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August/September 2009

Stars Fell On Atlanta
Celebrity chefs bringing culinary masterpieces to the coolest hotspots
by Katie Kelly Bell

Market’s Roasted Cod

Atlanta has a dining reputation deserving of national attention, so it’s no surprise that several national celebrity chefs have decided to bring their dining concepts down south. In just over the past year our city has experienced an infusion — consider the star-studded line-up: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Laurent Tourondel, Tom Colicchio, Fernando and Gino Masci and local celebrities Scott Serpas and Richard Blais.

Market and Spice Market

With his eight restaurants in New York, the charming Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten hardly seems to have time for two more in Atlanta: Market (at the W Buckhead) and Spice Market (at the W Midtown). Market’s glossy sleek interiors with curvilinear touches set a nice stage for the cuisine, where “JGV” prefers to reinvent familiar fare with exotic and spicy influences such as gulf snapper with avocado, sake and ginger or the black truffle pizza. At Spice Market, the emphasis is on layers of flavor influenced by Asian street food. A grilled salmon salad comes with crystallized mustard and lemon soy dressing, or a grilled strip steak with garlic, coriander and sesame. Desserts are unique—be sure to try the silky coconut sorbet; you’ll need it to cool off after this meal. Market, 3377 Peachtree Rd. NE, 404-523-3600, Spice Market, 188 14th St. NE, 404-549-5450,

BLT Steak

Located at another W, this time downtown, Laurent Tourondel offers a stylish setting serving a full raw bar and an unbelievable selection o fsteaks at Bistro Laurent Tourondel, or BLT Steak. The mastermind behind the highly praised Cello in New York, Tournodel owns BLT concepts in nine cities. The naturally aged beef is finished in a 1700 degree broiler and always topped with a decadent pat of herb butter. Duck, lamb, crispy snapper and grilled tuna are a few of the other highlights, while the lush desserts (peanut butter chocolate parfait, Meyer lemon meringue pie) round out the experience. Snag a bottle of BLT’s signature barbecue sauce to go on your way out. 45 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., 404-577-7601,

Il Mulino

Brothers Fernando and Gino Masci first opened Il Mulino in 1981 in Greenwich Village, and for nearly twenty years, it has been voted Zagat’s No. 1 Italian restaurant in New York City. Atlantans can now savor the Old World hospitality and Italian specialties that have defined Il Mulino. Within the intimate dining space, flamboyant tableside presentations are common—the tableside Caesar presentation is as elaborate as the salad. Massive wedges of parmesan are shaved tableside for snacking, and earthy dishes such as veal Bolognese are perfectly executed. The pappardelle pasta with sausage and wild mushrooms is a delight, but the veal with prosciutto, fontina and mushrooms should not be missed. Enjoy it all with a soulful wine from the thoughtful Italian selections. 191 Peachtree St. NE, 404-524-570,

  Craft’s Hamachi pleases all your senses. Photo courtesy of The Reynolds Group.
Serpas True Food

Scott Serpas has his own celebrity status in Atlanta, having successfully headed up kitchens at Sia’s, Mitra and TWO urban licks. Serpas is his first foray into ownership and locals couldn’t be more pleased. Serpas has a deft, gentle touch with his cuisine, tossing out platters of joy such as eggplant hush puppies with bleu cheese and red gravy or pigs ’n blankets with andouille and smoked mustard. Serpas has remarkable skill that weaves together a variety of influences…he’s an Asian Cajun serving up crab claws, gumbo and Jambalaya along with duck rolls with five spice and snapper with shitake. The scene is a sleek and hip warehouse with a hopping menu that never bores the palate. 659 Auburn Ave., 404-688-0040,


Uber chef, urban hipster and judge on the popular Bravo network show, Top Chef, Tom Colicchio is the man who put New York’s Gramercy Tavern on the culinary map. His own concept, Craft is characterized as contemporary American cuisine with a DIY approach. Guests design their meal based on protein, sauce and side. Some suggestions: the roasted scallops with vermouth butter, a swordfish with candied lemon or short rib with root vegetables. Desserts such as the lemon beignets with lemon curd are magical. CraftBar, located in the same building, has a more rustic relaxed feel—not to mention a more walletfriendly menu. Much of the fare at CraftBar is prepared on a woodfire grill; dishes such as pastas, roasted and braised meats and simple plates of prosciutto with fontina round out the experience. 3376 Peachtree Rd., 404-995-7580,

Flip’s Krispy Kreme Liquid Nitrogen Milkshake
Flip Burger Boutique

Former Top Chef contestant (season four), Richard Blais brings a quirky, slightly Mad Scientist inspiration to his cuisine. After stints at various restaurants in Atlanta and elsewhere, he has settled into his role as Chef at Flip Burger Boutique where you should expect the unexpected. You can stick to tradition with the Butcher Cut (caramelized onion, bleu cheese, red onion jam) or go off the grid with a foie gras milkshake and the “Southern” (deep fried beef topped with pimento cheese and green tomato ketchup). You’ll never tire of the possibilities, and who can resist a liquid nitrogen (yes, liquid nitrogen!) Krispy Kreme milkshake anyway? 1587 Howell Mill Rd., 404-343-1609,


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