——————————————————————————————Tuesday Dinner: Empire State South——————————————————————————————
Ever since receiving Hugh Acheson’s cookbook, A New Turn in the South, a couple of months back as a gift, the thought of heading down to Georgia to experience one of his restaurants has been fresh in my mind. Luckily, one of my closest childhood friends, Matt Lipkins, is a musician whose band, The Shadowboxers is based in Atlanta, and Chef Acheson opened his newest restaurant, Empire State South downtown in that very city. Hugh Acheson is known for his modern approach to Southern Cuisine, using French and Italian culinary technique and applying it to the local ingredients and traditions. ESS is no different. We kicked it off with a rye based cocktail, a spiced up Sazerac, mixed with Aperol, orange bitters, antica and sugar, and an impeccable Charcuterie plate, possibly the best part of the meal. Five meats — bologna, terrine and a chicken liver pate in a small ball jar — accompanied by freshly baked bread, three homemade mustards and an assortment of pickled veggies. The waitress picked the rest, sending a plethora of small plates: Farm Egg w/ Crispy Rice & Bologna (pictured above), Prime Steak Tartare (pictured below), Crisp Pork Belly, Crisp Sweetbreads, Octopus & Pork Sausages, Foie Gras Ravioli, and a light Vegetable dish to cap it off. The food was paired with a gin cocktail w/ rosewater, and two Uinta Wylde Pale Ale’s, both fantastic for the heavy food we were ingesting. For dessert, we got a taste of the “Not Carrot Cake” made with Parsnip, instead of carrot, and two perfect double espressos to sober us up for the evening’s rehearsal. The Shadowboxers were gearing up to play a big show on the final day of my trip, and I was content be a spectator.
I must give a shout out to Jarrett Stieber, ESS’s brilliant butcher, whose hospitality and charcuterie plate were unprecedented. Thank you for showing us what Atlanta food is all about. Hotlanta, as it’s called may not be know for its food, but this was a spectacular start of two days saturated with innovative Southern cuisine.
KEEP READING & EATING