You might remember when Besha Rodellbroke the news about Repast’s demise, which came just a few weeks after co-owner Joe Truex left to helm the kitchen at Decatur’sWatershed restaurant. In the month since, a number of rumors have surfaced as to the future for the Repast location. This one seems to have some real legs … though again … it’s not finalized.
When last we heard from Kirsthein, he was on his way to New York City to serve as a stagiaire at Solo Restaurant. After spending the early part of this year working at the kosher restaurant, Kirshtein hopped around a bit … I believe he spent some time in Israel. The mystery continued when ENO (Eli’s restaurant of choice during his Top Chef time) closed. It left many of us wondering what was in store for the young knife slinger.
If this is indeed the case, it will be interesting to see how the concept develops. This will be the first venture for Kirsthein, a padawan of celebrity chefRichard Blais. More on this as it develops.
PICTURE CREDIT: Kirshtein (right) appears at a cooking demo with Blais. [courtesy SavoryExposure.com]
Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta’s most athletic foodie (or at least the one paid the best), made at least a few heads turn last year when he acquired Midtown’sEno restaurant. The Atlanta Hawks center promptly renamed it Eno By Zaza (fancy huh?) and has since replaced head chef Eli Kirshtein (of Top Chef fame) with Justin Cox. Today, the USA Today ran a little tidbit on Zaza and his newest venture. My favorite piece of info – Jamal Crawford is the biggest fan amongst the Hawks. Check it out for yourself on 20-second timeout with Zaza Pachulia.
While we were sleeping, aka – over the weekend, chef Eli Kirshtein finally confirmed months of rumors. Known outside the ATL for his recent appearance on Top Chef, he is best known around these parts as the chef at ENO (now “By Zaza”).
Now, Kirshtein has moved on from his post with intentions to take on the Big Apple. While in NYC, Kirshtein plans to work as a “guest chef” at Solo (website) under Hok Chin. I’ve always been intrigued by Solo; it’s an Asian fusion restaurantthat does things Kashrut style. As shocking as that combo may sound, it’s probably not as strange as you’d think. Like the joke goes …
According to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5770. According to the Chinese calendar, the year is 4707. This means that Jews went without Chinese food for 1,063 years. This period was known as the Dark Ages.
Back on task, Kirshtein has stated that he’s not sure how long he’ll be gone. However, he has every intention of returning to Atlanta so that he can open his own restaurant here. Say what you will about his cooking, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when and if he does return.
UPDATE: It turns out that Chin is no longer the executive chef at Solo. While restaurant will still serves kosher food, the cuisine is “American” based. Also, Kirshtein will start his gig on the 16th of January.
One heck of a weekend if you ask me … lots of football, lots of food, and lots of food news. What else is there? Here are just a few of the rumblings and grumblings that got tossed around this weekend.
Top Chef: Las Vegas Reunites In The Dirty South
Several of the contestants on Top Chef: Atlanta Las Vegas were seen in town this weekend. The group, comprised of ATLiens Kevin Gillespie and Eli Kirshtein, included out of towners Jennifer Carroll, Bryan Voltaggio, and Mike Isabella. The gang was spotted at the Falcons game sucking down some buzztastic grub from the new “it” barbecue joint … known round these parts as Community Q. Speaking of which, I grabbed a meal there last week, and I’ll definitely share in the next day or so (if not sooner).
The fun didn’t stop watching our beloved birds get tarred and feathered. To get the full Atlanta experience, the kiddos spent a good amount of time sampling ATL’s food. They took a trip to Flip Burger Boutique to see TC alum Richard Blais, to Holeman & Finch for some libations, to Pricci, and to each of TC:LVC Atlanta restaurants. UPDATE:Atlanta’s best BBQ blogger was kind enough to recap the events on his blog, pictures and all! Enjoy!
Holeman & Finch To Open Liquor Store
Speaking of H&F, long-standing rumors seem to be getting a little more traction. Several “reliable foodies” have mentioned that the group behind ATLs most notable “gastro bar” are going to expand into the liquor store business. All signs point to Bottleneck as the name of the establishment. Andy Minchow, one of the proprietors of H&F, is scheduled to take the reigns. For all you mixologists-in-training, this will most certainly be your store of choice. The former Repast barista will be there to help you with recipes, ingredients, and drinking gadgets. Atlanta’s masked videographer Rowdy just posted a clip of Andy … check it:
Some Bar In Some Place Opened
Some people just don’t “get it.” They somehow take the idea of underground coolness and screw it up by going the snobby/elitist route. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Everyone wants to be “Milk & Honey” but no one has the balls (or apparently the brains) to actually pull it off the way M&H did. A bar hoping to copy take inspiration from the NYC underground destination is doing its best to do everything Milk and Honey did not. It starts with the press release.
In this waste of digital paper, the owners were kind enough to provide the name of the bar. Then, they told you what area of town to find it (no specific information – just a generic address – it’s a phone booth of sorts btw). Oh, last but not least, they were nice enough to give out the name of their master mixologist (which everyone in the foodie circle already knows). The cherry? There’s a password to get in. However, they won’t give it out.
