The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: Dash & Chutney, Kinship Butcher & Sundry, and Yao Atlanta

Plus this month's pop-up highlight: a culinary match made in heaven, aka the Mississippi Delta

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Dash & Chutney
Dash & Chutney

Photograph by Martha Williams

Dash & Chutney
Throughout 2021, Chattahoochee Food Works has filled, stall by stall, with an eclectic array of vendors, such that visitors can now take their pick of Thai comfort food (TydeTate Kitchen), Vietnamese sandwiches (Bánh Mì Station), Argentine empanadas (Belén de la Cruz)—and much more, all packed into a warehouse-like space in the new Chattahoochee Works adaptive-reuse complex. The developer-speak such projects involve can be less than clarifying, but here’s the straight dope: Picture a fancy shopping mall. Got it? That’s the Works. Now, picture a fancy food court (with a bar!) attached to that mall. That’s Chattahoochee Food Works.

What’s the adaptive-reuse answer to the chewy pretzels and gloopy cheese sauce that haunted the American shopping mall of yesteryear? I nominate samosa chaat, the beloved Indian street food of chickpea curry ladled over flaky samosas. It’s snacky, it’s spicy, it’s energizing—and it’s available here in fine form at Dash & Chutney, a new addition to CFW from chef Palak Patel. Sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, with a gentle tartness redolent of mango powder, samosa chaat (pictured, at left, with mango lassi) is just one entry on a cheery menu of vegan Indian street foods, including sloppy joe–esque pav bhaji, fake-chicken curry, and a Mumbai-style grilled veggie sandwich. Born in India, Patel moved to Atlanta as a child, then went off to make a name for herself in New York, appearing on a variety of Food Network shows (her chicken curry did the titular deed on Beat Bobby Flay). She was making plans for a restaurant in New York’s Hudson Yards—another one of these newfangled, lavishly financed, Insta-friendly developments—when the pandemic fouled everything up, and Patel began to rethink things and moved back to Atlanta. Manhattan’s loss is our gain. 1235 Chattahoochee Avenue, Underwood Hills

Kinship Butcher & Sundry
Like Kirkwood’s flawless Evergreen Butcher + Baker, this cute little storefront is a hybrid, a butcher shop and then some; where Evergreen’s then some relates mostly to flour (among the best breads and pastries in Atlanta), Kinship puts caffeine front and center. The right flank of the shop is occupied by Academy Coffee, whose star barista Connan Moody brews drinks like the Hercules Hercules, a flat white with bay leaf and olive oil—endlessly complex, not a little savory, strange and wonderful in equal proportion. Connan is the sibling of the chef Myles Moody, a Linton Hopkins protégé who owns Kinship with Rachael Pack; the pair have organized a limited but thoughtful selection of groceries (mustards and sauces, pickles, fancy salts, fresh produce), natural wines, and fresh meat and cheese from regional producers. Also? Sandwiches, including a terrific breakfast sandwich with bacon or housemade sausage, local eggs, cheese, and arugula, served on an airy milk bun by Vivian Lee, who provides the shop with a few other pastries, too. (Under the name Leftie Lee’s, she’s opening her own spot soon in Avondale Estates.) Moody and Pack had once set their sights on a restaurant, but the pandemic scaled down their plans; the model they ended up with is a welcome addition to VaHi, as it would be to any neighborhood. 1019 Virginia Avenue, Virginia-Highland, 404-343-4374

Yao Atlanta
“Yao” comes from Yaowarat Road, the main drag through Bangkok’s Chinatown district—and the culinary inspiration for this new restaurant from Jakkrit Tuanphakdee and Adidsara Weerasin, the married couple who opened the fantastic Tum Pok Pok earlier this year on Buford Highway. That spot is charmingly cluttered with Thai bric-a-brac; this one aims for a similar aesthetic, but no amount of colorful decor can outmatch the bland, high-ceilinged architectural nothingburger of a building in which the restaurant is situated. A kind of meandering, suburban-fancy vibe also suffuses the menu, which includes some familiar faves (crab wontons, potstickers), some total wildcards (truffle Parmesan chips?), and some of the unique Thai-Chinese preparations that represent the great promise of this restaurant—like khao mun gai, a poached-chicken dish related to Hainanese chicken rice, here cooked sous vide for no clear reason, though I loved the gingery green sauce spooned along the edge of the plate. Crab fried rice was mushy and, on a recent visit, most of the promised ingredients in Yao’s “signature” duck salad (pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, celery) were absent altogether, leaving just a few pieces of duck swimming in hoisin sauce under a perplexingly large pile of greens, for—it bears mentioning—$26. The cocktails are also pretty expensive, but pretty good; hopefully, the food catches up soon. 237 Perimeter Center Parkway, Dunwoody, 770-557-0353

Pop-up: Kajun Asian Food Truck
After Hurricane Ida blew through in August, Thuan Nguyen put out the call: He was heading home to help. Using $2,000 he raised in Atlanta, partly from sales from his food truck, Nguyen bought supplies to deliver to Houma, Louisiana, where he grew up. New Orleans and surrounding areas are home to a robust Vietnamese population—which has produced, Nguyen says, a culinary “match made in heaven.” Vietnamese cuisine already has a pronounced French element due to colonialism. In the Delta, that mixes well with French-inflected Creole foodways; the Vietnamese affection for herbs and spices, meanwhile—cinnamon, cloves, chilis—complements local African and Caribbean influences. So, yes, Nguyen serves gumbo.

But he also does kimchi fries, a lobster roll with yuzu aioli, and a fantastic shrimp po’boy with chili mayo and a ginger vinaigrette. (Also: great french fries.) A classically trained chef who’s cooked at South City Kitchen and Noble Fin, Nguyen struck out on his own in 2019 and makes regular appearances around town—often in the northern burbs. Find him on Instagram, or via a calendar of upcoming dates at kajunasianfoodtruck.com.

This article appears in our November 2021 issue.

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