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Trend spotting: the gourmet meat and three


Lunch from the Silver Midtown Grill

They say it takes three instances of something before you can declare it a trend.  So I might be rushing things, but I’m beginning to wonder if that venerable stalwart of Southern dining, the meat and three, is fixing to get a gourmet makeover.

First came Home Grown GA — the Reynoldstown spot that is at once old fashioned and forward-thinking in the way it lets guests choose fresh sides, such as fried green tomatoes with horseradish cream, for its uncomplicated main courses, such  as herbed trout. It feels like both a step back to a time before the stranglehold of factory food and a hopeful glimmer of the way things might head.

Now Empire State South has opened with a menu that invites the same kind of mix-and-match ordering. You can order a smothered pork chop with tomato gravy, and choose roasted okra with buttered almonds and green beans with minted yogurt as your sides.

So what’s the one to make it a trend? I don’t know — I’m still waiting for the third shoe to drop. I sure wouldn’t want to declare the trend and end up on this list.

Has anyone been to Empire State South yet?

13 comments Add your comment

jack trent

September 2nd, 2010
3:11 pm

is Silver Midtown Grill your third restaurant? if not, why the picture?


September 2nd, 2010
3:12 pm

How about Farmstead 303 in Decatur as the 3rd? It is a new farm to table meat and three.

Edgewood Adam

September 2nd, 2010
3:14 pm

I see what you are saying but i must disagree about Home Grown. It is really just a meat and three that uses quality ingredients. It is the way a meat and three should be. No canned vegetables and everything made from scratch. Plus it is priced no different than a regular meat and 3.


September 2nd, 2010
3:20 pm

I have been to Empire State South and it is indeed incredible! The veggies prepared by Chef Nick Melvin are downright sublime. Biscuits are perfect as well as the pimento cheese. Hugh Acheson’s vision really comes through as a gourmet meat and three–unpretentious and delicious.


September 2nd, 2010
3:38 pm

The Wednesday night “skillet dinner” last night at Bocado was wonderful — crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh peas and collard greens. Delicious!


September 2nd, 2010
4:23 pm

Isn’t the Silver Midtown Grill closed?


September 2nd, 2010
5:15 pm

I went to ESS on opening night for their soft opening and it was great! Hugh was there and the kitchen was definitely turning out the same simple, super-fresh veggies they do at 5 and 10. Very reasonable wine list. The fried chicken app with fresh corn salad was maybe the best fried chicken ever (Hugh agreed). Missing my 5&10 pickle plate but they said they were “working on it”. Played three games of bocce on the court outside as well. Probably the best high-end/new-southern cuisine in the city – but not sure if the meat & 3 concept is gonna work for a James Beard award (if the rumor is true as to why he finally came to ATL).

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September 3rd, 2010
12:48 am

I also went to the soft opening and couldn’t agree more, the best fried chicken ever. Everything about ESS smell and looks like an award. The lighting made me weak. I had to take my girlfriend the next day just to peek through the window. Hugh has outdone himself with this one.

[...] is the original post:  The Gourmet Meat and Three | Food and More with John Kessler By admin | category: meat food, vegetables | tags: the-way, vegetables | The Battle Of [...]


September 7th, 2010
12:37 pm

I picked up the most insane meatloaf sandwich for lunch at ESS last week. For only $12, you get a giant sandwich (I had to save half for the next day) and two sides of your choice. I went with the mac and cheese and the collards – the food was so good, I almost started crying in my cube. I can’t wait to go back and sit down for a proper meal at ESS. Thank god Hugh has arrived in the ATL! I’ve missed him so since leaving Athens.


September 7th, 2010
5:51 pm

I went for brunch last Sunday. I loved the place – the look and feel is like a big, comfortable farm house and while I didn’t sample a lot of food, the baguette and cheese plate was wonderful (with the most amazing peach jam) and everyone around me that was having the fried green tomato BLT was raving about it (one lady sitting next to me could not help but blurt out an expletive, she was so carried away)! Also getting rave reviews was the grilled cheese and soup. I most definitely will be back for lunch and dinner!


September 8th, 2010
1:30 pm

I went last Thursday night and the food was indeed wonderful. I had perfectly cooked quail, lady pea succotash, and grits. Even more surprising was seeing Guenter Seeger seated at the table across from me, and Hugh coming out from the kitchen at some point to say hello. It made me wonder where he ended up as a chef or if he retired? John, would you happen to know?