Thursday, October 09, 2008

Highlight #100: A southern gem - Restaurant: Dogwood

A southern restaurant with a name like Dogwood simply cannot not serve grits. But rather than doing it grudgingly, Dogwood had decided to take this requirement to new heights by putting the humble grits on a pedestal. From the Dogwood grits bar, one could order at least three dressed grits and a today's special. On the day we went for a birthday lunch, the choices included braised mushrooms, butter poached lobster, ham and pimento cheese, and a special of Logan Turnpike "Fools Gold." As you can see, we chose the lobster. While the lobster chunk was tiny, the grits was not, and it was fabulous. Made from a much larger grain than what is normally found around town, this glamorized version tasted almost like mac and cheese with a grainier texture. Lovely stuff. Maybe the restaurant can work on a bit more lobster?

I was in the mood for one of my favorite things, the scallops, so ordered the pan seared dayboat scallops on dirty rice cake with a chicken and oyster gumbo sauce. I am not going to get all technical about the usage of "dayboat," but let's just say that whether or not they qualify as the dayboat variety, they are of a rather small specie. What the scallops lacked in stature, the dirty rice cake and gumbo sauce made up in flavor. Specifically, the dirty rice cake was slightly crunchy on the outside and amply spiced within. And the dirty rice cake was boasted even further in umami quotient by the thickish gumbo sauce full of shredded chicken. This was a satisfying, but light lunch option for dainty ladies as I imagine most men will need a second portion.

Or said men can get the buttermilk fried springer mountain chicken breast, baked mac & cheese, and braised greens. Birthday girl K got this without much hesitation. Unlike my usual self, I didn't ask for a taste. After all, it was a work lunch and I was treating. I fought against my fork dying for a mouthful and tried to stay somewhat professional. Darn, that chicken looked good. So did the mac...

We can't have a birthday lunch without desserts, so I convinced everyone to share two, the maple cheesecake and blackberry chocolate cornbread upside down cake with coffee gelato. The cheesecake, to my delight, was more cake than cheese. Considering that I prefer a more textured cake, this was right up my alley without sacrificing any moistness. However, the maple flavor could not be detected under the rather assertive apple cranberry compote...

The cornbread upside down cake, on the other hand, was more about the blackberries and chocolate than the cornbread cake. Regardless, it was taken to a higher place by the coffee gelato that was pure decadence with its cream content, which was closer to a high butterfat ice cream than the leaner gelato. Such technicalities aside, this was lovely stuff perfect for lunch.

565 Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

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