November 21, 2009 at 11:10 am , by Serina Patrick
It has been a while since I’ve dined at Serpas, so I was thrilled to get a chance to go with AD, on her last night in Atlanta, accompanied by her injured dude NC.
The restaurant was packed at 8:45 on a Friday night. Modern industrial chic describes the space, with a huge mural of cotton on one wall, exposed brick on another, all cozied up with soft lighting. Chef Serpas can be seen expediting orders and chatting with customers in a non-frenzied manner.
Tuna is not my thing. However, AD loves it. Contrary to all logic, I love it at Serpas too, having tried it at the media dinner. Diced ahi, green apple, and onion are dressed with a chile sesame dressing, the perfect marriage of sweet and spicy, served with huge homemade potato chips, and a big serving of gratuitous cleavage.
A bottle of cava was well-priced so we started off with a sparkling toast to AD’s upcoming worldwide travel adventure. I will be meeting her, perhaps in Chile, so we decided to follow up the cava with a bottle of pinot noir from Cono Sur.
We also agreed on the crispy duck rolls. I’ve had them on every visit and always love them, filled with rich and flavorful pulled duck, each piece resting in a sweet and spicy chili syrup. I wish we could have had the eggplant hushpuppies and Scott’s signature oysters too, but I had to save room for the house salad and entrees, who’s descriptions define comfort food.
Chef Serpas has a knack for sauces and dressings. The Serpas house salad is a perfect example, just simple fresh field greens, candied pecans, and goat cheese, dressed with a blistered grape vinaigrette….a little sweet, a little tangy, just plain awesome!
Although chef Serpas is from Louisiana, he includes a few Asian inspired dishes, like the duck spring rolls, that are extremely successful. I’ve had the jumbo sea scallops served with bok choy on a perfectly executed panang curry.
On this visit the three of us decided to split two entrees. The duck breast, stuffed with Andouille sausage was served with an “open faced vegetable relleno”. I’m still confused about that, but I can tell you it was made with Brussels sprout leaves, chilis, mushrooms, and raisins. All sat upon a slightly sweet and savory sauce that complimented the crispy skinned duck and vegetables.
The short ribs with pappardelle reminded me and AD of the amazing dish we used to get at The Globe (R.I.P), but its presentation was entirely different. The beef was not pulled but served as a chunk atop the large paste squares with a scrumptious sauce with roasted shallots, asparagus, and sunchokes. The meat was so tender it easily fell apart as we dug in with forks, making “yum” sounds as we cleaned both plates.
Bread pudding you say? Hell yeah! I like mine not drenched in sugary sauce so I requested the bourbon cream sauce on the side. Not too sweet….just right!
I just love Serpas. Scott Serpas is a genuinely nice guy and, in my opinion, ranks among the top five chefs in Atlanta (possibly even the best?). There’s no pretense with the food, the chef, or the location. Perhaps it’s his play on sweet and spice that I love so much. Or his masterful sauces and dressings. It certainly lives up to his “True Food” name.
659 Auburn Avenue at Studioplex 404-688-0040
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