The Loews Atlanta in Midtown did a fantastic job of hosting this year’s Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. I met the hotel’s manager after he made the official champagne toast to open the event. Standing next to him was Olivier Gaupin, the chef of newly opened Saltwood, the hotel’s restaurant that specializes in charcuterie and small shareable plates.
A few days later I was invited to a complimentary dinner there. LC joined me to sample our way through Gaupin’s meaty menu.
The main dining room is reminiscent of a vintage schoolroom with a chalkboard wall featuring a variety of charcuterie and a diagram of a pig divided into cuts of meat. Mix-and-match chairs of wood, metal, and leather meet rustic wood tables set on jagged stone floors completing the studious ambiance. Tiny bright green pompom flowers add a pop of color.
We started with refreshing drinks, a glass of Domaine Chandon Brut for me and a Mongolian Mule for LC, made with Hangar One kaffir lime, Reed’s Raspberry Ginger Brew, and fresh lime. An order of salty olives matched nicely with tangy pickled grapes and crunchy fried chickpeas from the “Bites” section of the menu.
Two local cheeses and two items from the charcuterie list were artfully arranged on a thick wooden board. Diablo, an aged goat cheese with a dusting of chipotle powder from CalyRoad Creamery, was smooth and fiery. The sweet and savory pairing of Thomasville Tomme, an aged cow’s milk cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy, with honey was classic. House made blueberry jam and H & F walnut raisin bread accompanied the cheeses.
Gaupin’s French heritage was evident in his rich country pate’ and foie gras pate’ rolled up with decadent black truffle puree, served with a trio of mustards and pickled asparagus. Chef also prepares duck sausage, rabbit terrine, and a 5 spice rillette in house and sources artisan salami and duck prosciutto from local purveyor The Spotted Trotter.
Aside from charcuterie and local cheeses, the menu at Saltwood offers an interesting collection of starters along with a couple of noodle dishes and healthier options. From the “Healthy” section we chose the wild mushroom tartine, a ramekin of earthy sauteed enoki and chanterelle mushrooms served with roasted elephant garlic and grilled sourdough drizzled with fragrant basil oil.
Of the starters we tried two seafood dishes, the Finisterre (Spanish) octopus and Gulf Coast crudo. Charred and chopped, the octopus was served on a lovely arugula salad dressed with pear and poppy vinaigrette, punctuated by crumbles of salty chorizo and crunchy candied pistachios.
The crudo plate was comprised of thinly sliced cobia, a mild white fish, and pickled rock shrimp accompanied by dill yogurt, smoked oyster aioli, and yuzu juice. Baby red peppers popped with color and flavor. Our final savory dish was the tagliatelle with braised veal cheek and glazed cipollinis. The substantial portion of al dente pasta was terrific with the fork-tender meat in a rich port mushroom reduction.
We ended our meal with a Snickers Stick, a complex dessert with chewy sticks of malted fudge, creamy peanut nougat, peanut crisps, and caramel ice cream. Each component was delicious separately, but when eaten together tasted like its namesake candy bar.
1065 Peachtree Street NE 404-745-5000