In his latest food advice column, our critic offers tips on fried oysters, baked trout, food trucks, and the city's not-too-shabby group of nationally acclaimed chefs
A. I dream of returning to Atlanta to go to Decatur—"the love child of Berkeley and Mayberry," as the wonderful food writer and now distinguished Atlanta bureau chief for The New York Times, Kim Severson, called it in a recent review of three Atlanta restaurants—to visit Watershed, one of my favorite restaurants in the country. Or so it was under Scott Peacock, whose rustic yet delicate Southern cuisine was closely modeled on that of his mentor and for a time housemate Edna Lewis, who wrote the classic (as in, truly classic, for the ages) Taste of Country Cooking. He left at the end of February, as Severson reported, and although the owner, Emily Saliers (famous as being one half of the Indigo Girls), told Severson she would be serving the same food, I'll have to go back to try the fried oysters, crawfish pies, fried okra, and baked North Georgia trout with lump crabmeat I still see on the menu. In fact, could you try them all and report, please? And maybe bring back some biscuits?
Meanwhile, the Decatur restaurant Severson recommends and that I really want to try is Cakes & Ale, which has an elegantly simple but distinctly Mediterranean cast to its menu. Downtown, in the trendy Westside neighborhood where you'll doubtless hang out, she flags the very well-publicized Miller Union, whose Southern-themed menu is clearly influenced by Lewis and Peacock—Steven Satterfield, the Georgia-born chef, cooked at Watershed—and looks mighty good, too.