When I first heard that Chef Mark Taft was opening a new farm-to-table restaurant in Marietta, I was immediately interested. You may recall that one of my biggest complaints about moving OTP was the fact that I would be increasing my commute to so many fabulous restaurants. Then, my attitude changed once I was introduced to unique eateries like L'Thai and Botekim (more on them later). I began to hope that Atlanta's culinary culture would expand to its suburbs, and I had high hopes that Chef Taft's Chicken and the Egg would join the ranks of this developing suburban foodie scene.
Then, I learned that the "modern farmstead fare" Chicken and the Egg planned to serve meant comfort food. So wait, you're telling me that a restaurant is opening up in my backyard and it's not only going to serve local, ethical, sustainable food, but it's going to be SOUTHERN food at that?!
You'd think that my excitement would completely eclipse any power I had to remain objective, but it was quite the opposite; my expectations were lofty, and I was worried disappointment was inevitable.
I was absolutely thrilled when I was invited to dine at the new West Cobb restaurant. The decor was so inviting - modern, indeed, and paying homage to the Craftsman-style homes that grace many of West Cobb's neighborhoods.
Before I talk about the food, let me just say how impressive it is to me to see a restaurant with good design and branding. I'm a sucker for aesthetics and I have an eye for detail, but I've found that even people who don't feel that way still embrace a restaurant that looks put together. I don't have a lot of confidence in what I'm about to eat when the first thing I notice in a restaurant is disjointed decor. Modern glass fixtures, rustic wrought iron, global art - what does it all mean?! Those are the restaurants that serve pizza and sushi and tapas and whatever's trendy just so they can mark it up (not to mention any names). Chicken and the Egg's appearance told me that they knew who they were and what they were doing.
Not only was their decor consistent, their menu was a beautiful piece of typography. The font and paper choices were perfect, as they conveyed a classy but approachable vibe. This theme carried through to their website, right down to their "under construction" icon.
Okay, okay, on to the food.
We started with some beautifully crafted cocktails. I had the Debutante Ball, a gin cocktail with hibiscus and white balsamic syrup, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper, and rhubarb foam. It was smooth and not too sweet. My husband had the South of the Border. It had tequila, vodka, watermelon juice, cilantro agave syrup, and cilantro and basil chiffonade. The cool combination of the watermelon with the herbs made it much more refreshing than a standard margarita.
We had some cornbread minimuffins before ordering our appetizer. The muffins were served with a really interesting butter. I think it was made with molasses instead of honey, and it had the consistency of whipped peanut butter. I must learn how to make this at home so I can put it on everything.
As an appetizer, we ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes, which were served with pimento cheese, shaved ham, and tomato jam. My only complaint? They're better than mine.
My husband ordered the Short Ribs for dinner, which came with baby carrots drizzled in Tupelo honey. No knife required; this piece of meat fell apart.
The entrée also came with gouda au gratin potatoes, served in an individual cast iron casserole. I think this photo is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to how creamy delicious these spuds were.
There was so much on the menu that sounded so interesting, but I figured "when in Rome." It was my first time visiting this restaurant - may as well go with a classic.
My fried chicken was served with collard greens and macaroni and cheese. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to these Southern staples, and these sides were classically brilliant.
I wish I had videoed the first cut of the chicken breast with my knife. The crunch of the crispy skin was just to die for.
Even though the portions weren't obnoxiously huge (as they are in many Southern restaurants), I didn't think I had anymore room for dessert. Then, I saw the menu and was just too curious about the banana pudding not to try it.
As you can see, the pudding was served in a mason jar (perfect!) and was layered like a trifle. A caramelized biased banana slice rested on top (it tasted like a toasted marshmallow), followed by a layer of fresh whipped cream. Next, we had some absolutely incredible banana pudding. It sure puts any Jell-O brand recipe to shame! (No offense, Jell-O. You make my desserts very convenient at times and I love you for it.) At the very bottom were some bourbon-soaked vanilla wafers. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Not only did Chicken and the Egg meet my expectations, it exceeded them. The decor, the food, the service, just the overall theme of Southern hospitality...all I can say is thank you. Thank you for bringing such a treat outside the perimeter. You just made it a lot easier for me to move to our new house in three weeks. I guess I'll start packing!
Oh, and one more thing: the title bar on the kids' section of the menu is labeled "for the peeps." For the PEEPS! If that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.
Disclaimer: Chicken and the Egg offered me a complimentary meal in return for editorial consideration, but everything in this review is my own unbiased opinion.