Originally posted on September 26, 2014
After several press releases about chef Calvin Phan’s innovative Asian fusion cuisine at Poor Calvin’s, I finally paid a visit to his restaurant at the invitation of his PR company, Green Olive Media. My neighbor LG joined me for an enlightening dinner.
Natives of Thailand, Phan’s family owned and operated several restaurants in Germany, where he went to culinary school. His sense of adventure took him on his own culinary journey which finally lead to Poor Calvin’s.
There, Phan executes Thai dishes with flair, yet offers several plates that sound decidedly Southern. Fried organic chicken with lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and greens, for example.
LG and I were happy to discover the restaurant was nearby and offered parking. I chose a table on the screened-in patio and started with cocktails. My drink was made with pressed jalapeno, mango nectar and mango infused vodka. It wasn’t nearly as sweet as it sounds, but it did have a nice hint of heat. LG ordered a special concoction of watermelon gin, mint and unfiltered sake. Our fantastic server, Asian Mac (there are two Macs, one of which is not Asian) brought out an interesting little dish of fried green olives with mustard cream to whet our appetites.
So many dishes were appealing…duck breast, red curry grouper, and a Thai surf and turf special that included lobster and steak. We decided on mussels in a creamy lemongrass broth with fresh cilantro, using crusty grilled bread to finish the fragrant broth.
A neighboring table received a dish artfully presented in half a pineapple. Impressive, we thought, but delicious? We would try it; fried rice and jumbo shrimp, tossed with shredded cabbage, cashews, and raisins, created an amazing array of textures and flavors. The handful of cilantro on top made my day. We ordered another round of the tasty, although not very strong, cocktails.
We also ordered the seared scallop toban yaki, a delicate dish both in flavor and presentation. Scallops are sauteed with shiitake mushrooms, peppers, and broccolini sprouts in a mirin glaze, then decorated with thinly sliced fresh radish and cilantro. Our favorite thing about this dish was the addictive sauce served alongside for dipping.
The next time I have a craving for Thai food, I will return to Poor Calvin’s, and who knows, perhaps I’ll be tempted to try the foie gras with pop rocks.
510 Piedmont Avenue 404-254-4051