Ah, the Japanese steakhouse, the ultimate in gee-whiz dining. For many, Japanese steakhouses are the default choice for birthday/date night/family get-together eating. Theres a chef who kind of acts like a clown! Its sort of ethnic, but the food is totally safe and familiar! We dont have to talk to each other because theres someone throwing spatulas around!
Nakato's been the king of Japanese steakhouses in Atlanta for 35 years. The restaurant's divided into two rooms, one for the hibachi grills and one thats geared toward more traditional dining. Its the hibachi room thats always full, however. The garden room, where the sushi bar resides, stays relatively quiet. And that's a shame because Nakato serves some of the citys most varied and interesting Japanese dishes.
(Photo by James Camp)
Atlanta is not a city thats been kind to its own past. Having made the mythological Phoenix its logo to describe its own recovery from the fire of the Civil War, the city has been on a constant rebuilding campaign ever since.
Im not talking about antebellum architecture alone most of that was indeed destroyed in the war but much of the architecture of the early 20th century has been razed, too. I well recall in the 1970s that Southern Bell planned to purchase and destroy the Fox Theatre to build its headquarters. Only a last-minute effort by an organization of preservationists, Atlanta Landmarks, saved it.
The hotel across the street, the Georgian Terrace, is actually older than the Fox, which opened in the 20s as a Yaarab shrine. The Georgian Terrace opened in 1911 and is famous for hosting guests of the 1939 premiere of Gone with the Wind.
The hotel has been up and down over the years, at one point becoming apartments. It is now at the end of an expensive renovation that has turned public areas, at least, into breathtaking spaces. This includes the new restaurant, Livingston (659 Peachtree St., 404-897-5000), named after Livingston Sims, Atlantas mayor from 1901 to 1903. According to press material, Sims was an avid gastronome and the Georgian Terrace was built on the site of his home.
(Photo by James Camp)
Heard from Jennifer Zyman that Noon, the highly anticipated (at least amongst rabid foodies) gourmet sandwich shop finally opened today. She will be covering it in an upcoming Cheap Eats column.
The New York Times reports on a new study of red meat eaters:
Now a new study of more than 500,000 Americans has provided the best evidence yet that our affinity for red meat has exacted a hefty price on our health and limited our longevity.
The study found that, other things being equal, the men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods.
A reader wants to know who's got the best tiramisu in town. Anyone have a suggestion? I'm drawing a blank. Please help.
Check out this great video showcasing America's craft brewers.
About the video (via Vimeo):
"I Am A Craft Brewer" is a collaborative video representing the camaraderie, character and integrity of the American Craft Brewing movement. Created by Greg Koch, CEO of the Stone Brewing Co. and Chris & Jared of Redtail Media...and more than 35 amazing craft brewers from all over the country. The video was shown to a packed audience of 1700 craft brewers and industry members at the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference as an introduction to Greg's Keynote Speech entitled "Be Remarkable: Collaboration Ethics Camaraderie Passion." As is tradition for the CBC Keynote, a toast to the audience was offered. This time, the beers offered for the toast were all collaboratively brewed craft beers including Isabella Proximus, Collaboration Not Litigation, AleSmith/Mikkeller/Stone Belgian Style Triple, Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne-Ø/Stone Special Holiday Ale, and 2009 Symposium Ale "Audacity of Hops."
I heard a rumor last week that Top Flr had a new chef, but when I called the boys over there were being very tight lipped. "Call back in four days," they told me. Today I called back and managed to get a name: Landon Thompson. But they wouldn't say anything else, other than that he's local. Couldn't find anything on him, but heard another rumor that Thompson is quite young.
No word on Mike Schorn, who has lead the kitchen up till this point. More to come as we get it...
