Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy 2nd Anniversary! Restaurant: Repast

While everyone is out celebrating love this Valentine's day, Repast, my favorite neighborhood restaurant is simultaneously celebrating its 2nd anniversary. My calling Repast a neighborhood restaurant may be inaccurate considering that it has garnered numerous favorable reviews in both local and national prints. More recently, the kitchen has also housed one of the new Top Chef contestants. I call it a neighborhood restaurant only because, well, it is located in my neighborhood, in the next building from my loft to be exact, and because Joe, the ever present half of the husband and wife team, never fails to make me feel at home.

Neighborhood or not, the food at Repast is consistently good. My friend J had long ago crowned the pork belly scallop preparation shown above the best that she has ever tasted. A half portion of this generous dish is shown in the photo. You know a restaurant is special when the server goes out of his way to separately plate a split portion without having been asked.

Taste wise, this dish is awesome in a number of ways. First, it has pork belly. That fact alone is enough to make me drool. :) The fatty rendering from the caramelized pork belly provided an excellent coating for the lean scallops. In my opinion, the scallops really benefited from the glistening fat coating because, in combination with the tender scallop flesh, the whole fat coated package took on a mouth feel shockingly similar to that of creamy lard. And yes, having grown up with a Chinese grandmother who loves to render her own lard, I do know what creamy lard feels like in the mouth. :) What's also excellent are the accompanying shiitake mushrooms, which provided a deep flavor and chew that contracted well with the scallops. If I am not wrong, the mushrooms were cooked in soy souse from their dried form. My mother uses this trick to coax flavors out of dried shiitakes in hotpots while preserving their shape and chew during long stewing. Perhaps the Japanese half of the husband and wife team contributed to this aspect of the dish. For the health conscious, there were also a few baby carrots that added some color. All in all, this was a perfect dish for those near freezing days we've been having.

620 Glen Iris Drive
Atlanta, GA 30308

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