Ethiopian-born Swedish-American star chef Marcus Samuelsson, the culinary talent behind NYC’s Red Rooster Harlem and a judge on hits such as “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” has opened his first restaurant in Atlanta, Marcus Bar & Grille (marcusbarandgrille.com) in Old Fourth Ward.
During the opening process, he spent plenty of time in town honing his menu that includes soon-to-be favorites such as Old Bay lump crab cakes and shrimp and cheddar grits with chorizo gumbo. “I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the Atlanta community so much thus far, and I’m definitely still learning,” he says. “Here are a few places I’m loving right now.”
“Toast on Lenox (toastonlenoxatl.com) is such a fun concept,” Samuelsson says. “Who knew you could have brunch every day? Atlanta knew!” When you visit, order the lobster sweet potato waffle. Always a fan of supporting black-owned restaurants, the chef loves Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours (twistedsoulatl.com) by Chef Deborah VanTrece, which Samuelsson calls “an Atlanta favorite soul food restaurant.” There, he suggests the S.F. (“Southern fried”) Carolina Jezebel wings served with sage blue cheese, and bayou prawns with a scallion grit cake and lemon-Creole gravy.
Desta Ethiopian Kitchen (destaethiopiankitchen.com), he says is “delicious and authentic,” and “Desta gets it right.” That’s high praise from someone who knows Ethiopian food. His recommendation: dinech wot, the potato stew with berbere, onions, garlic and other spices (bonus: it’s vegan!). When on the hunt for a special bottle or mixology tool, Samuelsson heads to Holeman & Finch Bottle Shop (hfbottleshop.com). “It is a beautiful neighborhood package store from Linton Hopkins, with the best selection of wines, spirits and bar tools.”
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