Thursday, August 1, 2013

A look at Ron Eyester's newly opened Timone's

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 12:19 PM

  • James Camp Photography
  • Timone's

In case you missed it, chef Ron Eyester's new "local pizza joint," Timone's (pronounced ti-mone-ee's), opened in Morningside last week. So, what can diners expect? First, there's the same cozy hospitality distinctive to Eyester's other North Highland restaurants, Rosebud and the Family Dog, along with their unfussy approach to good, down-home cooking. Likewise, Eyester conceived the family-friendly spot to appeal to longtime neighborhood dwellers.

The aesthetic of the 105-seat restaurant is very cozy, with recipe diagrams scribbled onto walls and artwork by John Dunn that is, in some cases, shellacked onto serving surfaces. The now-defunct Waffold had completed most of the buildout on the space at 1409 N. Highland Ave. in 2012, making it easy for Timone's to take over with a fresh design scheme. In true New York fashion, the eatery is accented with "broken-in" design elements such as tin, subway tile, and reclaimed wood. Its 14-seat bar is flanked by a series of high-top tables, while the rest of the shotgun-style dining room is lined with roomy booths and the back portion of the restaurant boasts a communal table and patio for patrons to enjoy throughout Atlanta's Indian summer.

The food is amply influenced by his mother's upbringing in Long Island and Brooklyn, New York, as well as her Neapolitan and Sicilian heritage. That includes pizzas, of course - thin, chewy slices with nostalgic flavor. You'll notice that familiarity in the cheese and pepperoni most, but Eyester has also developed a number of more adventurous options, such as a pie with shaved potato, fennel, and house-made Italian sausage, and another with local oyster mushrooms, Benton's country ham, cracked olives, and smoked mozzarella.

A couple of the (non-pizza) comfort-food dishes on Eyester's menu are almost certain to fill your calorie quota for the day. These include meatballs spiced with yellow onion, red chile, crushed Marzano tomatoes, and minced fennel, as well as fried calamari prepared "New Jersey-style," which, though delicious, reminds us of the kind of boardwalk cuisine you should pop an antacid to eat. The rice balls - which are made with creamy and flavorful Carolina Gold Plantation rice, prosciutto, peas, and fresh basil - are held together with creamy egg yolk, then dredged in bread crumbs and browned to a crispy finish. Amply seasoned with balsamic, oregano and olive oil, then finished with Parmesan and grilled bread, the marinated mushrooms is pretty much the perfect vegetarian dish. Baked clams, normally hard to come by in Atlanta, are especially tasty here: combining steamed, chopped clams with fresh garlic, shallots, oregano, parsley, and bread crumbs with a lemony zip.

Jason Kemp is managing the beverage program, which includes old-fashioned Italian sodas, cremosas, and egg creams. The alcohol is limited to diverse beer and wine selections. Vinos can be whipped up into spritzers and other summer-friendly apertifs. Timone's also serves up a sophisticated coffee program that ranges from a standard cup to a creamy and sophisticated cappuccino, perfect for a 4 p.m. break time.

Timone's, 1409 North Highland Ave. 404-809-2979. Mon.- Fri., 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 12 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Sun., 12 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

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