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John Kessler Awards Southern Art One Star

Dessert display at Southern Art and Bourbon Bar
Dessert display at Southern Art and Bourbon Bar
Justin Phillips/4squarephotos

John Kessler, lead dining critic for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reviews Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, which replaced Au Pied de Cochon at the InterContinental Buckhead this October. Kessler writes that what defines Southern Art is a "funny juxtaposition of grandiosity and just-folks hominess." He mentions the difficulty of the hotel restaurant, aiming to please both locals and guests, and sums up the resulting experience:

"Southern Art tries. Smith has designed a clever menu, and his executive chef, Anthony Gray, imbues it with flashes of heartfelt regional character. But the cavernous space echoes with lobby noise, the service feels geared to tourists, and the food can seem overly designed, without the real farm freshness and soul you want from it. It’s a “Southern restaurant” the way Au Pied de Cochon was a “French restaurant,” with air quotes looming large."
He goes on to highlight hits (well-executed cocktails, meats, ham) and misses (seafood, garnishes, bread), but recommends diners choose the spot for lunch or small plates and cocktails. For dessert, he concludes:
"An incredibly dense buttermilk chocolate number caked in ganache frosting and an ultra-nutty bourbon pecan pie have their sugar-fiend thrills if not much soul. But that 12-layer red velvet cake—startling and satisfying—gets right to the heart of this restaurant’s nascent identity: gorgeous, clever, “Southern.”

In Creative Loafing, dining editor and restaurant critic Besha Rodell reviews HD1, saying that "Richard Blais brings cheap fun to Poncey-Highland." She finds quick service with runners who bring "delightful" food, but laments the lack of full-service (a lonely, fast dining experience that makes ordering dessert or another drink difficult). That said, she'll come back for the fun wieners:

"My favorites include the fennel sausage with grilled radicchio, ketchup and fontina, which delivers an amalgamation of prickly Italian flavors, bitter and sweet and meaty, and the merguez, a dusky lamb sausage with currants, minted cucumber relish and yogurt. The bouncy red haute dog is topped with Vidalia onions, pepper jack foam, and chili that rides the proper line between slutty and upscale. The pleasure in this place falls squarely in that precarious realm, the balance between astute cooking and unabashed entertainment."

Also at Creative Loafing, Cliff Bostock visits Bell Street Burritos new location and can't wait to return. Wrapping things up at the C.L., Brad Kaplan stops by Cypress Street Pint & Plate. At The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Townsend takes a First Look at Carbonara Trattoria and Gene Lee visits Quan Ba 9.

Foodie Buddha checks out Bell Street Burritos, as does Eat It, Atlanta. ATL Food Snob travels to The National in Athens.

Southern Art and Bourbon Bar

3315 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326