Fresh on the Scene: Biltong Bar, Marrakesh, Tom Tom, and JP Atlanta

The early word from veteran dining authority Christiane Lauterbach
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Biltong Bar
Biltong Bar

Photograph by Shelby Gordon

Biltong Bar
Beef jerky and booze may not sound like much of a concept, but Justin Anthony (10 Degrees South, Cape Dutch) is attracting throngs of enthusiasts at his bar in Ponce City Market. Biltong—a South African snack of cured, air-dried meat—is spectacular and softer than typical gas station jerky. Order a sampler plate to figure out whether you like your beef biltong fat-on, fat-off, or encrusted with chile pepper. Don’t miss the bobotie handpies (above) made with ground beef curry, or the cheesy popcorn. 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 678-515-0620

Marrakesh Mediterranean Market
The only thing remotely Moroccan about this new counter in Ponce City Market may be the trinkets and books on display. Generic pita and laffa sandwiches and chalky hummus are indistinguishable from those served at a gazillion fast-casual Middle Eastern places in town. Stick with the schnitzel sandwich or a juicy chicken shawarma. 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, 404-600-4171

Marrakesh
Marrakesh

Photograph by Shelby Gordon

Tom Tom
Tom Tom

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

TomTom
Here to Serve founder Tom Catherall is back in town after the abrupt October collapse of his onetime restaurant empire. At his newest opening in Virginia-Highland, quality plates at diner prices are the norm. Among the bargain standouts are fresh fish in parchment ($14), Monday night’s whole fried chicken with mac and cheese for two ($20), and an off-menu whole fried catfish (also $20), as well as hot chile seafood ($10) and cauliflower steak ($10). Catherall’s longtime pastry chef, Joan Trotochaud, is also back on the line, making daily desserts and fresh-baked bread. 1000 Virginia Avenue, 404-815-9155

JP Atlanta
JP Atlanta

Photograph by Shelby Gordon

JP Restaurant
Architect-developer John Portman, whose design of the Midnight Sun in Peachtree Center nearly five decades ago defined downtown sophistication, has a new restaurant inside Hotel Indigo that looks like a pop art starship, with chrome-silver chairs and bright splashes of red and blue. Sadly the execution is like any other dull hotel restaurant. Pimento cheese crisps with bacon jam are oddly bland, while the roasted bone marrow arrives buried under a lump crab cake crust. Small portions and sloppy plating extend from the grilled swordfish to the chocolate mousse. 230 Peachtree Street, 404-523-4004

This article originally appeared in our May 2016 issue.

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