Robert Phalen at One Eared Stag

Fried chicken necks and Bolognese sauce made with pig’s foot meat? Last year, when Phalen took over the space that previously housed Shaun’s in Inman Park, he peppered his menus with outlandish proteins that seemed more like dares than dinner. (He first came to food lovers’ attention in 2010 with dishes like oxtail empanada at East Atlanta’s Holy Taco.) Since then he’s veered more toward mainstream cuts of beef and seasonal seafood, but his creativity remains constant and dazzling. He may serve the ubiquitous shrimp and grits, but he’ll swap in South Carolina rice grits and tangle the shrimp with radicchio di Treviso, pickled okra, tomato, and bacon vinaigrette. Downtown workers bored with the area’s lunch options should hustle down DeKalb Avenue for Phalen’s crusty grilled cheese or crab roll with lemon aioli. Really, his originality makes One Eared Stag a destination from anywhere in the metro area.