Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is everything on the menu at Gato Arigato

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Gato Arigatos menu
  • Gato Arigato's menu
A couple of friends and I dropped into Gato Arigato last night, took one look at the menu, and decided to order everything. Gato Arigato is a pop-up restaurant serving up Japanese food on Mondays and Tuesdays inside of Gato Bizco, the Inman Park breakfast diner. Allen Suh and Nicholas Stinson, the team that put together the much talked about BATON supper series at Bizco, have dreamed up Gato Arigato as a more permanent restaurant within a restaurant.

The dishes are playful and non-traditional: duck egg chawanmushi, pickled lotus root and arugula salad, pork belly mochi, and so on. We devoured everything they put in front of us. You'll notice in the photos below that I couldn't even get a picture of the hamachi and fresh wasabi root before my dining companions tore into it. The pork belly mochi is decadent comfort food. The vegetarian ramen is satisfyingly rich, even in comparison to the pork-laden tonkotsu. I wish I could get a jar of the pickled lotus root, I'd put it on everything. This was all rather affordable, too. We ordered one of everything (and two or three of the smallest plates) and the total bill was about $70 before tip. I expect you'll be hearing more about this place.

Tonight is your last chance to eat there in 2012. Arigato will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. tonight, closed for two weeks for the holidays, and returning in 2013 on every Monday and Tuesday. Check out the photos after the jump.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Grazing: Barça Tapas & Bar and Tartufo

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

FISH FOOD: Crusty bread with white anchovies, lemon aïoli, and garlic purée
  • James Camp
  • FISH FOOD: Crusty bread with white anchovies, lemon aïoli, and garlic purée

"Money," Mounir Barhoumi told me when I asked him why he had closed La Fourchette to open Barça. "People aren't spending money in restaurants the way they used to. We decided to try tapas, since customers can control the cost of their meal."

It's a common story these days. La Fourchette's kinda-sorta Mediterranean fare earned good reviews during its several years and you would think its Buckhead location, across the street from Bone's, would make the upscale prices irrelevant. But, while the rich may be different from you and me, they love to attribute their wealth to frugality. Or, maybe they just prefer Barhoumi's pizzeria, Tartufo, next door.

To clarify the source of some common confusion: The name of the new restaurant, co-owned with Salem Makhlouf, is how young Europeans commonly refer to Barcelona now. The city is part of the region of Spain called Catalonia (which is threatening to secede). The cedilla in "Barça" is characteristic of the area's language, Catalan. It means pronunciation is "barsa," not "barka."

Read the full story by Cliff Bostock here.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grazing: Breakfast for dinner

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 10:52 AM

DADS WAFFLE: Buttermilk Kitchens burger-topped waffle with homemade butter and maple syrup
  • James Camp
  • DAD'S WAFFLE: Buttermilk Kitchen's burger-topped waffle with homemade butter and maple syrup

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That's why it was very important that I ate blueberry-cobbler pancakes with creamy grits around 1 p.m. Tuesday. This wasn't an ordinary breakfast, or brunch for that matter. It was at Suzanne Vizethann's new restaurant, Buttermilk Kitchen in Buckhead.

A winner of the Food Network's "Chopped" series, Vizethann also co-owns the much-lauded Hungry Peach café and catering service at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. She gained further local fame with the BYOBakeshop pop-up dinner series she operated with Jonathan St. Hilaire. And, if you want to see a chef's passion, take a look at Vizethann's blog, an account of her series of one-night gigs, "stages," in New York.

My meal of the blueberry pancakes and grits was actually my second at the restaurant. I'm glad I made it because an earlier visit with Wayne and his cousin Zach on the Sunday after Thanksgiving was a monumental disappointment for which I have no explanation.

Virtually every dish on the table was deeply flawed. Shrimp that were poised vertically in a pool of stone-ground grits had raw interiors. The grits themselves were dry and almost crunchy. My grassfed-beef patty served atop a waffle was, rather than the medium-rare described on the menu, vastly overcooked.

Read the full story by Cliff Bostock here.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Offal eating at Bei Jing Kabobs

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM

FOOD PORN: Bei Jing's spicy sliced pig ears and ox penis kabobs
  • James Camp
  • FOOD PORN: Bei Jing's spicy sliced pig ears and ox penis kabobs

Dear Stephen,

You're young and adventurous. You have a master's degree in anthropology. You're not Asian but you lived a while in Beijing. And you recently recommended I eat at Bei Jing Kabobs.

Why did you do that? You've ruined my rep and humiliated me. You made me eat something I never in a million years would have thought to eat. Let me start at the beginning.

Every Friday for two years, I've taken five friends to restaurants with the hope of broadening their tastes beyond LongHorn and Moe's. Some of these are new, mainstream restaurants and some are ethnic. As I've explained before, no matter the type of Asian food, they tend to pore through the menu looking for fried rice and egg rolls.

