No local restaurant has evolved with as much mind and soul as Restaurant Eugene. Nowadays the mainstay on the menu is the deceptively dull-sounding “tasting of seasonal vegetables,” a joyful cornucopia of ten or more just-harvested dazzlers that may be as everyday as glazed carrots or as esoteric as fried lily blossoms, all bursting from a handled pan. It speaks to the adoration chef-owner Linton Hopkins has developed for local farmers and growers over the last eight years, and how their products have helped ground his cooking style in the regional vernacular. And Aaron Russell is the city's most intellectual pastry chef: A recent creation showcased chunky peach marmalade and herbaceous wood sorrel sorbet rising out of cocoa “soil” crumbles.
Best of Atlanta 2013
Dining these days is as much about the buzz as the food. For those times, though, when you seek téte-å-téte, plan an evening at Linton Hopkins's south Buckhead fortress of quietude. Eugene has always appealed to a calmer, more mature clientele, and the waitstaff knows how to be solicitous but not overbearing. For a spontaneous night out sans reservation, head to the small back bar, where you can sit shoulder-to-shoulder, sip bubbly or bourbon, and share Southern-inspired plates like a blue crab galette and guinea hen with spoonbread puree.
Photo by Amy Herr