Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the Beltline, because it pretty much embodies all of my favorite hobbies: running, biking, eating, and drinking. Oh, and it’s an excellent spot for people and dog-watching. Side note: if any of you readers also happen to own a sheltie, I’ll gladly borrow him or her for a Beltline run or two 🙂
Parish’s patio backs up to the BeltLine, though the restaurant itself has been around since 2008, before the Inman Park area became “hip.” In addition to the upstairs brasserie, Parish’s space also includes a downstairs neighborhood café that serves coffee, pastries, & more.
We dined in the brasserie on a recent Wednesday night, and I was really surprised by how empty the restaurant was, given the popularity of the Beltline. There were only a handful of other patrons in the dining room, and we shut the place down by 9:30 pm.
Parish’s menu is broken down into first and second courses, and they have a really nice selection of seafood, pasta, and meat dishes, prepared with seasonal ingredients. They also had a few unique cocktails to choose from, so naturally I had to try a sip or two.
To start, our server brought out a few tins of the hand-made potato chips, dusted with parmesan. The chips were golden brown and paired really nicely with a crisp glass of rosé. On the other hand, I can’t think of many things that don’t pair well with rosé on a hot, summer day.
The charred eggplant dish seemed to be Parish’s take on hummus. It was pureed with yogurt and served with a drizzle of olive oil, diced tomatoes, and few doughy pita slices. I didn’t get any spiciness from the tomatoes as the menu promised, but the chilled dish was a nice break from the summer heat.
The beef tartare was served with chopped walnuts, which I haven’t seen in a tartare before, and loved. What I didn’t love, though, was the way the onion slices were just strewn over the beef like an afterthought. They didn’t look particularly appetizing and would have been much less overpowering had they been diced and mixed in with the beef. The dish was served with crostini toasts and a side of “salsa verde”, which had more of a pesto than a salsa flavor, but paired really nicely with the beef. I’ve decided, though, that I really need to stop ordering beef tartare that is served sans sunny-side-up egg. It’s never quite as good without that yolk.
The tomato salad was probably my favorite of the first courses, as it’s hard to beat a perfectly executed tomato dish when they’re in season. The heirlooms were paired with a generous portion of creamy burrata, and dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. The dish was topped off with a few perfectly charred onion slices, which were much tastier than the previously described tartare onions.
The quail dish was Parish’s take on southern-fried chicken. The quail was cornmeal crusted, dipped in buttermilk, and deep fried. A duo of pickled peach slices were served on the side, but I didn’t love their too-soft texture or pickled-sweet flavor. Because it’s a smaller bird, I find quail to be much tastier and less susceptible to dryness than traditional fried chicken. Overall the dish was okay, but not something I would order again.
The Parisian gnocchi, made with goat cheese, rivaled the tomato salad as the most delicious thing we tasted that night. Each piece of gnocchi had a delicious and golden brown butter crust on the outside, the kind you can only get from a perfect pan sear. The pasta was served with zucchini slices in a rich tomato-butter sauce, and topped with some delicately-shaved parmesan. Now this is the type of dish I would order again.
I usually avoid ordering chicken at restaurants, because I tell myself it’s something I can easily cook it at home. Whether or not I ever actually do cook it (or anything) at home is beside the point. For this reason, though, I was on the fence about the roasted chicken. Until I took my first bite. The dish was so flavorful and was neither dry nor boring. It was drenched in a tasty jus over a bed of garlic-sautéed spinach. And it was definitely not something I could cook at home.
We concluded the meal with the fried chocolate ganache, which, despite the chocolate element, was a disappointment. The chocolate was deep fried over a whipped crème fraiche, which was all quite tasty. However, the chocolate flavor was completed overpowered by the addition of a few port-poached cherries, which sort of ruined the dish.
All in all, I really enjoyed Parish. We had a handful of hits (as well as a miss or two), but the food was well-executed and portioned for sharing. My only “additional commentary” is that I did find the second course options to be a bit on the heavy side, and wished they had one or two lighter options (I wouldn’t be opposed to seared scallops). Whether you want a coffee, cocktail, or a full meal, Parish is definitely an excellent choice for a post-beltline bite, beverage, or both!