“I feel like I just walked into a restaurant time machine and leaped three decades ahead,” said a native Atlantan friend, gazing around the dining room. That sums up what happened when Ford Fry (JCT Kitchen & Bar, No. 246, the Optimist) took over the space that housed long-running Southwestern fantasyland Nava to open his first venture in Buckhead. The beige adobe plaster and Native American prints vanished. In its place appeared a glossy tavern motif—dark walls, mixed woods, clubby lamps, and, near the entrance, shelves lined with literary classics (a nod to the name, inspired by two characters in Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn). Much of the food emerges from a centerpiece twenty-four-foot hearth outfitted with a wood-burning oven and several grills. Take your menu cues accordingly: smoky campfire aromas heighten wood-roasted carrots and beets mingled with feta and gently spicy harissa; gutsy sears brand the lamb chops and steaks. Read the full review here.
3060 Peachtree Road, 404-477-3500, kinganddukeatl.com
This article originally appeared in our September 2013 issue.