East Atlanta Beer Festival kicks off the Atlanta festival season. The fest takes place on Sat., May 30, from 1-6 p.m. at the corner of Moreland and Metropolitan avenues in East Atlanta. Over 120 craft beers will be featured and proceeds benefit community projects. Buy your tickets today (Apr. 29) to save $5 and avoid the long lines. They will be $35 at the gate.May Flowers. The month of May promises to be one of the biggest in recent memory for Georgia beer lovers: Craft Beer Week, two new Terrapin releases, the opening of 5 Seasons Westside, and the Georgia debut of Bell's and New Belgium. Look for more details here in the coming weeks on all of these events. Then, toward the end of the month, the
French Broad spotted in Atlanta. No, not Carla Bruni. Asheville's French Broad Brewing Company has begun distribution in the Atlanta area. The small brewery (about 2,500 barrels in 2008) opened in 2001 and has pursued a goal of creating classic European style beers with an Asheville twist. Recently they have been stepping up production, expanding into Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, and now Georgia. "We're a little stressed here at the brewery right now," says marketing director Matt Barnao. "We're on a pace to triple our production from last year." To keep up with orders, beers are brewed during the day on the company's 15-barrel system, then the night shift comes in to bottle on a semi-automated bottle filling system.
We dined at the new Spoon on Moreland Avenue in East Atlanta tonight -- great, as always -- and then headed across the parking lot to the highly addictive Morelli's for ice cream and a life lesson.
Wayne ordered a crepe whose preparation created a bottleneck since only two employees were on duty. I enjoyed telling people who were drumming their fingers at the counter that Wayne was responsible for the holdup.
Eventually, one of the employees opened the pick-up window and slid an order toward a woman. "That's not what I ordered, did I? I don't think so," the woman said, embarrassed. The employee apologized, asked for the order again, filled it and insisted that the woman's companion take the incorrect order for no charge. They left smiling and literally promising to return many times.
Wayne's endless crepe was finally delivered, but I still had not received my cone. The employee looked at me and said, "Did you want something?"
"Um, yeah. I ordered and paid you for a scoop of ginger-lavender in a waffle cone," I said, feeling annoyed.
"Oh yeah! I knew that. Sorry, I forgot." Ohhhh-kay.
She shut the window and, moments later, returned with my cone. "I'm sorry I messed up," she said, "so I gave you two scoops."
I felt happy-happy, joy-joy. Finally, a solution to all conflict. When you screw up and annoy people, just give them free ice cream.
The Guardian recently published an interesting piece by Tim Lewis about the latest nontraditional male type: the gatrosexual. The term refers to serious male home cooks, not the men who have dominated restaurant kitchens for generations.
Much of his article is devoted to the way male home cooks differ from their female counterparts. Among his many observations:
The idea that food might take second billing to the overall experience is heresy to any self-respecting male cook. In the domestic context, an invitation to eat has become an opportunity to flex culinary muscles or make a statement of intent to his rivals (sorry, guests). Ben Miller went to a dinner party recently where the host, a stay-at-home dad, offered a fully organic rabbit stew cooked from scratch, only to be trumped by Miller bringing his Ramsay-humbling sponge and the other male invitee whipping out a Bavarian apple strudel. And the legacy of Come Dine With Me means that you can be assured that the evening is ruthlessly dissected on the way home.
The essay prompted Amy Benfer of Salon.com to write a reply, that concludes this way:
I won't argue with the (female) chef who laughingly points out that "molecular gastronomy" -- the test tube style of cooking with liquid nitrogen and the like pioneered by el Bulli chef Ferran Adria (incidentally widely considered the greatest chef in the world) -- seems like a stereotypically masculine way of cooking (if one is the kind to think that little boys are the most natural audience for chemistry sets). And I'm pretty sure that Alton Brown's fondness for bringing power tools into the kitchen and invoking food science explains a lot of his appeal to my boyfriend, but then again, I've rarely seen him (the boyfriend, that is) consult a recipe when making family dishes -- like baked ziti, chicken cacciatore, marinara. Then again, he learned those recipes from his mother, an old-school Italian cook of the intuitive variety. It seems to me that the allegedly "male" cooking style sounds like the kind of cuisine that comes from thinking of food as a pleasure, a hobby or a performance, rather than an obligation, a job or a chore. And it doesn't take a whole lot of analysis to see why those different perspectives might fall along disproportionately gendered lines. Still, as long as I have that ride from the boys at the bar to hunt down smoked almonds and French breakfast radishes -- and a live-in partner who can make an awesome pizza crust while I pontificate on gender -- I'm not complaining about much.
(Photo courtesy of Americanata)
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