Southern Art opens in Atlanta’s InterContinental Hotel today. The urban eatery combines Southern comfort with upscale, modern elements, such as a handsomely appointed bourbon bar, large painted canvases hanging from the ceiling and, of course, a famous chef leading the charge. Chef Art Smith is at the helm; you might know him as Oprah’s chef, as the executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two and Art and Soul restaurants, as a contestant on Top Chef Masters or as a guest judge on Top Chef. Or perhaps as the author of his cookbook, Back to the Family. He’s also founder of Common Threads, a non-profit organization that teaches children about diversity and tolerance through the world’s great cultures. I could go on about his awards, too, but suffice it to say he’s definitely a rising rock star in the culinary world.
A native of Jasper, Fla. (just below Valdosta, so we’ll count that as the South), Chef Smith brings his delicious Southern roots to a boil in his rich menu packed with family favorites, such as his mother Addie Mae’s chicken and dumpling soup, a hearty meal with tender chunks of chicken and silky soft pappardelle noodles; buttermilk fried chicken from Springer Mountain paired with creamed butter ball potatoes, Brussels sprout leaves and cracked pepper gravy; deviled eggs; angel biscuits; North Carolina catfish; sweet potato casserole; and, of course, the full lineup of rich desserts like red velvet cake, mockingbird cake, buttermilk chocolate cake and banana pudding.
Smith isn’t the only star at this tasty lineup. If you’ve ever been to Charleston (and what serious foodie hasn’t?), you’ve certainly dined at High Cotton and tasted the splendid dishes of Chef Anthony Gray. At Southern Art, Executive Chef Gray oversees every detail, from the careful, slow stirring of the black rice for the Carolina black rice risotto to the selection of all the exquisite hams from all over the South. Chef Gray is practically giddy over the artisan ham bar. He can identify each and every shaving of delicate pink meat and rattle off how it was prepared and the goings-on of the farm from which it came. I’m not even a ham eater, but his descriptions made it irresistible. What I ate melted in my mouth like smooth, lightly salted butter. I added another piece to my biscuit, and it was pure Southern heaven. Y’all better go.
3315 Peachtree Road, NE
Atlanta, Ga. 30326
Parking: Complimentary valet
6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday
7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday Brunch:
11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
12 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily
Artisan Ham Bar:
3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday
3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday