Atlanta Restaurant Bucket List: King + Duke

A few months ago, I posted about my Atlanta Restaurant Bucket List. I have a good friend in Atlanta who is always down to go on foodie adventures with me, and every few months I try to get back over to Atlanta to check some more restaurants off the list.

This past weekend, I had to go to Atlanta for a friend’s party, so I came in a night before to check a restaurant off the list. Prior to my visit, I had sent my friend the list and told him to just pick one and make reservations. He chose King + Duke, another Ford Fry masterpiece (last time we visited The Optimist), this one focused on open-hearth seasonal cooking.

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We like to go all out on our meals together, so of course we never can pass up drinks or starters. K+D has an incredible craft cocktail menu and I was immediately drawn to the Duke “James and the Giant Peach.” With Buffalo Trace Bourbon, honey roasted peaches, lemon, and mint, it was so refreshing and a cocktail I could drink all summer long.

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With some many great starter options on the menu, we couldn’t choose just one, so we opted for three: Deviled Eggs, Pimiento Cheese Hushpuppies, and Avocado Toast. Had we known we would also be getting Yorkshire pudding as the complimentary bread offering, we probably didn’t need to indulge so much, but we couldn’t resist! And can I just interject here that Ford Fry is a master with his breads? The Yorkshire pudding was so deliciously eggy and warm inside with a crisp outside and just pure perfection. Remember my last Atlanta post where I raved about his dinner rolls at the Optimist?!

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Ok, back to the appetizers. The deviled eggs had an incredibly creamy yolk filling, the pimiento cheese hushpuppies were moist and served over a bed of homemade pimiento cheese and topped with a spicy pepper jelly, and the avocado toast was incredibly fresh with micro greens, salty ricotta salata, and crunchy radish on top of avocado mash smeared on a thick slab of crusty bread. And aren’t they all so beautiful?!

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For my entree, I ordered the Springer Mountain (half) Chicken. It was phenomenal. It had a roasted-on-the-hearth taste that gave it a smoky, earthy flavor. The chicken was moist and the skin was just slightly crisped. It was served over panzanella, but we’d had so much bread in our appetizers, I really just focused on the chicken.

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My friend ordered the Duck “Coq au vin,” and while I can’t speak on it because I don’t like duck, he said the chicken was much better. Although, the roasted summer vegetables it came with were great.

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For our dinner side (as if we needed any more food), we got the Heirloom Tomato salad. Oh my lawd. This was hands-down the best tomato salad I have ever had. We couldn’t get enough of it. It was full of gorgeous, colorful heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, mixed with cucumbers and topped with shaved pecorino cheese. AND THE DRESSING — literally could not get enough. It was a peppercorn dressing with such a rich, milky flavor that complemented the tomatoes perfectly. After we ate all the tomatoes, we started taking pieces of bread from my panzanella and dipping in it (so much for too much bread). We even took home what remained of the sauce to eat with my leftover chicken.

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And then because how could we come this far and not have dessert?! We ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. Again, incredible. Did we need it? No. Are we glad we got it? Hell. Yeah.

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Definitely check out King + Duke next time you’re in Atlanta. Request to be seated on the patio if the weather is nice. We sat outside and it is a lovely place for happy hour, drinks, or dinner.

A New Addition

The next morning for breakfast, my friend took me to a place that wasn’t originally on my bucket list, but he informed me it should be. Home Grown has been around in Atlanta for a long time, serving up breakfast and lunch made from local produce, but at an affordable price. It’s your typical no-frills Southern joint, and has become a staple for down home Southern cooking; even the likes of Presidents have visited.

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We went Sunday morning and waited for about 25 minutes for a table, but not to worry, Home Grown puts out coffee for those who just can’t wait for their table. We were eventually seated in a cozy table in the back, across from the consignment thrift store housed in the back of the restaurant! Such a unique atmosphere.

We all ordered the Comfy Chicken Biscuit because it’s one of their specialties and it couldn’t have been a more perfect Southern breakfast. Thin sliced chicken cutlets were fried in a crispy, peppery batter and served over fluffy biscuits, and topped with an incredible sausage gravy. The gravy was just as rich as you’d hope it to be, but wasn’t too heavy or salty. I ate every single bite of my dish. And now I’m craving it again. Why am I writing this while I’m hungry?!

Anyway, I’m so glad my friend introduced me to Home Grown and I highly recommend you all add it to your ATL Bucket Lists!

Stay tuned for more posts in the future as I regularly update my restaurant list!

My Atlanta Restaurant Bucket List

Happy Thursday, and sorry it’s been a little while since posting! I spent this past weekend in Atlanta, visiting a good friend from college. Since Atlanta and Birmingham are only 2 hours apart, we take turns visiting each other in our respective cities. And since he is a foodie like me, the first thing we always plan is what restaurants we’re going to eat at. I would be lying if I said our trips aren’t almost completely based on getting to visit new restaurants…

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Like any good foodie, I have restaurant bucket lists for most cities, and Atlanta is no exception. In fact, I think my list for Atlanta is probably one of the longest. There is so much going on in their food scene now. I need to spend a whole month just eating there! But alas, we only had a weekend, but we packed in as much food as possible!

Here’s what we checked off this time:

The Optimist:
I have been wanting to go to Ford Fry’s seafood restaurant for quite a while now. I had heard amazing things about it, and as a lover of good seafood, I couldn’t pass it up. And it lived up to expectations. I knew from the minute they brought out their homemade rolls, it was going to be a good dinner. The rolls were soft, pillowy, brushed with melted butter, and sprinkled with sea salt. I could have eaten 20 of them. Seriously, I am praising a restaurant’s dinner rolls. For an appetizer, I order the Frothy She-Crab Soup, which was served in an individual soup crock with shrimp toast on the side. It was thinner in consistency than most she-crab soups, but I liked this because it felt less heavy. However, it was a large portion for an appetizer and could have been split with someone.

