ATL Food Chatter: September 14, 2009
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At first glance, Todd Ginsberg, an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, would seem to be an unlikely candidate for the executive chef position at a start-up casual restaurant in a quickly evolving Atlanta neighborhood. The talented and passionate culinarian has worked at Michelin three-star restaurants Alain Ducasse in New York and Lucas Carton in Paris and, most recently, helmed the kitchen at Trois. But a unique venture enticed him to turn down a job in New York to take on a new culinary challenge at Bocado, opening this fall in Atlanta’s westside.
Ginsberg said that he decided to take the job at Bocado because he was excited about working with owner Brian Lewis to create a restaurant that reflected their shared vision on the use of quality local ingredients and attention to detail. When it opens in October at 887 Howell Mill Road, the restaurant’s focus will be on offering a “contemporary approach to American fare, emphasizing a homegrown-inspired menu featuring small plates, sandwiches and salads.”
Pushing the envelope on the use of local products, Ginsberg will feature an “open door” policy for local farmers: Whatever they bring him, if the products meet his standards, he will incorporate into the menu. And to provide additional firepower to Bocado’s menu, he has hired a pastry chef Jennifer von Schlichten, who is returning to her hometown after a stint at Chicago’s acclaimed Blackbird.
Ginsberg believes there are many people in Atlanta who want excellence and sophistication in their dining experience without pomp. His goal at Bocado is to “create innovative foods that satisfy the tastes of those seeking simple plates with big flavor.” First peak at the small plates lineup includes sauteed squid with celery, mint, and chili flakes as well as roasted baby beets with Valbreso (French feta cheese), olives, capers and balsamic vinegar. Bocado promises to be yet another compelling reason to head to the westside to dine this fall.
NEWS AND NOTES:
Austell. Thrillist is reporting that Sweet Tea’s Catfish & Blues Co., featuring Delta Blues and food like Delta hot tamales, farm raised catfish and sweet potato souffle, has opened at 3961 Floyd Road.
Buckhead. Wolfgang Puck Express has closed after 6 years in operation at 1745 Peachtree Street.
Eros Tapas Bar has closed. [Editors addition: The restaurant is now called Ixtlan Ultra Lounge and continues to serve tapas. The website, for now, remains the same.]
Joël Brasserie has had its liquor license restored.
Downtown. A branch of Baja Fresh Express is under construction in the former Starbucks space at 250 Centennial Park West.
Decatur. Nectar, a raw juice, smoothie and healthy fare restaurant, has opened its second location at 1365 Clairmont Road.
Midtown. Meridith Ford Goodman is reporting that Riccardo Ullio will open a Mexican taqueria, La Lupe, in Cuerno’s space by mid-October. Darvelio Palma, former Sotto Sotto chef de cuisine and Acapulco native, will helm La Lupe’s kitchen. Entrees will range from $12 to $15, with lots of taco plates and appetizers.
Z Pizza in the Spire condominiums has closed.
Roswell. Red Salt, the long time downtown pub with a beyond-bar-food menu, has changed its name to Salt Factory due to legal and other considerations.
Question of the Week: What Atlanta restaurant group is opening a bakery/coffee shop/ sandwich shop in Brookhaven?
PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What Decatur hotspot is rumored to be opening a branch in Grant Park this fall?—is Brickstore Pub. (Broderick called that one in the comments last week.)