The 70-degree weather this past weekend reminded me that spring, and more importantly, patio season, is right around the corner. In preparation for lots of outdoor eating and patio drinking in the coming months, I decided it was time to dust the cobwebs off my blog. I haven’t actually given up my weekend eating habit in the last few months, I’ve simply found that between working, traveling, and an MBA program, free time is more difficult to come by than it used to be. I’ve actually enjoyed a handful of delicious meals over the last few months, so rather than writing an extremely long post that will bore everyone to tears make everyone extremely hungry, I’ll stick to the highlights:
My birthday dinner in November was the perfect opportunity to re-visit one of my favorite Atlanta steakhouses, at which point it officially became my number one favorite. The 12-ounce bone-in filet was everything a steak should be and more: perfectly seared on the outside, blue on the inside, mouthwateringly flavorful, and served with a side of truffle butter.
The Caesar salad and truffle fries were also note-worthy parts of the meal. The salad was crisp, peppery, and Parmesan-cheesy, served on an ice-cold plate with chilled forks (Rathbun’s is all about the details). The French fries were hand-cut, drizzled with rosemary truffle oil, and dusted with shaved pecorino. They were also served with a tangy aioli, but I opted to double up on truffles and dipped them in the leftover truffle butter.
The dessert was the only part of the meal that was slightly disappointing. Although it doesn’t look it, the chocolate truffle cake was quite dry and well, too cakey. Next time around, I’ll skip dessert in favor of the chocolate sea salt tart next door at Krog Bar.
We started 2014 off on a high note with a five-course dinner & wine pairing at Murphy’s. In addition to an array of fabulous wines, we had the opportunity to try some off-the-menu dishes.
The fuji apple & kumquat salad was a light and fresh preface to the meal, paired perfectly with an equally light and refreshing glass of champs.
The chef immediately kicked things up a notch with the second course, featuring broiled wild shrimp. The dish was bold, rich and decadent. The garlic-buttery creaminess reminded me a little bit of shrimp & grits, without the grits, of course.
Course three was a pomegranate-marinated duck breast. The pomegranate glaze brought a unique sweet and savory component to the dish with a nice, crispy skin on the outside. The duck itself was overcooked for my liking, but I didn’t leave a spoonful of the accompanying wild rice and maitake mushrooms behind.
The soy braised short-ribs were without a doubt the most delicious thing I tasted all night. Although I’m generally not a fan of soy-flavored anything, the short ribs were super-tender, and paired nicely with the earthy root mash.
After courses one through four, really the last thing I needed was anything else to eat. So naturally, I proceeded to scrape up every last bite of the vanilla crème brulee with its accompanying chocolate-drizzled shortbread cookie.
To be honest, the entire meal was a highlight, and the service was phenomenal from start to finish.
I was quite disappointed when I found out several months ago that STG Trattoria was closing. Fortunately, the disappointment was short-lived because several weeks later, Don Antonio by Starita moved in. The New York-based restaurant has quite the selection (more than 50, in fact) of Neapolitan-style pies. The restaurant itself seems to be an upgraded version of STG, with much tastier pizzas, and a lot more to choose from.
We opted for one each of the pizze bianche and pizze rosse. The pizzas were small enough to call “personal”, but big enough to warrant sharing. Unsurprisingly, the prosciutto e arugula was my favorite of the two. The white pizza was topped with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, pecorino romano, basil, and of course, a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
For a meatier option, the margherita with sausage and mushrooms was also quite tasty. What really made the pizzas stand out, however, was the dough rather than the toppings. The wood-fired crust had the perfect textural balance of delicate fluffiness baked inside a crispy shell.
Next on my list for Don Antonio: the pizze fritte aka “lightly fried pizza”, because you really can’t go wrong with fried pizza.
As you can see, food-wise, it hasn’t been a terrible winter (although I can’t exactly say the same about the weather). Unlike my blog, the Atlanta restaurant scene has definitely NOT been hibernating all winter long…I think it’s safe to say my bucket list is overflowing and ready for Spring!