Saturday, April 22, 2017

One Midtown Kitchen - Elevated Dining in Atlanta

ONE Midtown Kitchen
559 Dutch Valley Rd NE 
Atlanta, GA 30324
One Midtown Kitchen is a perfect little slice of culinary joy in a fairly residential area in Atlanta. The friends I was visiting, Kelly and John, made reservations for us during our annual Easter visit. 
You can tell you're in for a treat when you pull up and are greeted by the blue backlit facade and the valet parking attendants.
I didn't get a shot of the entry portal as it was dimly lit, but it brings to mind something you'd see in a temple of some sort. You then enter to this view.
 Chef Matthew Weinstein and crew were very hospitable. Note the photo-bomb..well done sir.
Matthew hails from my neck of the woods and has done time at Volt and Range. It shows in the attention to detail. See below.

 There is a lot of fire happening in the restaurant which is always nice for ambiance...and pizza. Very Neapolitan-esque. Good char, crispy crusted.
 As I was saying about the ambiance..
This is the dish that caught my eye when I first looked at the menu: Fois Gras Mousse with strawberry, pineapple, black pepper, caramelized white chocolate and lavash. Right up my alley. Smooth mousse and some contrasting flavors. 
 And this was number 2 - Pork belly with fried green tomatoes, chimichurri aoli and cured egg yolk. We had two orders of this. Maybe three.

 This was a surprise dish in that the sum of it's parts came together and produced something unexpected. We got a second round of this one. Cauliflower Shawarma. Just enough heat to make it interesting.
 Shrimp hushpuppies with spicy remoulade and chowchow. Pretty presentation and always a good option for getting fried corn meal in ya.
 Grilled octopus with puffed rice, avocado yogurt and pickled jalapeño was pretty awesome. Great looking dish with tender octopus and enough heat to make it interesting.
 You can't go wrong with local cheeses. Very nice.
 Wood roasted asparagus with puffed sorghum, soft egg and watermelon radish. Very pretty dish and the asparagus was done just right.
Another dish we got two of: Hamachi Crudo. Mango, onion, shiso.
 Not only was it tasty, but it was very nice to look at too.

I chatted with the cooks for a bit while I was taking pictures. We discussed dining and video trends...I caught a little Salt Bae action.
 9/10 times I would have ma gherd, the KitKat dessert was fav. Anyone who's spent time in DC in the 2000's and ate at a Michel Richard restaurant tried one of these. This version was pretty good....however, my favorite dessert of the evening was the carrot cake.
This was Off. The. Hook. Imagine the best carrot cake you've ever had-taste, texture, perfect cream cheese icing, constructed all soignee-like. That's what this was, with some peanut butter ice cream to boot. 
Bravo folks. Well done.

Overall - I totally give this place a thumbs-up. Service was on the money. They know what they're doing and they know what the kitchen is serving.
The ambiance is very cool. Great for date night or business.
Food quality is top notch.
If you go, tell them you read about it on Pleasures of the Table!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pineapple and Pearls - A lot of talent in a little place

Pineapple and Pearls
715 8th St. S.E.
Washington, DC

I finally had the time, luck, and wherewithal to hit one of the most talked-about restaurants in the country. Above is the first cocktail of the evening created by legendary stick-man Jeff Faile. Jeff has worked with NRG, Fiola, and Frank Ruta. This spin on what would normally be the second cocktail of the evening is a non-alcoholic version of the Fennel and Absinthe Bonbon. You don't have to be a drinker to have a good time at P&P. All of the cocktails you'll see in this post are crafted specifically for the non-tippler.
The first bit of the evening was pineapple and country ham over asparagus. While very pretty to look at, it was not my favorite of the evening. The flavors/textures didn't meld. They were there, but didn't complement each other and it was difficult to eat without the topping falling off.
Dish number two was a little more playful. Baby elotes with some smoke coming up from underneath.
There were many NA bevs served to us over the course of the dinner. Some better than others, and I can't remember them all. However, what I do remember is the care taken in their crafting and the presentation. Look closely and you'll see this is a bud with tiny flowers all over it. Very cool.
Caviar with horseradish and avocado was beautiful. I should have asked for seconds of this. This is where things started to get interesting for me.
This was the bread presentation. Note the fruits to the left and the fois gras mousse on the right with hazelnuts. It brought to mind Michel Richard's faux gras plate.

Summer garden egg drop soup was a punch in the face of beautiful umami. Awesomeness in a bowl.
Fluke Veronique was very pretty and the fish was perfectly done.
Sweetbread stuffed chicken wings were interesting. I loved the presentation. Not my favorite dish, but it was fun to eat.
Another of Jeff Faile's booze-less creations. Yes, we ate some of the coconut too.
This was the condiment portion of the Summer Red Curry and Coconut Rice dish. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the finished dish as I was enthralled with the process when chef Scott Muns prepared it table-side. It involves a using a high-school science lab vacuum that some over-the-top types now use to brew coffee. It was very entertaining and Chef Scott is always a pleasure to chat with. I'm not sure how much of the flavor of the dish is developed during the process, but it's fun to watch. The dish itself, once composed, is excellent. The curry broth is creative and just spicy enough to keep your taste buds entertained while not ruining them for what's next.

Blueberry Shortcake and Brillat-Savarin was a lovely start to the end of the meal. Brillat-Savarin is a triple-cream cow's milk cheese named after the 19th century epicure who's quote was the basis for the name of my blog...little factoid for you there.
This is the Crispy Buckwheat and Honeycomb Ice Cream presented with the chocolate soufflé below. They stick the landing after this dinner.

The chocolate soufflé was a 10. Bitter chocolate to go with the honeycomb ice cream. We didn't leave anything for the porter to clean up on that one.

Closing thoughts are that this place is like Disney World for foodies without having to leave your seat.  It's definitely a good choice for any birthday or special occasion.
The talent here is undeniable and well-sorted. I recommend taking the time to score a reso here (do your research long before you try) and get thee an Uber. The cocktails flow, and there is no financial penalty involved for enjoying them to the fullest.
Well done Aaron Silverman & team. Well done.