread. These are cheffed-up, approachable and skillfully prepared. …

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Krog Street Market welcomes Watchman’s.

Krog Street Market welcomes Watchman’s.

The team behind Decatur’s James Beard-nominated KIMBALL HOUSE has christened WATCHMAN’S SEAFOOD AND SPIRITS in Krog Street Market, just off the Atlanta BeltLine in what was once The Luminary.

No fishing nets or stuffed marlins on the walls here, no Jimmy Buffet on the sound system. This is a hip spot in a hip neighborhood. Sustainably farmed oysters from Alabama to North Carolina go with dishes like a shrimp roll sandwich, steamed clams, ceviche verde and a fisherman’s stew made with grouper, shrimp, crabs and oysters.

The bar program comes from legendary mixologist MILES MACQUARRIE, a compact list of masterful ocean-inspired libations with roots that run from Havana to Key West and anywhere along the Southeast coast of the United States. …

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Farm-fresh produce at Winder’s Bistro Off Broad.

Farm-fresh produce at Winder’s Bistro Off Broad.

In historic downtown Winder, chef ALEX FRIEDMAN (formerly of Inman Park’s Pcheen) has set up shop in a brick building that dates to the 1890s. BISTRO OFF BROAD brings a sophisticated approach to comfort food.

Everything that grows in soil or dwells on land comes from a nearby farm: baked brie with honeycomb and figs, Ossabaw Island barbecue (Friedman does all his own butchering), crispy duck with pumpkin and sage risotto, venison with roasted okra, and pork chops with sweet corn pudding.

If you need a nautical nosh, try the cold-water oysters, sea scallops, Carolina trout or a tempura-fried shrimp po’boy with tomato jam. It’s a gem that would be at home in the hippest intown neighborhood.


Simmering

Kevin Rathbun

Kevin Rathbun

In a matter of weeks, Super Bowl LIII (53 for non-Romans) will kick its way into Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta celebrity chef KEVIN RATHBUN will headline the TASTE OF THE NFL: PARTY WITH A PURPOSE at Cobb Galleria Centre.

The game is Feb. 3; Taste is Feb. 2. Each NFL team city will fly in its own celebrity chef to cook a signature dish at one of 35-plus food stations.

This is your chance to eat, drink and mingle with NFL greats and other celebrities. 

Tickets are $700 each, but that’s cheaper than a seat to the game. …

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Anne Quatrano

Anne Quatrano

Big brunch news comes from James Beard Award-winning chef ANNE QUATRANO (Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Floataway Café, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp) plans two locations of her latest concept, PANCAKE SOCIAL. Expect eight kinds of pancakes, from savory to sweet, along with other all-day breakfast noshes. A Ponce City Market location will open in the first part of the year. Look for the second late next fall in Fayetteville’s forthcoming Pinewood Forest development. …

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Ponce de Leon Avenue continues its gentrification with two new offerings — SOUTHERN BELLE and GEORGIA BOY — from former Gunshow executive chef JOEY WARD. The two will co-exist at the same address. Belle will offer small plates; Boy will be a 16-seat communal counter with a multicourse tasting menu. Expect a spring bloom. …

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MAMOUN’S FALAFEL dates to 1970s Greenwich Village and calls itself the “oldest falafel restaurant in New York City.” It plans six Atlanta locations, with the first opening in the West Midtown Center development on Northside Drive. Expect house-baked pitas, shawarma, hummus and, of course, falafel.

Toast

thumbs-up-diner-768x432.jpg

The restaurant graveyard has been busy the past few months. Virginia-Highland’s GOIN’ COASTAL closed after eight years, and downtown’s LEGAL SEAFOOD pulled up anchor after more than a decade, citing expiration of its Hilton Garden Inn lease. … THUMBS UP DINER, the breakfast-all-day icon, has closed its Decatur location, citing untenable rent increases. Thumbs Up’s popular “Skillet Heap” and multigrain biscuits are still available at locations in Douglasville, East Point, Edgewood Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward, Marietta Street in West Midtown and Roswell. … After 30 years of meat-and-three, OUR WAY CAFÉ closed its Avondale Estates location. Owner EVA-MARIE ROSWALL decided to retire. …

 

The most notable closing is ACHIE’S, The Battery Atlanta spot from decorated chef HUGH ACHESON, which lasted less than 10 months. Acheson, who reached celebrity status on the TV reality show “Top Chef Masters,” still runs EMPIRE STATE SOUTH and two SPILLER PARK COFFEE locations, plus a pair of eateries in Athens.

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Food for Thought, Encore Atlanta’s bimonthly dining column, keeps you up to date on openings, closings and what chefs are up to in one of three categories — well done (reasons for praise), simmering (what’s in the works) and toast (what’s closed, etc.). Suggestions: Email kathy@encoreatlanta.com.

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Operation Colombia for your taste buds at The Consulate Atlanta

The Consulate Atlanta travels the globe every ninety days to create authentic, international dishes to entice and seduce the adventurer's palate. Their stop this time is Colombia, following a very successful tour through Ethiopia, which was preceded by Cuba, Guam, Brazil, Russia and Denmark. The mid-century styled restaurant offers a staple menu as well, that includes grilled octopus in a sweet mango chili sauce, Korean Pulled Duck Confit and Pan Seared scallops, just to name a few.

