The verdict on 3 new Atlanta restaurants: the Betty, Botica, and Soul: Food & Culture

The midcentury supper club reimagined, Mediterranean meets Mexican in Brookwood Hills, and Todd Richards’s soulful new spot

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The Betty Atlanta
The Betty’s grilled Cornish rock hen and Retropolitan cocktail

Photograph by Martha Williams

The Betty
Located on the first floor of the new Kimpton Sylvan, the Betty is a hotel restaurant inspired by the midcentury supper club—and if none of the preceding description particularly lights your fire, know that chef Brandon Chavannes (St. Cecilia, King + Duke) is cooking on a level way beyond workaday steak and soggy shrimp cocktail. That famous appetizer, for instance, gets a rigorous makeover, served head-on with cocktail sauce spiked with fermented lime and warming Indian spices. An Atlanta native born to Norwegian and Jamaican immigrants, Chavannes flavors his food with a deft hand and a global reach, enriching grilled Cornish rock hen with tahini and labneh, then providing an acidic counterpoint in the form of earthy salsa verde—it’s like the world’s most luxurious chicken shawarma. Steak options, de rigueur in a hotel, start with filet mignon and escalate to a porterhouse that costs more than some round-trip airfares ($169). The Betty is one of three concepts Chavannes is overseeing here: There’s also Willow Bar, a courtyard space serving cocktails and plant-centric plates, and St. Julep, a rooftop bar with more “playful” food. 374 E. Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead, 470-531-8902 —Sam Worley

Botica
The most alluring offering at amiable Botica is the shared plates: Chef Mimmo Alboumeh was born in Lebanon, lived in Spain and Italy, and cooked previously at Red Pepper Taqueria, and here, he serves not just standard party fare (nachos, guac) but also more tapas-esque dishes like a terrific, smoky octopus with crisp potatoes and aioli. You can imagine ordering them one after another, between rounds of drinks, long into the evening—if only this were the era of the shared plate, or the long evening. For me, Botica represents a happy dream of life someday soon, when sitting together at an intimate table, basking in one another’s warm company and/or airborne droplets, isn’t such a stressful proposition. For now, luckily, takeout is also available. (Though this spot might think a little harder about its protocols: Picking up my to-go order, I was invited to wait at the crowded bar, where I sat masked and anxious, like that Bernie Sanders on Inauguration Day meme. Guys: There is a bug going around!) Tacos are also on the menu, along with a few larger plates: burger, salmon, enchiladas. For those dining in—who also can choose to sit on a spacious patio facing Peachtree Road—the bar serves well-crafted margaritas and frozen drinks including an Aperol spritz frosé, which speaks of another happy dream: a summer that can’t get here soon enough. 1820 Peachtree Road, Brookwood Hills,
404-228-6358 —Sam Worley

Soul: Food & Culture
Born in Chicago with family roots in the South—and with a long career of Atlanta fine-dining experience now under his belt—Todd Richards is on a mission to elevate soul food to the rank it deserves. In 2018, he published his first cookbook, the autobiographical Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes. He follows it up with this new counter spot in Krog Street Market, which he developed with chef Joshua Lee. Some dishes remain from Richards’ Southern Fried, the leaner concept Richards operated solo in this same space, like chicken and waffles (plain or stuffed with collards) and a fried catfish sandwich with spicy remoulade. Chicken wings come tossed in a choice of sauces—lemon pepper with herbs and spices, hot honey with peppers and pickled red onions, and so on—with sides including collard greens with smoked chicken and mac and cheese. Richards tweaks classic soul preparations in dishes such as smoky salmon croquettes, served with stone-ground grits and jalapeño creamed corn. Results can be uneven, but don’t skip the frozen lemonade—a not-too-sweet treat that’s pure pleasure on the tongue. 99 Krog Street, Inman Park,
404-205-5913 —Christiane Lauterbach

This article appears in our May 2021 issue.

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