Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it: Empire State South

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Strangely enough, it took going to Atlanta for me to experience a Hugh Acheson restaurant at night. I’ve eaten at the Athens-based chef’s The National for lunch (someday I may actually post a photo of the pizzette – a perfectly bright salad-on-a-pizza). I’ve walked by the Five & Ten more than I can remember (mostly on the way to the Royal Peasant, but that’s another post as well). But a conference in Atlanta that didn’t serve dinner plus a few foodie friends drove me to Empire State South this past Friday night.

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It was amazing – from the bread and honey butter to start off with to the spicy ginger phatty cakes. The only downer was a drink my friend and I ordered that was a wee bitter for our sugar-loving taste buds. Our waiter (who was oh-so-nice and patient) solved the problem with this:

Image That is a Pimm’s Cup. I first heard of it on the blog Eating for England, and I’ve wanted to try one ever since. Empire State South mixes theirs with spicy ginger ale. And they’re totally healthy: That green thing poking out of the top is a long slice of cucumber. 😉

I decided to go with a vegetarian entree (which was more affordable), so that I could also get what is called a first course. The farm egg made me realize eggs were probably created to be soft boiled, not hard boiled.

ImageI’m not sure if you can tell from the photo, but that egg is pretty jiggly. It breaks open and creates this amazing egg sauce for the rest of the dish, which was spicy lamb sausage, crisp carolina gold rice, shitake mushroom, dandelion and sunchoke. I could eat it every day. It was that good – not too filling, not too heavy, just a little bit weird.

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Dinner was English pea ravioli with goat cheese, beech mushroom, young Vidalia onions, baby spinach and benne (sesame) brittle. I love Vidalias. I’m so glad it’s one of the delicious foods Georgia can claim.

ImageI worked at a company that sold benne wafers (Byrd Cookie Company) when I lived in Savannah. The benne brittle reminded me of those times. The pea ravioli disappeared at a perfect pace – plenty to chew on, but not enough to leave me feeling sluggish. I think that was another favorite about this meal and this restaurant.

My mouth was so happy we made this choice of a restaurant. And I think it’s time J and I check out the National.

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4 thoughts on “Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it: Empire State South

  1. Steph, it is amazing but that is exactly what I grew up with. Your grandma could turn those things out like nobody else. How I miss that gourmet cooking!

      • I wish I had been old enough to remember the biscuits. My most vivid food memory of Granddaddy and Grandma were one of them telling me to eat my grits, that they would make my teeth white. 🙂 That and my first Mountain Dew from Granddad.

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