Sunday, March 6, 2011

South City Kitchen Midtown — Atlanta’s Down Home Casual Sleek Spot

Neil and I had some bonding time while Eric was in Atlanta last week.  We had our own fine cuisine at home but it sounds like Eric really hit on a couple of great places for residents and travelers to Atlanta.

      Major winds and rain hit Atlanta during rush hour while Judy and I pushed on to find South City Kitchen at 1144 Crescent in Midtown, which I’d read about in Zagat.  We’d checked out a few menus online and this was the one that we felt like eating at first glance.  After tipping (as good karma) what I thought was a homeless man, but may have been an employee of the bar-restaurant next door, in helping me park, we walked into a two level floor to ceiling glass front building on a narrow street lined with nicer condo and apartment towers.  The architecture is early ‘80s open plan with bar and view into the kitchen and an upstairs consisting of cozy spaces.  Blond woods on floors, stairs, and tables matched with sleek, though unobtrusive, lighting fixtures gave the space a relaxed and clubby feel.  For a torrential Monday night, it was about two-thirds full and there was turnover at all of the tables.  The staff was laid-back, friendly, and quietly professional.

      The main point is the food and it is excellent.  Judy and I were both intrigued by the desserts so she was smart and decided on an appetizer with a side while I chanced indigestion and ordered an appetizer and an entrée.  Judy wasn’t certain about goat cheese with Fried Green Tomatoes, but our server Dave described the dish as being like Eggplant Parmigiana.  He was right.  The four tomato slices were spread with goat cheese, dipped in egg and panko breadcrumbs, and sautéed.  They were crispy with a nice edge to the tomato (almost al dente) and the goat cheese lent an almost citrus note to the dish.  The marinara sauce that accompanied it was complex, both full-bodied and acidic.  Actually, the sauce was so good that most diners might like another couple of tablespoons.  Judy also liked the Bliss Potatoes she’d ordered as a side dish, though it was presented with the tomatoes as if it was an entire entrée (smart move on their part).

Fried Green Tomatoes, Bliss Potatoes,
and Shrimp & Grits
Chicken Livers
      My appetizer came down to the Chicken Livers or the Sweetbreads.  Dave recommended the livers and he was again right.  OMG!  I have never had nor made a better dish with liver whether chicken or calf and whether it was a pâté, fried, or sautéed.  The portion was twice what I expected for an appetizer and it was not breaded and deep-fried, as I’d presumed.  It was sautéed, but very tenderly.  It was the smoothest textured chicken liver, resembling the best cut and cooked portion of beef or veal tenderloin imaginable.  The texture was neither grainy nor chewy, which it sometimes can be and the chalky/ashy under-bite was non-existent.  The gravy from the juices that accompanied it was rich, but had a very clean dark taste, almost like a bordelaise sauce.  It was served on home made creamed corn, which was rich in cream fat and a little soupy.  (It was also $7, which I thought was an absolute steal).  The shrimp and grits was an extremely generous portion.  The sauce was smoky and the fish firm, but still juicy.  It was really good, but I couldn’t get the liver off my mind.

Banana Pudding and
Blueberry Bread Pudding
      We finished off with dessert.  Judy had the Blueberry Bread Pudding, which was like baked French toast as Dave described it.  It was bread, rather than cake-like, that was completely moist, but held its shape.  The fresh blueberry sauce was more syrup-like in texture with many plump berries.  This was another generous portion, which Judy halved for dinner and breakfast the next morning.  I had the Banana Pudding, consisting of light custard, more of a crème anglaise, with slices of banana and home made vanilla sponge cookies.  South City Kitchen is a low-key foodies’ delight.  Check it out in Atlanta!

South City Kitchen Midtown on Urbanspoon

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