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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Empire State South- An Atlanta State of Mind

Warning: The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 and those whom view are adverse to eating out of jars

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Empire State South is a great combination of Modern, Eclectic and Original Food Composition. This is another restaurant I wish I had visited earlier.

We started out with their signature "In Jars" snacks for the table, which includes deviled ham, trout mousse, pickles, pimento cheese & bacon marmalade, boiled peanut hummus. The later two were my favorites.  The boiled peanut hummus was heaven in a jar.

Then we entered the second portion of the meal. With our Falcor Wine of course! (Speaking of Heaven in a jar, er bottle)

The Chilled Corn Soup shoyu gel, fermented spring onion, sourdough, lemon, thyme, nasturtium was really tasty, though I have an inclination against cold soups.

Our Farm Egg ESS made with hot dog, maiitake, crisp carolina gold rice, corn puree, scallion was recommended by our wonderful waiter Vas. We were skeptical, but the crisp carolina rice made this a delicious offering.

The above was Braised Tripe kielbasa tortellini, tomato, lemon thyme. I was the only one that seemed to like this offering.  Tripe is a bit of an acquired taste.

The Catfish Belly tasso with pickled ramps, buttermilk, radish, which I believe as Leslie's favorite. As you may know, I am not a big fried seafood person, though this was a light batter.

Thank you sir may I have another!
The Charred Octopus came with pickled tomato, squid ink vinaigrette, chinese long bean, baby potato. This is one of my favorite appetizers in town and the best dish we had. It was so nice we ordered it twice (eat your heart out Emily Dickinson, there's a new poet in town). Really, when it was time to order entree's we had Vas bring another Octopus to us. I have never had Octopus melt in my mouth until this dish.

It could truly give Cardamom Hill's "Egg Appam" appetizer a run for best app in Atlanta.

Speaking of Octopus, Hollywood really needs to redo Jules Verne's"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." And I am purposely forgetting the remake from the 90's with Patrick Dempsey and  Michael Caine, we will just call it the Rocky V of Science Fiction.  I mean they are doing friggin' Batman again for the 50th time.  More on that in the footnotes.

So for the end we were strongly encouraged to go with the Duck. The Darby Farms Roasted Duck with honey-bourbon vinegar: peaches, okra, baby tomato,cornbread was great.  The duck was cooked to perfection and the breast portion was delicious.

We also had the Ricotta and Fig Ravioli fig butter with arugula, purslane, squash, shoyu and chive blossoms. It was good, but not one of the highlights.  Though Beth Would disagree.

Overall, this was a very strong meal.  One of the better Dry Rub 4 Dinners over the last year.  They do Farm to Table as well as anyone and make the menu creative, original and fresh.  On the Octopus alone, I would come back.

Today's Footnote:

Why would Ben Affleck do Batman?  The man whose career has went from childhood prodigy to barely being able to carry Matt Damon's jock, to Gigli comes back and becomes somebody I have the utmost respect for.  State of Play, Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo is an unbelievable, John Cazale like streak. But you know what?  I think he'll pull it off.  The guy is like Jordan against the Trailblazers right now, he just cannot miss.

It's kind of like he's on acting PED's.  Only his head isn't twice the size or has horrible back acne.

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