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4th and Swift
On the brink of so much activity around the Old Fourth Ward–Inman Park neighborhoods—where Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market are both scheduled to open later this year, bringing a major influx of restaurants—it’s gratifying to find Jay Swift’s New American looker still turning out such attuned cooking. It’s been the most consistent option for finer dining in the area since it launched in the restored Southern Dairies building in 2008. Swift once had two menus running concurrently: one that rotated four times a year with the seasons and another nightly changing lineup that used the freshest ingredients in light-handed ways. He revised the format last year with a regular “market menu” that changes nightly, as well as a five-course tasting menu available every night but Monday. Standouts from a recent meal include lamb and ricotta meatballs arranged around spinach creamed with pureed sunchokes and dotted with polenta croutons, and a gossamer piece of black bass atop a bed of gently curried red lentils cooked just to the edge of pap yet still retaining bite. Swift has a knack for hiring talented pastry chefs, and he recently employed Lauren Raymond, whose seasonal desserts (including, on our last visit, a light and fragrant ginger cake scattered with candied kumquats and pomegranate seeds) previously made for memorable finales at the General Muir and Miller Union.