As the holiday season comes to a close, we can’t help but to reflect back on all the over-the-top and exceedingly delicious meals we experienced. Sometimes, it’s a simple food with a tinge of nostalgia that takes the top spot, whereas a gourmet delicacy may surpass even the most memorable comfort food. Atlanta Eats staff shares their most memorable dishes of the year with hopes that 2016’s plates are even more exceptional and outlandishly amazing.
Steak Shapiro- Host of The Front Row on 680 The Fan, Food Network personality, founder of Atlanta Eats, digs filet at Hal’s, Matty Ice, Reuben Sandwiches and the Red Zone Channel
Best Dish 2015: Fried Oysters & Filet from Hal’s On Old Ivy
This meal of my top Hal’s dishes took place Thanksgiving weekend when I took my brother from out of town to Hal’s for his first visit. We had the fried oysters and then of course the world’s juiciest filet mignon with a side of the pasta in the pink sauce which combines the Alfredo sauce and the marinara sauce into this almost perfect vodka sauce as a great accompaniment with the meat. It was the quintessential Atlanta dining experience.
Mara Davis- Radio personality, emcee, brand ambassador and one of the most well known media mavens in Atlanta. Davis is currently the co-host of Atlanta Eats, a TV show all about dining in Atlanta. She is also the host of Atlanta Eats radio, a weekly talk show about the Atlanta food scene. Davis is also a music contributor for Atlanta’s NPR-WABE-FM.
Best Dish 2015: Chicken Liver Mousse from Kimball House
It’s almost impossible to pick only one, but if I must it would be from Decatur’s spectacular Kimball House. They’re known for oysters but I’m wild about the chicken liver mousse. It’s creamy, decadent and pairs perfectly with warm fresh sourdough bread. Crispy on the outside, mushy on the inside with a dollop of rich chicken liver. The infused flavor of the apple butter and blueberry makes it a true stand out. Pair this with one of their world class cocktails and it’s perfection every time. I could eat this starter for my entire meal.
Cody Hicks- One of the founders of Atlanta Eats and self proclaimed “Chief Brisket Officer”. Cody loves to eat, and when it comes to food, there isn’t much he doesn’t enjoy (except olives). For Cody, being “at the table” is where real community and conversation happens and he feels that food, more than anything else, brings people together in today’s world.
Best Dish 2015: Lobster Toban Yaki from Umi
Ok, confession…I’ve alway’s likened high-end sushi to high-end wine, in that I did not think I had the ability to appreciate the distinction from it’s more moderately priced competitors. Well, the dining experience that is UMI changed all that for me- their LOBSTER TOBAN YAKI takes my “Best Dish Of The Year” award. This lobster dish of awesomeness comes served on a mini ceramic grill at your table with a tempura batter and cooked in soy butter sauce, and with a melt in your mouth cooked to perfection, has me dreaming about going back as I write this.
Scott Chalk- Executive Producer Atlanta Eats. He prefers Jacque Pepin over Anthony Bourdain, croissants over biscuits and a whole lotta bourbon. When he’s not working he can be found teaching his son the finer points of baseball while simultaneously jammin’ to Bob Marley.
Best Dish 2015: Veal Cheek appetizer from Cooks & Soldiers
Chef Landon and his team put out amazing and inspired Basque dishes but remain playful in their presentation. The veal cheek appetizer (pictured with mashed, a pea puree and carrot) was the first dish I ever ate at the restaurant and remains my favorite. I mean, you know what they say, you never forget your first! Kudos to Fred and his entire Castellucci group for putting out my favorite dish of 2015.
Kyle Korelishn- An incessantly hungry 28 year old who dines out roughly 6 nights a week, occasionally runs in Piedmont Park, and appreciates a well thought out meme.
Best Dish 2015: Sake Salmon Nigiri from MF Sushi
Maybe 2015 was the year of salmon for me since I couldn’t seem to get enough- my best dish had to be the MF Sushi Sake Salmon nigiri. The high level of craftsmanship in a perfectly formed rice bed underneath freshly sliced salmon, is paired with outstanding flavors of aioli, truffle soy and a dollop of caviar. (Not pictured: the other 20 pieces of Sake I ate).
Skye Estroff- A UGA graduate who turned “French Fry Aficionado” from a hobby into a career. She bleeds red & black and never turns down a food challenge. Count on Skye for “food porn” on Atlanta Eats’ Instagram and a fresh take on a millennial’s perspective.
Best Dish 2015: Eggs Virginia Highland from Murphy’s
You know what they say, “A picture is worth 1000 words”. Well, I am confident none of those 1000 words from my best dish picture accurately describes the complexities and overblown flavors of the foccacia eggs Benedict at Murphy’s. I feel like this dish was made just for me as it provides an upgraded flavor to each part of my palate. Poached eggs sit on top of spinach, mushrooms and foccacia and are smothered with sun-dried tomato hollandaise. This also comes with an unlimited amount of fresh baked muffins. The only downfall to this dish… you are too full to have more than one order.
Jon Teplow- A marketing veteran that has eaten his way from New Orleans to Boston and back to Atlanta. Jon’s diverse pallet & increasing waistline are particularly fond of Asian cuisine & is a sucker for fried chicken.
Best Dish 2015: San Gennaro Pizza from Antico
I know it may be considered cliché, but there’s nothing better than the San Gennaro fresh out of the oven…extra marinara on the side. This is the PERFECT combination of tangy, spicy, fatty goodness all cooked to perfection in their magic ovens!
Amy Koonin-When she’s not in her own kitchen, Amy is always cookin’ up content in ours. Amy loves the Atlanta Hawks and has never met a Bolognese she didn’t like. She is a 25 year old Justin Bieber superfan and she’s proud of it.
Best Dish 2015: Short Rib Slider from Ormsby’s
This one is essentially a no-brainer. The BEST thing I had to eat in 2015 was the short rib slider on a pretzel bun that chef Scotley Innis from Ormsby’s made for the Atlanta Eats Primetime Special at the College Football Hall of Fame. The short rib was fall-apart tender, the glaze was savory and intoxicating, and the pickled red onion brought it all together. I’m just lucky I didn’t get in trouble for sneaking pieces of short rib to eat before we finished shooting; it was definitely worth the risk.
Want more food inspiration? Check out more spots around Atlanta here. Be sure to catch Atlanta Eats on Peachtree TV every Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 10:30am!