Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Jay Swift’s eponymous restaurant, located in a renovated factory on an otherwise barren stretch of North Avenue, has earned its reputation as one of Atlanta’s best. Well-crafted dishes made with locally sourced ingredients showcase his attention to detail and define his kitchen prowess.
A recent visit with another couple proved, once again, that Swift has a winning formula. It was a blustery Winter’s evening so I was thrilled that the valet is located at the bottom of the stairs leading to the restaurant’s door. Shockingly, TH and her man D were already seated awaiting our arrival.
We joined them and ordered some drinks, a tequila cocktail for him and a glass of prosecco for me. LC took charge and decided we would share three appetizers, including the seared pork belly. I pushed for the octopus despite some looks of concern, and the nearly famous Brussels sprouts which everyone was excited to try.
Three oblong plates arrived and four forks went to work, first a taste of tender octopus, then a bite of Brussels sprouts. A zippy citrus note challenged the smokiness of the wood-grilled Spanish octopus, accompanied by charred pearl onions and fresh arugula on a puree of salsify with red wine. The menu specifies how each ingredient is prepared, making it sound complicated, however, the result is simple…and simply delicious.
Swift’s Brussels sprouts, featured on a recent episode of Atlanta Eats, are roasted and served with sliced North Georgia apples, then dotted with creme fraiche and sprinkled with toasted pistachios, the bitterness of the vegetable cut by a drizzle of sweet apple cider reduction. Of course, that’s how everybody makes them, right? Not even a leaf of a sprout remained.
Chunks of pork belly, the cut of pork from which bacon is made, were interestingly paired with miniature sweet potato muffins….an homage to Southern ingredients. Shaved watermelon radish added color and crunch.
Our friends didn’t come hungry so they were happy with only appetizers. Although I usually decide on a shared entree, LC had zeroed in on the Wagyu flank steak with patatas bravas, charred scallions, sauteed greens, and black garlic jus. As if we didn’t have enough, we ordered an additional side of Brussels sprouts (as opposed to the appetizer version described above), a generous bowl drizzled with creme fraiche. Perfectly cooked to medium, the steak was awesome but nevertheless, I would have chosen the duck breast.
I rarely skip dessert and this occassion was no exception. Unable to decide on one, LC was convinced our companions would help us eat them so we ordered two, the sticky toffee pudding and pear crostada. Flavored with butterscotch, the dense pudding was traditional English comfort food.
My preference, however, was the rustic crostada, simply made by wrapping the fruit with pastry crust and baking. Both desserts were finished with a generous scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream.
Service was seamless and our meal was the epitome of modern comfort food. If you are planning a visit, make sure to go while the Brussels sprouts are in season!
621 North Avenue NE 678-904-0160