When you suggested Bei Jing - formerly called Te Wei - it sounded safe. I even researched online commentary and found it mostly positive. Our group had been to Chef Liu's and my friends loved the dumplings. And who could dislike grilled kabobs? So, off we went to the blindingly bright little restaurant in a shopping center that looks like every new shopping center on Buford Highway.

Read the full story by Cliff Bostock here.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grazing: Updates on Peasant Bistro and Chef Liu

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM

NOT-SO-RUBBER DUCKY: Peasant Bistro’s duck leg confit with fig mille-feuille
  • James Camp
  • NOT-SO-RUBBER DUCKY: Peasant Bistro’s duck leg confit with fig mille-feuille

When the Peasant Bistro opened four years ago across from Centennial Park, I wasn't expecting much more than a fancy-schmancy tourist trap. Instead, I had a terrific meal prepared by Chef Shane Devereux, a young newcomer from Philadelphia with a passion for French cooking.

His brandade, maybe my favorite substance on earth, was as evocative and sensual as any I've eaten anywhere.

It wasn't long before Devereux left the Peasant to join the guys opening the hip TOP FLR, which spawned the Sound Table and the Lawrence. He held the title of executive chef at all three restaurants. Now, although retaining partnership in the Lawrence and still cooking there most nights, he has returned to the Peasant as executive chef. His sous chef at the Lawrence, Eric (E. B.) Brown, has joined him as chef de cuisine.

Read the full story here.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

This week in Grazing: Tibetan food at Shangrila

Posted By on Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 1:08 PM

  • James Camp
Shrimp dumplings at Shangrila Bistro.

In Grazing this week, Cliff Bostock has found the mythical Shangrila. Turns out it is a bistro in Marietta that also serves Chinese dishes. The restaurant uses local ingredients (shrimp instead of hard-to-find yak, for example) and shows Tibetan cuisine's Sichuan and Indian influences. He found many of the dishes surprising in a good way. Check out the full review, plus his plea for restaurants to stop poisoning diners.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

This week in reviews: Panita Thai Kitchen and Goin' Coastal

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 1:53 PM

  • James Camp
The Bangkok fish at Panita Thai Kitchen

This week in reviews:
Besha Rodell visits Panita Thai Kitchen, an adventurous bungalow of a restaurant that "channels another place, another feel, another country entirely." Spicy, flavorful, authentic Thai dishes served in fruit bowls (like in the photo) are unlike anywhere else in the city.

Cliff Bostock is Goin' Coastal over fresh seafood, like stellar oysters on the half shell, from sustainable sources. The restaurant also has an array of Southern side dishes and pecan pie so good you'll want to order it twice.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's not just Mayberry

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 4:13 PM

I received this email in response to my recent Grazing column about Farmstead 303:

You and I sat near each other on an airplane ride to California many years back when you were commuting there for your doctorate....I have loved and missed your personal columns as well as your foodier pieces ( I was a cultural critic for 26 years in the Bay Area...)

I was however taken aback enough to write you about your description this week of Decatur as Mayberry or Hooterville. Even when we chose this community in Georgia as the only best way to transition from our previous home, 17 years ago, there was a Seattle's Best coffee cafe, now Java Monkey, that sold t-shirts with the caption: "Decatur: where Mayberry meets Berkeley." You overlooked that part of the identity equation.

This is a place where my husband and I can walk to more than 50 eateries, not to mention independent book stores, boutiques, galleries and a really decent CD store- and where every year we have a wine festival, a gourmet beer festival , an arts festival with a regional following and of course the Decatur Book Festival- 70,000 folks visiting us to catch a glimpse of their literary superstar, up and coming poets, etc. A green city, a diverse ( or more diverse every year) place.

It may look like a prototypical Southern town....with its square, gazebo, etc. But hey- it really is a metro-smart, culturally happening place.

I hope nobody else took my hyperbole seriously. I love Decatur and wish I lived there.

At the same time, the courthouse square and train depot do indeed remind me of the small towns where I worked for weekly newspapers when I finished undergrad. But, yeah, Elberton and Thomson don't have Decatur's cultural life, or at least they didn't back then.

"Where Mayberry meets Berkeley" is a perfect description!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

This week in reviews

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM

This week in reviews:
Besha Rodell compares Atlanta's dining scene to an Australian children's book and visits Rathbun's, finding that it still defines Atlanta's restaurant scene and we should be proud of it for doing so. She recommends the Jonah crab tart, rib-eye steak and other wise choices on an enormous menu.

Cliff Bostock has a first look at Farmstead 303 in "pedestrian-friendly Hooterville" Decatur. His favorite dish is the one pictured above, which is the most expensive one on offer, but he also notes the presence of other, wallet-friendlier items on the menu.

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Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly
Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly

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