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For my entree, I ordered the monkfish with tomato fumet, squid, octopus, and clams, on the recommendation of the waiter saying it was the chef’s favorite dish. Monkfish is a firm white fish, often compared to the texture of lobster. It was lightly battered and fried and the fumet provided flavor without overwhelming.

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But the real star of the show was the corn milk hushpuppies served “beignet style” (aka fried and topped with powdered sugar) and served with cane syrup butter. Y’all, these were so.good. I wanted all of them but had to be nice and share with the table. Also, the brussels sprouts with candied bacon and charred jalapeño vinaigrette were so delicious and filled with flavor. We ended dinner with the banana cake, which, while very tasty and enjoyable, wasn’t anything to write home about.

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The General Muir
I added The General Muir, a Jewish delicatessen, to my list the second my friend sent me a picture of their Pastrami Poutine. Yes, Pastrami Poutine. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, too. We decided to do General Muir for brunch on Saturday with another friend of mine. We immediately ordered the poutine and it was everything I knew it would be. It was covered in a rich gravy and topped with crisped pastrami and salty cheese curds. (Side note on cheese curds: people think they are weird and gross, but they just taste like a saltier version of whatever cheese they are made from. I fell in love with them in Wisconsin and now never pass up a chance to get them.)

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For my main dish, I had the Poached Eggs and Grits. The grits were made with gruyere and topped with roasted mushrooms in a madeira sauce. It was a wonderful dish with clean flavors. I could have eaten a whole bowl of just the grits alone. I also tried bites of my friends’ smoked sable on a bagel with cream cheese and Pecan Crusted French Toast (made from challah bread – yum). Everything was done very well and incorporated Jewish flavors into both authentic and Southern-influenced dishes. Another side note: I think this is what I like most about Atlanta’s food scene – that they are able to take these flavors from all over the world and put a Southern spin on things to represent the region and culture.

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Holeman and Finch
You may have heard about Holeman and Finch in regards to their famous burger, but I’m here to tell you there is more to H&F than just the burger (although it is seriously amazing). H&F is a great place to go and get some cocktails while trying a bunch of dishes from the menu. Nothing comes in huge portions and there are plenty of snacks and starters if you just want to do drinks and apps. Since there are so many intriguing options on the menu, my best advice is to share, share, share. Two of us ordered four snacks and two entrees (plates) and split everything. It was the best decision we made.

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The snacks all condensed great flavors and innovation into small bites. We loved the Deviled Eggs Three Ways (pork, hot & spicy, and bread-and-butter pickle) and the Pimiento Cheese with sesame crackers. For our entrees, we got the Carbonara and the Burger. We considered not getting the burger since we had both already had it at Turner Field (they have a burger stand there), but it’s so good we couldn’t resist. We were also really impressed by the carbonara, which was full of garlicky, cheesy flavor and made even creamier by stirring in the farm-fresh egg yolk on top. Also, H&F has an incredible creative cocktail menu, so make sure you order one to sip on. Important to note: Holeman and Finch is a small place, and it fills up fast, so make sure to make a reservation before you go (you can easily do it online here).

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Krog Street Market
This food hall and market opened just recently in the Inman Park area and I had been dying to go. Located in a restored warehouse, the market is full of stalls serving specialty foods and selling crafts and locally-made goods. There are sit-down restaurants flanking the outside of the market and food stalls and community seating inside. I immediately gravitated to Yalla, a Middle Eastern food stall by Todd Ginsberg. I had gotten a couple of good recommendations about it, and I’m never one to pass up Middle Eastern food. I loved the ability to mix and match your dish that Yalla provided. You first choose weather you want a bowl, pita, or laffa (wrap), and then choose meat, falafel, or vegetables, and then all of the sauces, spreads, and dips you want to add. They also have a few special creations. I opted for the Layla’s Falafel in a bowl, which had falafel fritters, zhug (a Middle Eastern hot sauce), hummus, pickled cabbage, fennel, labne, greens, and tahini. I also opted to add baba ganoush because I love it. And I’m so glad I did – the baba was some of the best I’ve had. Everything mixed together in the bowl was such a delicious combo, and the falafel wasn’t dry (it’s my biggest pet peeve when it is). Oh and Yalla has housemade sodas, so I ordered a Strawberry, Lemon, Clove, and Vanilla one. So good!

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My friend got the Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich (also from Todd Ginsberg) at Fred’s Meat & Bread. It was also quite tasty. We really loved the seasoned Southern BBQ fries with Alabama White BBQ Sauce (represent!) to dip them in. For a sweet treat, we got ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. They have some of the most unique flavors. I opted for the Buckeye (chocolate and peanut butter) with The Milkiest Chocolate, but I also sampled Goat Cheese & Cherry, Whiskey & Pecan, Dark Chocolate, and Brown Butter Almond Brittle. Jeni’s has several locations around the U.S. but they are always a solid choice for creamy, rich ice cream.

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After all this food indulging, we walked the completed section of the Beltline from Krog to Piedmont Park. It was a beautiful day outside and a great way to end another fun weekend in Atlanta! Can’t wait for my next trip to check even more restaurants off the list.

Want to know what else is on my Atlanta list? Here are some of my must-trys (those with strike-throughs have been visited since the time I first posted this list):

  • Miller Union
  • Empire State South
  • JCT Kitchen
  • Bacchanalia
  • Gun Show
  • King + Duke (read post here)
  • The Ladybird
  • South City Kitchen
  • Lusca
  • Cakes & Ale
  • One Eared Stag
  • BoccaLupo
  • Le Fat
  • St. Cecilia