Executive Chef Lin has once again, curated a menu of delicious traditional dishes, some which feature a modern, re-constructed twist which has become a signature trademark approach for The Consulate Atlanta. The Colombian menu, with its Ajiaco soup, Arroz con Pollo and Posta Negra does not disappoint. The menu offers a feast for your taste buds that pair excellently with their Colombian inspired specialty crafted cocktails.

The globe was spun and a new destination was chosen on January 5th - secure your visas because in three months, The Consulate Atlanta will be jet-setting to India! BUT for now, make sure and visit them for a mouthwatering taste of Colombia.

Here is a glance at their MENU: 

—  VISA MENU —

 — COLOMBIAN SALAD
Ensalada de Frijol y Maiz  (Bean & Corn Salad)   7
black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, chick peas, fresh cilantro, red and green pepper,  scallions, light vinaigrette

 —  FEATURED COLOMBIAN DISHES

Sweet Plantains   7       mojo mint garlic sauce

Chef Lin’s Empanadas           
 Teriyaki ground Beef   (2)      12        
onion, red pepper, sesame seeds, scallions        
V - Teriyaki Trio Mushroom   (2)     10      
 (white button mushrooms,  Oyster mushrooms, Bunapi mushrooms)        
Empanada Duo   11
1 beef, 1 mushroom

ATL  Arepa    10          
Avocado, Tomato, Artisan Lettuce,  Quesito Colombiano

BLT Arepa    12
Hickory Smoked Thickcut Bacon, artisan Lettuce, Tomato, Quesito Colombiano

Ajiaco   14    ( Chicken and Potato Soup )
pulled chicken breast, red and purple potatoes, corn, guascas, avacado, capers.

Arroz Con Pollo   22
beer marinated, Springer Farms chicken quarter, jasmine rice, carrots, red and green peppers, corn, onions, cilantro, ginger.

Posta Negra    23
14 hour marinade Eyeround Beef, Worchestershire Coca Cola Sauce   

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Concentrics Restaurants' ALLORA Now Open in Midtown

Photos by Erik Meadows

Photos by Erik Meadows

Celebrating the flavors of Italy, guests are invited to slip into ALLORA where the art of dining and drinking is rediscovered. Blending Italian classics with modern techniques and seasonal ingredients, Executive Chef Chris Maher offers an impressive menu filled with house made pastas, specialty pizzas, creative insalatas, small plates and more. Located in TWELVE Hotel Midtown, ALLORA welcomes guests to sit and stay awhile in an inviting environment that showcases industrial design, warm leathers and woods, and rustic touches including an expansive central bar, chef’s tables overlooking an open kitchen, comfortable booths, and a spacious, covered outdoor patio. 

With a wealth of culinary experience that includes The Ritz Carlton Buckhead, 4Th & Swift, and ONE. midtown kitchen, Chef Maher is best known for his outstanding handmade pastas and taking classic dishes and ingredients and reinterpreting them with a modern, and sometimes playful, approach. Highlights from the menu include a range of antipasto like Charred Octopus, Barlotto Bean Hummus, Peperonata, and Castelvetrano olives; Veal and Ricotta Meatballs with Parmesan Grits, San Marzano tomatoes and Grana Padano; and Whole Roasted Artichoke with Bagna Cauda and bread crumbs. Perfectly cooked specialty pizzas such as the Carbonara with Pancetta, Cracked Pepper, Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and a Farm Egg; Fennel Sausage featuring San Marzano Passata, Calabrian Chiles, Cherry Tomatoes, Sicilian Oregano; and a traditional Margherita pie are ideal for sharing.  House made Cacio e Pepe; Porcini Agnolotti; and Lemon Saffron Campanelle are among the pasta offerings while sumptuous entrees like the Roasted Branzini; Grilled Wagyu Flank Steak; and Pork Milanese are sure to please. Those looking to imbibe can explore a carefully curated wine list created by Todd Rushing, signature and classic cocktails, and craft beers in cans, bottles and on draft.  

ALLORA is located in the TWELVE Hotel Midtown at 361 17th Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30363. Complimentary valet up to three hours and two hours free parking in the parking deck are available. ALLORA will be serving breakfast Monday to Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; lunch Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; dinner and brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner Monday to Thursday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; and weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information call 404.961.7370 or visit www.alloraatl.com

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Event Recap: Culture Drivers By UrbanDaddy & Infiniti

On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, over 300 stylish Atlantans descended upon The Foundry at Puritan Mill in bustling West Midtown for Culture Drivers, an exclusive event hosted by UrbanDaddy and INFINITI.  

An interactive and boisterous night of art, culture, food and cocktails came together in an expectation-defying private affair where culinary innovations by celebrity chef Roblé Ali were center stage. With an experience at every corner, guests also enjoyed live dance and painting performances, a special DJ performance from DJ Salah, and visual demonstrations inspired by food throughout the night. 

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Sip, Simmer & Savor at GUNSHOW with Jack Daniels Single Barrel

Last week, I attended a fabulous dining experience at Kevin Gillespie's Gunshow. "Sip, Simmer & Savor" is part of a culinary event series presented by Jack Daniels Single Barrel Collection so as you can imagine, there was an abundance of Jack Daniels cocktails to "sip." [And I did!]

The private dinner featured an impressive menu including Jack Daniels Single Barrel wet aged prime filet served with black & blue and select relaxed foie gras; sweet crab with marinated fennel and parsnip ravioli with brussels and pomegranate. [See full menu in the slideshow above.]

While the Jack Daniels dinner was a one-night-only event, Gunshow is open nightly for your dining and culinary pleasure. I strongly recommend going if you haven't already.

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