Named for former Atlanta mayor Livingston Mims (OK, I’m not a history buff but I never heard of this guy, however, he sounds like he was a partier back in his day!), this place has everything going for it. Located at the gorgeously restored Georgian Terrace, the setting is subdued elegance. With a view of the Fox Theater and the busy corner of Peachtree and Ponce, it is the quintessential landmark dining experience.
The chef is Gary Mennie who spent ten years at Canoe then opened Taurus to much initial success. But Atlanta sprouts new, hot restaurants seemingly every week, even in this economy, so it’s hard to sustain the hotness. He gave it quite a go!
The Georgian Terrace hosted Harvest Midtown on Sunday, the annual food and wine fair sponsored by Barrelman, the wine store connected to Eno. So, naturally Eli Kirshtein, Eno chef and current Top Chef contestant, was there, as was Hector Santiago from Pura Vida, who Padma already asked to “pack his knives and go”. I gushed to him briefly about his duck maduros and my love affair with his establishment. Keep in mind this was after 3 hours of wine tasting (and no, for $45 I do not spit it out for God’s sake!)
B was my companion for Harvest Midtown. We have found ourselves at Livingston on many occasions, drinking, dining, requesting the to-die-for short rib ravioli at midnight! (John, the manager, made it happen). Yes, we are regulars. We ran into chef Mennie’s awesome sous chef Zeb Stevenson repeatedly, finally introducing us to Mennie as we sipped our last glasses of wine on the terrace.
The menu here focuses on local produce and proteins, the trend du jour, although one surely can’t complain about farm fresh veggies and supporting local farmers. My family had a small farm every summer and I picked okra, squash, corn. Me and my Mom canned green beans. Vegetables had flavor, and that’s what you’ll find at places like Livingston and Abattoir.
The short rib ravioli appetizer here is delectable. Filled with savory meat the ravioli rest in a bit of broth with sweet notes from acacia honey and a hint of horseradish, creating the perfect balance and making this dish one of my favorites in town. (The most amazing thing about this post is that I don’t have a photo of the ravioli….ridiculous!) Duck croquettes are tasty as well, set upon dollops of pureed sweet potato.
On one visit we split the rabbit and a side of brussels sprouts served in the cutest little individual saucepan. Both of us already had some prosecco and a couple of glasses of A to Z pinot noir so I can’t recall the exact preparation of the rabbit but I do remember we enjoyed it. B has had the veal with cauliflower gratin, I have tried the pork with Vidalia tart and peach mustarda which was short on delivering the sweet/savory combination that I craved. Didn’t care for the chopped salad that everyone raves about or the lemony grits. Another salad with arugula and pecorino was simple and satisfying.
The desserts have been quite good, however, the best came at Harvest Midtown where we met the adorable pastry chef Derrick. His apple crumble was the best bite of the show and will hopefully be on the Fall menu!
Zeb promised a seared foie gras on the new Fall menu as well….you know I’ll be back for that!