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Archive for September, 2010

Behind the Review: Woodfire Grill, Atlanta

Credit: the fantabulous Becky Stein

Credit: the fantabulous Becky Stein

With this post I’m debuting a weekly feature on the Food and More blog. “Behind the Review” will delve a little deeper into some aspects of the review that didn’t make it into print. Please feel free to ask me any questions about what I tried, what happened during the meals and why I made certain observations.

Woodfire Grill was the first big-deal Atlanta restaurant I’ve reviewed in years, and I knew that a lot of attention would be paid to the star rating. In my mind, the rating and the written review are completely different things; I think they should jibe, but I’m not going to write to justify a rating. That said, the star rating usually is obvious to me after I’ve eaten at the restaurant a couple of times.

Based on the two meals I’ve had at Woodfire Grill, I found it a three-star restaurant that will be a four-star restaurant once chef Kevin Gillespie matures and broadens his approach to tasting menus. I do think he’s the brightest …

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Woodfire Grill dining review, Atlanta



As I sat in the foyer of Woodfire Grill, sipping a cocktail and waiting for my guest, I eavesdropped on a party of four that had just arrived. They were a young couple and an older, presumably parental, pair. Apparently, the younger man was giving the patriarch a crash course in all things “Top Chef.”

“I want to get my picture taken with Kevin,” he said excitedly. “Maybe after dinner we can go talk to him.”

Becky Stein, AJC

Becky Stein, AJC

How truly wonderful. Here is a multi-generational Atlanta family going out not just for dinner, but to dine — to enjoy a stimulating and thought-provoking meal prepared by the most dynamic chef to emerge from this city in years.

Later in the evening, Woodfire’s chef and part owner Kevin Gillespie will indeed pose for that picture, his tattooed arm draped over his adoring guest.

A finalist in the competition and a runaway fan favorite, Gillespie became something of a folk hero — the right chef for these bacon-loving times. More than that, though, he …

Continue reading Woodfire Grill dining review, Atlanta »

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 …

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Lousy cellpic of the day: Holeman & Finch hot dog

photo 1Hot on the heels of our lively discussion of expensive sandwiches, I offer you this particularly terrible cellphone picture of a hot dog that costs $10.

Yes, $10.

I will say this new [new to me] menu item at Holeman & Finch Public House is one awesome hot dog. The frank itself — juicy and grill-blistered — comes from the restaurant’s increasingly sophisticated charcuterie program. But it’s the add-ons that do it for me — the griddle-toasted house-baked bun (just like a lobster roll bun) and the thin, crisp pickled jalapeño rings atop, that are more sweet and less spicy that the commercial ones. They’re almost like bread-and-butter jalapeños.

Has anyone else had it? I think the famous hamburger has a new friend.

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How much is too much for a sandwich?

(Credit: Wikimedia)

(Credit: Wikimedia)

Yesterday’s post on Super Pan Latino Sandwich Shop kicked up a bit of dust in the comments section about its relatively high prices. Some thought that $12 sounded like too much to pay for the beef rib bolillo — a crusty submarine packed with shredded beef. I agree that it’s not a price I’d pay all the time, but it seemed fair considering the amazing girth of this sandwich (I think two people could share it with a salad) and the evident quality of the ingredients.

I noticed the same discussion going on after Creative Loafing’s rave review of Super Pan.

So I ask you: what’s the upper limit a restaurant should charge for a sandwich? Does the very word “sandwich” tacitly mean that it should come in under $10?

And doesn’t Flip Burger Boutique serve a $40 Kobe/foie gras burger?

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Win a $50 gift certificate

restaurantcom_entryThis piece of chocolate cake decorated with what appears to be a non-edible pansy could be yours!

The good people at AccessAtlanta are celebrating a social media milestone, and as a way of saying thank you to those who click, they are offering a drawing for a $50 gift certificate from

All you have to do is click here.

The contest ends at 5 p.m. today.

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