After our day and night of fun in ATL, we woke up late and discussed all the good times we had the night before at the BBQ, just like in college! But this time, there were no crazy hook-ups, fights, or crying like in college - a bonus, if you ask me.
Anyway, we soon got all ready to go to brunch at a restaurant called Home Restaurant and Bar, a Richard Blais restaurant! That's the Richard from Top Chef!! I was so excited to eat at Chef Blais's restaurant, and I was so hoping he would be there and I could add him to my "List of Top Chef Contestants I've Met," which currently consists of only Michael from Season Two. (I still love you Mikey!) Unfortunately, when we asked the waitress if he was around, she informed us that his wife had just had a baby three days before, so he was a bit busy with that. Mazel tov to the happy couple! I guess he went home and fulfilled the promise he made to viewers in the "Common Threads" episode that he wanted to "go home and make some babies"...eeew.
Anyway, onto the review! From the outside, Home looks like a real home! It's obvious that they gutted the whole thing and left the charming outside in tact, so you really feel comfortable walking in.
There is a lovely bar and lounge area, a dining room on the main floor (that's where we ate), a dining room upstairs, and a private dining room and wine cellar in the basement. There were also portholes where you could look into the kitchen and watch the chefs in action. I couldn't resist taking a peek. The kitchen was huge but had windows all along the walls, letting in a ton of sunlight. I feel like whenever you see industrial restaurant kitchens, they are all stainless steel and flourescent light, but not at Home!
Okay, onto the food. We decided to share the Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk Dressing as our starter. The tomatoes were not sliced but rather cut into sections and breaded in a crunchy crust (cornmeal, perhaps?). Instead of being served with buttermilk dressing, it was served with buttermilk ice cream! The ice cream was savory and had herbs (chives, I think) in it, and it added a whole other level of texture and, of course, temperature to the dish. A wonderful way to start out the meal!
For our mains, Tori ordered Buckwheat Pancakes with Maple Foam and Caramel Butter, Rachel and Lisa each ordered Shrimp & Grits with Andouille, Citrus Salad, and She-Crab Butter, and I ordered the Crispy Fried Chicken, Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese, and Honey Vinegar.
The pancakes were very good - a little dry (is this due to the buckwheat?), but the maple foam was very maple-y and light, and the caramel butter was rich and intense. Put them all together and that is a tasty little bite!
The shrimp and grits were also quite good, and perhaps my favorite dish of the meal (even though I only had a small bite). The dish had edamame and a citrus salad of grapefruit and oranges, plus big cubes of fried up andouille. The grits were creamy and delicious, and the whole dish worked so well together. It was definitely a unique and upscale version of an old down-home classic.
Last, there was my fried chicken. I had seen someone else order it and I couldn't resist it! It was perfectly cooked - delicious, crispy skin on the outside, and moist, yummy meat on the inside. The skin had a slight sweetness to it, presumably from the honey vinegar. The cauliflower mac-n-cheese was good, though the pasta was a little overcooked. It was tasty, but not as good as the truffle mac-n-cheese we had in St. Croix!
Then it was time for dessert! We were all pretty full so we got one dessert to share between the four of us. Although all of the desserts looked awesome, we ordered the Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream (the other choices, FYI, were: Moon Pie with Coca-Cola Float, and Sour Cream Pecan Cake with Sweet Tea Ice Cream).
This was a wonderful dessert! The cake was very dense, and there were lots of layers so you always got a bite of the classic cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese ice cream paired with a bite of cake was a bite of heaven! It was such a wonderful match and probably the best Red Velvet Cake experience I've ever had. This makes me think maybe I want Red Velvet cake for my birthday cake next month...
It was a great experience at Home, although the service was not as great as we would have hoped. I would definitely go back though, but probably for dinner. I asked for a copy of the dinner menu (because I am nosy and annoying) and some of the dishes look absolutely irresistable: Beef Short Rib with Corn Cream, Vidalia Onion Rings and Whiskey Jus; Buttermilk Pancakes with Foie Gras Butters and Blueberry Syrup; Fried Okra and Shrimp 'Po Boy.' YUM! The menu also says that the veggies are served family style and are "farm to table vegetables" - yay eating local!
Anyway, after chatting away over more coffee (mostly about whether we thought Richard had won or not and if so, whether he'd told his wife) and a brief photoshoot in the lounge, we left Home and headed to the Georgia Aquarium! Apparently, the Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world. Who knew?? We had a great time at the aquarium (the otters and Nico, the beluga whale, were my favorites), and a great time overall! Thanks again to Lisa and Alex for having us. We will see you next year at the WEDDING!
Happy upscale/down-home eating,