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Amuse-Bouche:

August 15, 2011

Oprah’s Chef To Open an Atlanta Restaurant!

Chef Art Smith brings his trademark modern Southern dishes to InterContinental Hotel, Buckhead, Oct. 12

By Nancy Staab

  • Portrait by Moshe Zusman

Fancy baked oysters with crispy pork belly, an artisan ham bar, a vintage cakes and pie table and a bar stocked with 70 bourbons? Then read on…

He’s been sprinkled with Oprah’s fairy dust, after serving as her personal chef; has a James Beard Award and several cookbooks under his belt; has appeared on Iron Chef America and Top Chef; and helms two successful urban-Southern restos, Table Fifty-Two in Chicago and Art and Soul in D.C. (the latter named a “power spot of the year” in 2010). Now Southern-born chef Art Smith (he grew up near Valdosta), is bringing his modern spin on Southern classics to the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead with Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, taking up space in the former Au Pied de Cochon, and slated to open October 12.

Chef Art Smith Chef Art Smith

Farm-to-table and seasonally driven Southern menus are Smith’s currency, but in sleekly designed, yet unpretentious spaces. If the official press release is any indication, this place is going to be fun and delicious, y’all.  We are especially taken with the “Artisan Ham Bar” and “Vintage Pie and Cake Table,” which the restaurant, in a stroke of genius, will station near the front of the restaurant to lure customers like blackbirds to a, well, pie. The artisan ham and charcuterie bar will serve the meats carved-to-order and “with piping hot biscuits or crackling skillet corn bread and house-made butter and pickles.” Meanwhile, the pie and cake stand will boast such beauties as blueberry cobbler, summer peach pie, buttermilk chocolate cake and a 12-layer red velvet cake, displayed on antique cake stands. The sweets are available in the restaurant or for carryout.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First comes the lunch/dinner menu which is loaded up with lightened up versions of calorific Southern, Lowcountry, and Louisiana favorites like baked oysters with crispy pork belly; Addie Mae’s chicken-and-dumpling soup (an homage to Smith’s mother); a Lowcountry seafood platter; classic sides such as corn and okra pudding or sweet potato soufflé; braised Berkshire hog pork shoulder with green tomato chow-chow; fried chicken and sour cream waffles; and grilled aged ribeye steak (from Smith’s own family cattle ranch on the GA/FL border) served with red eye gravy. Southern Art will also serve breakfast but no hint yet on what items will make up what is sure to be a power-breakfast menu.

Hoecakes with house-cured salmon Hoecakes with house-cured salmon

And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the adjoining Bourbon Bar (open until 2AM) serving a whopping 70 varieties of bourbon, with a focus on small-batch producers, plus pre-Prohibition era-inspired cocktails.

Stay tuned for an interview with chef Art Smith and more details about the restaurant and bar coming soon. We hear that Oprah thinks his Maryland  fried chicken is the bomb.

Reservations can be made close to the opening date of Oct. 12  at: 404.946.9070; www.southernart.com

 

Below:  Dishes from Chef Smith's Art and Soul Restaurant in Washington D.C. 

 

Art's Put-Ups Salad

 

Squash soup with crunchy spicy crouton and maple cream

 

 

Buttermilk fried oysters with chowchow 

 

 

 

Braised short ribs with vegetables and farmer's cheese

 

 

A box of house-made doughnuts

 

 

 

 

Upside-down pineapple cake