Already a partner in successful ventures like Seven Lamps and Grain, chef Drew Van Leuvan has now opened his latest concept, Tavernpointe. Focusing on comfort food prepared with seasonal ingredients, the menu boasts pub-style snacks and rustic entrees featuring smoked meats. I was invited to a complimentary dinner there where LC and I ate pretty much everything.
The space was hardly recognizable as the former LPC location. Thick wood tables and repurposed brick convey a warm, inviting atmosphere. LC and I settled into a cozy wood booth where we started with cocktails; Time Invested made with tequila, Creme de Poire, Aperol, lemon, green tea, and celery bitters for LC and a Gin Gin Mule for me.
It was late and we were hungry (a dangerous combination) prompting an immediate order of deviled eggs decorated with radish and delicate chards of crisped beef which disappeared quickly. I insisted on trying the smoked white chicken chili, but somehow missed that it is topped with Fritos, which I simply detest. However, once de-Fritoed, the substantial bowl was a hearty stew with toothsome boiled peanuts instead of beans and a spicy salsa verde.
Still hungry, we chose two more appetizers, two entrees, and two sides. Everything came out at once, an overwhelming assortment of rich Southern-inspired plates. Silver queen corn tortellini was subtly sweet, paired with chanterelle mushrooms and feta cheese. The addition of local blueberries did little to compliment the dish. We barely made a dent in the wings served with a charred jalapeno dressing.
Main plates at Tavernpointe are generous, served with their own accompaniments, making me wonder why there are so many mouth-watering sides offered for sharing. For example, the smoked pork tenderloin was awkwardly paired with a chunky squash and red pepper chutney and pickled fennel. Our selection of Southern collard greens seemed like a better choice to share the plate with the pork.
I’ve eaten duck many ways, from roasted to confit, so I was excited to try the smoked duck breast. Presented on a corn husk with a duck confit tamale (that LC devoured), the duck was tender and especially tasty swiped through the hot vinaigrette. It was paired with summer squash “relish” with chunks much too large to be described as such. Given its Southwestern-inspired presentation, perhaps the creamed corn with lime and cilantro might have worked better with this dish.
And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite, macaroni and cheese, an enormous decadent dish, individually baked with smoked cheddar and jack cheeses. For its $10 pricetag, it could easily serve four or five. It, along with most of the pork, chicken chili, and collard greens went home with us so we would have room for dessert. After all, it was LC’s birthday.
We chose the trio of housemade ice creams; bourbon, brown butter, and sour cream. Served with Van Leuvan’s signature macaroons, the flavors were magical when eaten together. Crumbled cookies in the bottom of the dish were a wonderful, crunchy treat.
I imagine Tavernpointe will be a popular after-work spot for cocktails, if it isn’t already, given the number of offices nearby. Each dish of our feast demonstrated Van Leuvan’s ability to make earthy comfort food, with a few surprises.
1545 Peachtree Street 404-549-3954