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September 6, 2011

ATL Eats Beat

Watershed relocates, meatball mania, Tomo and FAB head to Buckhead and chef Eli Kirshstein gets comic book treatment!

By Nancy Staab

Lamb Polpette (AKA meatballs) at Double Zero Napoletana Lamb Polpette (AKA meatballs) at Double Zero Napoletana

Musical Restaurants and Chefs:

Hipster haven Octane Coffee will open its new Grant Park location this month; while Cacao Atlanta debuts its third locale in Virginia Highland. Chef David Sweeney (formerly of Dynamic Dish) is now creating the lunch menu for Cakes & Ale in its new, expanded Decatur space, which features an old-timey café and bakery in addition to a dining room space. Expect plenty of vegetarian offerings, soups and local salads as well as inventive sandwiches served on house-made brioche and cibatta breads. In addition to breads, the bakery will also be laden with pastries, cookies, tarts, pies and cakes to take home or eat on the premises while seated on vintage bar stools

Atlantans heaved a collective sigh of relief when Watershed announced it had found a new space following the recent shuttering of its classic Decatur spot. We admit, the resto seems decidedly suited to the laid back, organic-granola Decatur crowd and it’s rehabbed filling station space was quaint and quirky, but at least patrons still have their famous fried chicken and very good chocolate cake…though we wonder if it will taste the same in tony, gentrified Buckhead. So far we hear chef Joe Truex is still at the helm (following chef Scott Peacock’s departure) with original owner and one-half of the Indigo Girls group Emily Sailers intact. According to Tomorrow’s News Today, Atlanta, the new locale is the South Buckhead condo The Brookwood,  (the distressed building recently obtained new owners, ST Residential, who are intent on adding value to the property). The new locale remains questionable but the sparse dining options in the no man’s land between Buckhead and Midtown should be in Watershed’s favor.

Tomo is also shuttering its classic Vinings locale to relocate to what promises to be a swanky designer space in The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Buckhead this fall.  Chef Tomo Naito trained under Iron Chef Nobu Matsuhisa at his Las Vegas property and no doubt Tomo’s culinary finesse seems a match for the Ritz-Carlton property. The restaurant Tomo will be joined by a new concept from the FAB team called F&B. According to John Kessler of The AJC, the “neighborhood bistro will feature French-Mediterranean flavors using a farm-to-table approach.” And speaking of French-Med fare, we await the opening of Tartuffo, a pizzeria and gelato spot next to sister restaurant La Fourchette in Buckhead.

Restaurant owner Brian Lewis, inspired by the success of his Bocado, announced to The Atlanta Business Chronicle that he was shopping for a new space for a yet-to-be-disclosed new restaurant concept. And Hankook the cult Korean taqueria in Westside will open a second locale on Juniper Street in Midtown. Meanwhile, developer Michael Phillips revealed in a recent interview with James Oxendine of The Covered Dish that he was contemplating an organic cafeteria with Anne Quatrano and food trucks on the rooftop (via freight elevators!!) as possible food offerings, along with a range of more traditional restaurants, for the new Ponce City Market project. A recent New York Times article praising the development quoted Quatrano, who said that she planned to open up a po’ boy shop in the space.

Culinary Ice Cream

Local, artisanal ice-cream makers High Road Craft, have lots to celebrate. Not only are their flavorful pints like mango lime chile sorbet and Mexican chocolate now available at both local Whole Foods and in 22 other cities, but they have also teamed up with some top ATL chefs on custom flavors for the Chefs’ Collection. Up first is Rosebud and The Family Dog Chef Ron Eyester’s addictive Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel. This will be followed by Caramel Fleur de Sel with Coconut-Chocolate Truffles  by Yeah! Burger Chef Shaun Doty and a yet-to-be-determined concoction by Chef Matt Swickerath of Valenza.

Chef Eli Kirshstein attains comic book status Chef Eli Kirshstein attains comic book status

 Chef Star Stints

Several Atlanta chefs have interesting new star stints. Hugh Acheson will serve as a series judge, alongside newbie Emeril Lagasse, on the Texas-sized season nine of Bravo’s Top Chef, airing this fall and filmed in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. No word yet if there are any Atlanta contestants.

Another Top Chef contender, Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, will also get his TV  moment. He will be immortalized on the Sunday Sept. 11 episode of Turner's Adult Swim cartoon Squidbillies, playing himself, as reported by Eater Atlanta ( Click here for a video preview:


Meanwhile, Top Chef alum, chef Eli Kirshstein has been immortalized in a new food-centric, digital-only version of the Spider Man comic by Marvel in which Kirshstein helps outwit the villain bent on destroying Spider Man’s dinner date. The collaboration apparently came about when Kirshstein struck up a Twitter friendship with a senior content creator at Marvel Comics. See the episode, Spider-Man: A Meal to Die For, for free at

And congrats to Canoe sommelier Matt Bradford, who recently became the city’s only sommelier to pass the Court of Master Sommelier’s Advance Examination, which allows him to next test for the Master Sommelier’s Examination--the highest distinction, and one held by less than 200 individuals worldwide.

Kevin Gillespie on Adult Swim's Squidbillies. Kevin Gillespie on Adult Swim's Squidbillies.








Is it just us, or are meatballs giving the trendy burger and hot dogs a run for their money? New Italian arrivals Cibo e Beve, No. 246, andDouble Zero Napoletana each serve up admirable versions. Cibo’s meatballs consist of veal, beef and pork for a mixture of fats and delicious flavor, while Double Zero serves up two versions of the polpettine consisting of either lamb or pork). In addition, Varasano’s pizzeria now boasts meatball sliders, Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand offers a chicken sausage meatball grinder, Pricci serves up braised veal meatballs marinara, and Osteria del Figo’s has instituted an entire meatball bar devoted to these savory orbs. Figo’s various meatball recipes are seasoned with herbs, cheeses and spices; consist of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and even duck and wild boar; and come with an assortment of dipping sauces.

The Burger Trend’s Last Stand:

Continuing with the meat-centric trend, popular chain 5 Napkin Burger has opened in Midtown in the former Nickiemoto space. The “butcher-chic” décor is courtesy of The Johnson Studio, while the bar stocks 40 bourbons, specialty cocktails and drafts. There’s also sushi, pork taquitos, Crab Louis and Maine lobster rolls on the schizophrenic menu, but most will come for the 10 oz. burgers like the famous 5 Napkin one served with melted Gruyere, caramelized onions and rosemary aioli. With Smashburger, another chain, slated for Midtown and already at Piedmont Road, is this the burger trend’s last stand?

Pan Cakes

Check out these decadent red velvet pancakes, the creation of chef Myron Mebane from the Park 75 culinary team at the Four Seasons and a brand new addition to the menu. The breakfast version is topped with powdered sugar, house-made pecan cinnamon butter and a drizzle of Vermont maple syrup because who doesn’t like to start off their day with dessert? Or order them at the conclusion of the day with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a sweet ending. Either way you’ll flip for these deep red stacks of deliciousness.  $14 at Park 75 at Four Seasons Hotel, Midtown.

Red velvet pancakes at Park 75 at The Four Seasons Red velvet pancakes at Park 75 at The Four Seasons