The Move: Three dishes to seek out in June from Atlanta restaurants

Scallop étouffée garnished with delicate Carolina Gold rice crisps, green onions, and parsley. (Photo by Beth McKibben/Bread and Butterfly)

The Move is your monthly guide to the top food finds from Senior Editor Beth McKibben, who oversees restaurant and dining coverage at Rough Draft.Subscribe to our dining newsletter Side Dish for the latest restaurant intel and scoops and to be the first to know where she’s been eating around Atlanta. Side Dish drops every Thursday at noon, just in time for lunch.

Bread and Butterfly
290 Elizabeth Street, Inman Park

Eight years after opening his French-inspired cafe Bread and Butterfly in Inman Quarter, Chef Billy Allin turned over ownership last year to Brandon Blanchard and Chef Demetrius Brown of Afro-Caribbean pop-up Heritage Supper Club. Having attended past pop-ups, I was already an admirer of Brown and his mission to highlight the food and ingredients of the African diaspora.

Brown and Blanchard have kept most of Allin’s breakfast and lunch menu intact, save a few new dishes sprinkled in here and there. But dinner is where Brown shines.

Like Heritage Supper Club, dinner spotlights French cuisine and cooking techniques seen through the lens of the American South and African nations like Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Caribbean countries like Haiti and Jamaica. Brown’s family hails from Trinidad.

On a recent visit I started with feathery soft plantain buns served with Georgia cane syrup-infused butter. I can’t speak highly enough about the potato salad – a herby mixture of Yukon Gold potatoes, beets, peppers, and peas. I was most impressed with the scallop étouffée. Savory roux gently pools around three tender scallop medallions garnished with delicate Carolina Gold rice crisps, green onions, and parsley.

On past visits, I’ve also enjoyed the djon-djon, commonly found in northern Haiti and comprised of rice, peas, and black mushrooms. Brown uses both local and Haitian mushrooms in his djon-djon. The Haitian patty is another must, filled with local beef and peppers spiced with tamarind.

Wine is never the wrong move, but don’t skip cocktails like the “Palazzo Spritz” made with Amaro Montenegro, Bual Madeira, and tonic water. Try the “Express Yourself” with oaked zero-proof rum, espresso, and a touch of maple for a great nonalcoholic take on the espresso martini.

Tacos Al Pastor in Brookhaven specializes in its namesake taco. (Photo by Beth McKibben)

Tacos Al Pastor
2146 Johnson Ferry Road, Brookhaven

What started as a pop-up in 2020 opened as Tacos Al Pastor restaurant in Brookhaven last fall. Located between Moon Indian Cuisine and Hovan Mediterranean Gourmet, the meat-packed spit (or trompo) of tender rotisserie pork (al pastor) spins slowly behind the counter ready for slicing.

If the spit reminds you of shawarma, it should. That’s the origin behind al pastor. Lebanese immigrants brought shawarma to Puebla, Mexico, in the 1930s, using the spit to roast lamb. Upon ordering, meat is quickly shaved from the spit into thin slices and served hot in a pita. Lamb was eventually replaced with pork in Mexico and seasoned with achiote or adobo and chiles.

Slowly grilling for hours over an open flame, the towering hunk of pork layers forms a crispy exterior. You’ll often see a trompo of al pastor in Mexico crowned with a whole, skinned pineapple, which allows the juices to run over the pork as it marinates and caramelizes the meat. The pineapple is sliced with the pork, marrying sweet, savory, and spicy together in a taco garnished with fresh cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Although the spit at the Brookhaven restaurant isn’t topped with a pineapple, the fruit is still a key ingredient in the al pastor tacos.

I ordered two trios of tacos de al abuela (grandmother’s tacos) simply for the handmade corn tortillas. All street tacos come with a choice of grilled beef, al pastor, chicken, chorizo, birria, or lengua (beef tongue). Three of my tacos were al pastor and pineapple. The other three tacos were filled with chorizo, lengua, and birria. Be sure to load up on the house-made sauces for your tacos, ranging from mild to hot.

Mandu jeongol with tofu (dumpling hot pot). (Photo by Beth McKibben)

Bōm (Spring 2nd Branch)
36 Mill Street, Marietta

Chef Brian So opens Bōm (or Spring 2nd Branch) Korean restaurant later this year just around the corner from his Marietta restaurant, Spring. He’s offering sneak peeks at Spring through the end of July that you should put on your summer bucket list.

Every Tuesday night through July 30, So transforms the critically acclaimed fine dining restaurant into a Korean diner serving simmering hot pots, dolsot bibimbap, mandu (dumplings), and other dishes like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and naengmyeon (cold noodles). Cass Korean beer, soju, and wines by the glass are also available.

The menu features six sections: appetizers; rice and noodles; soup; hot pot; meat; bunsik (snacks); and dessert. As at most Korean restaurants, the meal begins with complimentary banchan like daikon radishes pickled in pear juice, Korean potato salad, Napa Valley kimchi, fried peanuts and anchovies, and mung bean jelly noodles. It preps your palate for what’s to come.

My table of four ordered four well-portioned dishes to share, including haemul pajeon (seafood onion pancake), jogaetang (steamed clam stew), dolsot bibimbap (crispy rice, tofu, vegetables in a stone bowl), and mandu jeongol with tofu (dumpling hot pot). While everything we ordered was excellent, I can’t stop thinking about the steamed clam stew and the hot pot. Both were outstanding.

The warm bowl of jogaetang is filled with whole clams soaking in a bath of clam and anchovy broth. Infusing the dish further are chilis, scallions, and fragrant chrysanthemum greens, bringing out the subtle salty, sweet notes of the clam meat and balancing out the dank broth.

As for the hot pot, it arrived ready for cooking at the table. The metal stew bowl was brimming with mandu, squares of soft tofu, vegetables and greens, and plump mushrooms. A flick of the switch on the burner starts to simmer the anchovy-kelp broth, gochujang-based chili sauce, and a scoop of fresh minced garlic, slowly cooking the mandu, tofu, and vegetables. Once the hot pot finishes cooking, you ladle over glutinous rice. The burst of spicy, savory, and funky flavors meld together in one hell of a comforting dish I can’t wait to eat again.

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