I have an aversion to meetings….sales meetings, strategy meetings, meetings to decide when to have more meetings. But I love lunch meetings. Food opens the door to discussion, to finding common ground. Lunch meetings are productive, and sometimes downright delicious.
Although I live nearby, I’m guilty of avoiding downtown Atlanta due to my fear of parking drama, which is often unfounded. Most restaurants have valet parking, like we discovered at Peasant Bistro. LC and I met two execs from the Georgia Aquarium there recently.
It was my first visit and I was immediately dazzled by the stunning space, with its sweeping staircase and delicate light fixtures suspended from the high ceiling. An abundance of windows lent a sunny atmosphere to the elegantly appointed space.
The lunch menu displays a smart selection of salads, sandwiches, and entrees, all priced at $16 or less. Fried green tomatoes make an appearance as an appetizer as well as the “T” in a gussied up BLT. Plenty of my favorite ingredients dotted the menu….bacon, avocado, caramelized onions, duck confit. Perhaps chef Michael Patria reads my blog!
Despite the array of potential deliciousness, my choice was easy: duck confit salad with goat cheese and roasted grapes, the latter calling to mind Scott Serpas’ house salad with his amazing blistered grape dressing. I chuckled as LC ordered the shrimp and grits, his cousin PC’s favorite dish. Must be a genetic thang.
The Aquarium folks both ordered…(gasp!) fish. The salmon salad, to be precise. Decorated with shoestring carrots and cucumbers and dressed with lime/ginger dressing, it likely had an Asian accent.
LC’s dish was comprised of creamy, cheesy grits with a spiced tomato cream sauce flavored with andouille sausage, topped with four enormous prawns. He allowed me one delectable bite.
Meanwhile, my salad was even better than I had envisioned. Ultra-fresh baby greens included fluffy tufts of frisee, my favorite. Chunks of confit displayed the subtle gaminess that sets duck apart from its poultry cousins. Roasted grapes popped in my mouth and provided the necessary sweet accompaniment to the rich meat. The menu didn’t specify what kind of dressing would be served but I was pleased with the citrusy vinaigrette….perhaps the same orange vinaigrette served with the roasted beet salad? It was a very impressive dish, although I would have liked a bit more of the goat cheese.
As we were leaving, a painting caught my eye. It looked like the work of Tony Hernandez. A server said the restaurant’s owner, Maureen, would know who painted it, but I certainly didn’t expect her to be there. Unaware I had inquired about the painting, and unaware I was a food writer, she was not only there, but made sure to say goodbye as we were leaving. Very impressive.
And yes, the painting was indeed by Tony Hernandez. From what’s on the walls to what’s on the plate, Maureen has great taste!
250 Park Avenue West NW 404-230-1724