We've been spending a fair amount of time exploring the local dining scene in Atlanta and this weekend was no different.
We were in the Buckhead area of Atlanta for dinner at chef Art Smith's Southern Art and Bourbon Bar. Southern Art offers southern inspired foods and features an artisan ham bar and vintage dessert table.
The space is muted with pops of color that can't help but draw the eye. Most striking are the large canvasses suspended from the ceiling and the chandeliers hung with colorful glass fruit. The space is open but still maintains an intimate feel.
We had a reservation and were shown to our table as soon as we arrived. Our server, Jonathan, greeted us by name. As in good evening Mr & Mrs Our Last Name. I thought it was a nice touch and let me know that service here was taken seriously. Service throughout the evening was great. The meal was well paced, we never felt rushed and Jonathan was there to make sure we had a lovely experience and he more than succeeded.
Once we were seated we were presented a serving board with a jar of in-house pickled vegetables, some biscuits and butter. A nice welcome nosh to tide us over while we looked over the menu.
Southern Art and Bourbon Bar is known for a couple of things, one is in their name. The other is what is billed on the menu as "a ham bar". The ham bar offers at least a dozen different cured meats.
|Southern Art Butcher's Board|
Rather than trying to narrow down our choices from the ham bar we decided to order the Southern Art Butcher's Board as one of our starters. It included several house made cured meats, two salamis and three sliced meats, as well as three mustards and some toast. Everything we tasted was good but the standout for me was the Tasso styled cured ham. Everything good about Tasso ham, loved it.
|Cheese from the South|
Along with the butcher's board we also ordered the Cheese from the South starter. Three of the chef's favorites served with house made saltines, mission fig jam, honeycomb and green tomato chutney. The cheeses the night we were there were a soft rind Camembert style, a cheddar with hints of cocoa and a mild blue cheese. All of the cheeses were tasty but the blue for me was the standout. Creamy, mild, salty, excellent and made more so with the accompanying fig jam and crackers.
To go along with the starters I had a couple of glasses of a Dr. Loosen riesling. I love Riesling and have paired it with all kinds of foods. If I'm in the mood for wine and it's on the menu I always order a Riesling.
|Shrimp and Grits|
|Bourbon Glazed Pork Shank|
|Creamy, decadent macaroni and cheese with bacon|
After all that yummy cheese and cured meats we moved on to entrees. I had the very southern Shrimp and Grits and my dining companion had the Bourbon Glazed Pork Shank. Once again he won. Don't get me wrong, the shrimp and grits was really good, creamy grits, okra, sausage, hominy in a delicious broth. But, the pork shank was sublime. A deep mahogany colored, crispy glaze over succulent, tender pork. It was easily the standout. I snagged a few bites and would go back for this one. Along with the mains we ordered a side of macaroni and cheese to share. The mac and cheese is creamy and delicious and covered with bacon, enough said.
|Twelve Layer Red Velvet Cake|
Finally it was time for dessert. As you walk into the restaurant you pass a dessert bar. A long table filled with all manner of sweet temptation. Oh how I wanted to order more than one but truth be told, I was almost full. I know, so sad to only be able to eat one dessert but one presses on. We settled on the 12 Layer Red Velvet Cake. A perfect way to end our evening.
We had a very nice evening at Southern Art and Bourbon Bar. A welcoming space, good food and a large helping of southern hospitality. The food and service will get you in the door, the southern charm will keep you coming back.