My first visit to Buckhead Atlanta was for dinner at Gypsy Kitchen, one of two new restaurants from Southern Proper Hospitality, the guys that brought us The Big Ketch, Milton’s Cuisine, and Smokebelly BBQ. While the development is ripe to revitalize luxury shopping in our ritziest neighborhood, thirteen restaurants in total will be vying for visitors’ dining dollars.
From the outside, the buildings’ modern facade shines of neon and glass, but once inside Gypsy Kitchen, guests are transported to a land far away. The haunting gaze of a beautiful gypsy meets yours across the dimly lit dining room furnished in shades of teal and brown, with rich red leather booths and intricate woodwork conveying a Moroccan vibe.
Chef Randy Lewis, who is also heading up the kitchen at The Southern Gentleman next door, has developed a menu of Spanish tapas with Moroccan and Indian influences. Traditional small plates prevail, along with a selection of Spanish cheeses, cured meats, and plates meant for sharing.
A life-size bull sculpted in sheet metal commands attention in the center of the expansive bar, where bartenders mix cocktails as exotic as the cuisine. LC and I were led to our table near the enclosed patio where we ordered two drinks, the delicate Seville Rose and zingy Spice Trader.
Early reports on the confit octopus and the cauliflower salad were positive so that’s where we started. Spanish octopus is sliced diagonally lengthwise and boiled in a lard-based consomme’ before it’s finished on the grill for a charred flavor, enhanced by smoked paprika. The tender meat and cubes of roasted potato are arranged on a sublime foamed potato puree, then garnished with garlic chips and fried parsley leaves.
Like its cruciferous cousin the Brussels sprout, cauliflower has gained popularity in the last few years, finding its way onto fine dining menus all over town. Chef Lewis’ gypsy interpretation is cut into tiny florets and roasted, then tossed with smoked paprika, grated hard-boiled egg, and salty capers. It’s almost hearty enough for a vegetarian main course.
We also ordered kataifi wrapped shrimp and Spanish cigars. Succulent jumbo shrimp are stuffed with picante chorizo and fried in shredded phyllo dough, with super-crispy results. Spanish cigars are a magical combination of pungent blue cheese and salty Serrano ham, tempered by the sweetness of Medjool dates, then wrapped in phyllo dough.
We debated on which raciones, or medium-sized plate, we could share…the pan roasted pork tenderloin or the shrimp “paella” fried rice? But ultimately we decided to try a Spanish-style toast and dessert. The toast was a thick slice of grilled rustic bread topped with roasted sweet onions, melted blue cheese and honey. I think I would prefer this dish with a milder cheese, perhaps manchego. And then give me two slices.
There were two desserts that caught our eyes, a curry canoli and saffron rice pudding, but alas, both had sold out. Dismayed, I ordered a glass of cava and the dark chocolate pistachio cake, then spotted old friend GP who had recently taken a position with Southern Proper Hospitality. We chatted and he offered to take us for a sneak peak at The Southern Gentleman next door after dessert.
The painting of Twain was already complete and they were counting the days until its opening on December 2nd. Herringbone wood floors and seersucker window treatments portray that relaxed Southern vibe…I could almost taste the bourbon.
Back to dessert at Gypsy Kitchen, our server brought two since they didn’t have either of our first choices. The gooey and dense dark chocolate pistachio cake was far better than I imagined, served with rosewater chantilly cream. Spiced apple empanadas were less impressive but disappeared nonetheless.
I really appreciate the attention to detail here, from the mix-n-match ceramic plates to the vintage luggage that inspires guests to go on a culinary adventure, even if it is just one bite at a time.
3035 Peachtree Road NE 404-939-9840