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Chef Angus Brown Talks Cheetah Dinner and Lusca Opening

Fettuccine with sea urchin and pancetta at Octopus Bar

Fettuccine with sea urchin and pancetta at Octopus Bar

Chef Angus Brown — who with chef Nhan Le came to fame at Octopus Bar, their adventurous East Atlanta after hours eats-and-drinks hangout — has been in the news lately for kicking off a new pop-up series at the Cheetah.

Tuesday evening’s inaugural dinner of the Spring Street Supper Club has been dubbed “Octopussy.” And, yes, there will be nude dancing, along with four courses and wine pairings.

For fans of Octopus Bar, though, the bigger news is that Brown and Le are just weeks away from opening a new full-service lunch and dinner restaurant called Lusca in the South Buckhead space once occupied by Bluefin.

Calling earlier today from a cab in New York City, where he’d landed to cater a dinner for some friends, Brown talked about cooking at the Cheetah, Lusca, and Octopus bar.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

How did you end up doing a dinner at the Cheetah?

We have a really good relationship with the manager, Sam Kim. She loves Atlanta restaurants and she comes to Octopus Bar all the time. She asked us to do it, and of course I said yes, but I said we needed to take like ten meetings there so we could understand how things work [laughs].

So no hesitation?

No. Since I’ve been working on Lusca and Duane Kulers has taken over Octopus Bar as executive chef and is doing such a great job, I’m not really cooking over there much anymore. We decided to do it together, and we also decided we were really going to go all out and really bring it. We’re doing octopus carpaccio with lemon sorbet, scallops with champagne leeks, an egg and caviar dish, and a lamb dish. They gave us a big budget and we’re going over the top with it.

What’s happening with Lusca?

I’m so excited to open, especially since I haven’t been cooking much for the last two months. I’ve had a lot of time to really focus on Lusca. It’s pretty much the dream restaurant for Nhan and me. We started Octopus Bar with less than $10,000 and now we’re opening Lusca all by ourselves without borrowing any money. We’re designing the restaurant ourselves, trying to keep things simple and use a lot of restraint, which is where my food has been going. We’re putting the finishing touches on everything and we’d like to be open before April.

Is the menu set?

The menu is very set. We also have one of my best friends since high school, John Sellitto, coming in. He’s a chef and an Italian-trained butcher. We’ll have all kinds of cured meats. We’ll have burgers at lunch made from whole aged chuck. The menu will be small and simple. Having an in-house butcher will allow us to do all sorts of things. But I’m also a very vegetable forward cook, too.

And there will be a raw bar.

Yes. Nhan will be doing the raw bar. We have a 12 seat marble bar and we’ll focus on sashimi, hamachi, oysters, live scallops, sea urchin and things like that. That’s our favorite kind of food.

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

6 comments Add your comment

Clams

February 28th, 2014
4:00 pm

The only question I have is how can anyone enjoy a fine meal in a place that smells like an ashtray?
Seriously, I love the ladies, but can they ot do a better job of getting the cigarette smoke out of the place?

Also, I wish these guys all the best, but did no one tell them that the SoBu/Brookwood area is the spot where good ideas go to die. That space is cursed. Cursed, I tell you!

Edward

March 1st, 2014
10:48 am

Yeah, so cursed that Holeman & Finch, Restaurant Eugene, La Grotta, Georgia Grille, R. Thomas, Watershed, Salt Yard, Sufi’s, Bell St., Pasta Vino all died and disappeared… /s

mondaymorningqb

March 4th, 2014
7:44 am

Something tells me I still will not have an easy go of it convincing the wife I’m going there for the food.

Andy

March 4th, 2014
9:14 am

Stay away from the tuna.

Phred

March 4th, 2014
10:18 am

Careful with the fish tacos…

Clams

March 4th, 2014
3:53 pm

Come on, Edward. You know what I mean. That little strip where Intermezzo was. That place struggles no matter what goes in there. But I agree with you that all the others you mentioned do just fine. They are not in that building.