We spent our Saturday at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, enjoying ourselves but all day anticipating our dinner at Kevin Gillespie’s (aka “Beardie”)Woodfire Grill.
Our cab driver deposited us in the slightly suburban location next to a lingerie shop and an Asian restaurant and told us that the Asian restaurant was really good. We (I think wisely) decided to stick with the guy recognized by the James Beard Foundation. The restaurant was warm and cozy and, since we were a few minutes early, we sat at a bar table and had a drink. They’ve since changed over their menu so I don’t know what it was (can’t find it online), but it had blueberries and was delicious.
I’d called ahead to find out if we might meet Beardie since it was a special 40th birthday/engagement trip for us, but he was out of town. The staff, however, could not possibly have been nicer or more lovely to us the entire time. We originally ordered the five-course chef’s tasting menu and were going in blind — they just told us to trust them. We did.
Our awesomely knowledgeable server brought us glasses of sparkling cava — not only to celebrate but because the cool bubbles compliment fried food…and then we were presented with a fried oyster and pickled veggie slaw. The piquant slaw nicely offset the hot, fried oyster and it made for several delicious bites.
We then had some salmon and greens in an olive oil emulsion which was deceptively simple — it looked like salmon and salad, but the tastes were so much more complex. It was at this point K decided we were going with the seven course tasting menu after all. We couldn’t miss out on any of the dishes they were offering! Being the wonderful people they are, they worked to accommodate this and offered us an amuse bouche!
Because I am not a fan of beets, horseradish or dill, I didn’t *love* the beet, horseradish and dill amuse bouche, but K really liked the flavors.
We then enjoyed a scallop with a porcini mushroom and golden raisin emulsion. It was, perhaps, the most perfectly cooked scallop I’ve ever eaten and even a raisin-hater like K liked the earthy and slightly sweet sauce.
I think it was around here we received our palate cleanser which was a watermelon soup shooter with pickled watermelon rind and chili. While I’m not fond of watermelon, it was the hot chili kick at the end that made this really memorable. I might eat more watermelon if it came with a chili kick!
Then we went full throttle into meat country with a mosiac of rabbit and potatoes with roasted tomatoes and partially dehydrated black olives. I loved the slightly gamey rabbit with the salty olives.
Then it was pork belly and grilled quail with potatoes, okra and smoked pork jus. We expected pork from the man who has a pig tattooed on his arm. They didn’t disappoint. This was pork heaven. Then we enjoyed duck breast with rosemary carrots and pecan butter with blackberry sauce. Duck and berries go soooooo well together and these were my favorite carrots I’ve ever eaten. They have ruined it for all subsequent carrots I will ever eat.
Somewhere in here we finished our cava and K ordered some red wine and I ordered some white wine, but we were so drunk on tasty meat I no longer remember what wines we had. Regardless, we delighted in our mini cherries jubilee with almond butter (a kind of pre-dessert). Two of my favorite flavors together are cherries and almond and the rich almond butter worked profoundly perfectly with the juicy cherry snap. Final dessert? Semolina cake (which my phone “corrected” to read “semi lunar cake”) with blueberry ice cream and a limoncello sauce. If cherries and almonds are on my favorite flavor list, blueberries and lemon are a close second. The ice cream and sauce melted together perfectly to moisten the semolina cake.
Happiness. Warmth. Meat. Dessert. Yum. And as we were leaving, the staff gave K a menu that Beardie had signed for him before he left town. Service perfection.
I just decided that the Woodfire Grill gets a post all to itself so stay tuned for Southern food and me driving K nuts with Gone With The Wind trivia at Pittypat’s Porch and Pied Au Cochon can still suck it…