One of the reasons why M&H succeeded is because they played the game. They weren’t pretentious about what they were, and they didn’t try to have their cake and eat it too. This establishment seems to want its feet on both sides of the line. Not gonna happen here … You want to put out something in a press release … than do it … but don’t half ass it. As such … not even a name mention from yours truly. If you’re reading this and don’t know the story behind Milk and Honey … feel free to email me and I’ll elaborate. And if you’re dying to know what I’m talking about … search some of the more notable food blogs here in town … you’ll find the 205.5 without too much difficulty. They have a website already and … of course … A FACEBOOK PAGE!!!!!! The website actually tells you where it is. Grrrr …
Today is a busy day for me, so I don’t have time to pen a review. However, that doesn’t mean I’m completely disconnected from what’s going down in the 404 (or 770 … or even the 678). Here is a snap shot of some stuff that I’m checking out.
30 Restaurants In 30 Days: Much to the delight of foodies around the city, John Kessler is pumping out some new content. The AJC’s food blogger extraordinaire is currently hitting 30 restaurants in 30 days. He’s already dropped in on La Pietra Cucina, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and a few other places. You can follow the action over on the Food & More blog.
Martha Stewart Charity Dinner: I may be the only person in this world that doesn’t have a soft-spot for Martha Stewart. That said, this is pretty cool. You can bid on the Martha Stewart Dinner Party (currently just shy of 3k). It includes a gourmet dinner for six at Cantitoe Farm prepared by Pierre Schaedelin, chef at famed Benoit and one of Martha’s favorites.
Get your DVRs ready for Saturday afternoon. Long before he graced our screen as the darling of Top Chef, Atlanta’s own Richard Blais showed up TV sets across the states on an episode of the Food Network’sIron Chef America. The challenge, which took place back in ‘06, featured chickpeas as the ingredient du jour and a battle of fisticuffs between Blais and the well-regarded Mario Batali.
Keen eyes will notice the One Midtown Kitchen logo across Blais’ breastplate. At the time of filming, he was the executive chef at 1MK. Appropriately, Blais brought his sous chef at the time, one Eli Kirshtein, along for the ride.
For those unfamiliar with the show, a challenger will enter a 1-hr cook-off against one of a stable of cook masters, appropriately named “Iron Chefs.” The trick is that a single ingredient is used as the basis for the meal. Though I much prefer the Japanese version, complete with kitschy voice dubbings, the US version comes with Alton Brown’s quick witted commentary. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.
And speaking of Blais, you’ll be able to get your fill of him on Saturday. In what is probably a coincidence, Richard and his funktastic hairdo will be on the main stage of Taste of Atlanta 2009 from 12pm-12:45pm. So head out in the early afternoon to see him live, then check him out on the tube just before dinner time.
Battle Chickpeas: Batali vs. Blais
Re-airs on the Food Network on Saturday October 10th, 2009.
5pm-6pm, 11pm-12am, 2am-3am (on Sunday) Comcast channel 57 or 857 for HD
It’s a place that Atlanta denizens want to love. It’s the type of place we should love. Ultimately, I’m not sure it’s a place that we do love. ENO restaurant in Midtown Atlanta has gotten a lot of attention in recent months. The majority of the hype has come on the heels of executive chef Eli Kirshtein’s recent trip to Las Vegas for season six of Top Chef. The restaurant got it’s second wind when word broke that Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia had come out of nowhere to purchase both ENO and the adjunct Barrelman Wine & Cheese Shop. Despite that potential boon to business, things haven’t really changed much recently.
That’s not to say that the restaurant as a whole has remained stagnate since its 1999 opening. Their days as a Mediterranean stomping ground are a thing of the past as the menu is now a cornucopia of highly conceptualized dishes that hint at the elements of molecular cooking. Though the menu is constantly in flux, the backbone of the experience is the wine. It is a constant point of pleasure for yours truly, and I’m not alone in that respect. [Amongst others, Atlanta wine blogger and current Murphy-Goode employee Hardy Wallace loves it!]
Still, this post is a little non-traditional as it is a balance between the singular experience of my most recent trip and the longstanding qualities that have been in place for the better part of the past few years. True to my modus operandi, I wasn’t totally sold on the experience. In fact, I walked away from the meal with one word on my mind: Interesting. Mind you, this isn’t to imply that ENO was a disaster, rather … it just didn’t snap together nice and tight.
Given the recent news regarding chef Eli Kirshtein, I was surprised to find out that ENO in Midtown has adjusted their hours for the summer. Apparently, despite the news about Top Chef, they are now closed for lunch. So if you are trying to avoid dinner prices (and crowds) for some grub, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. No word on when they plan to let lunch-ers get back in there.
They still open for dinner pretty early, so feel free to make a reservation and check them out.
Ah, the joys of being an independent blogger with no editor, no boss, no financial obligations, and nobody to answer to but myself … let’s embrace it!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me tell you that I am indeed a fan of Top Chef. While there is plenty of bullshit that goes on behind the scenes, it seems to be one of the only (if not the only) reality show with some actual street cred. That it’s about food is just an added bonus. Actually, scratch that – because it’s about food AND since it seems at least quasi legit – I like it. Because it’s “usually” well done means I really like it.
As luck would have it, it seems that I’ve stumbled upon a little bit of information about the upcoming season. Before we begin, let us get a few things straight. A) I’m not going to tell you how I found out. B) I will tell you that this information did not come from anyone in the restaurant biz nor from one of my fellow bloggers. C) I wouldn’t be writing this post if I was completely full of crap. That said, I may be wrong here. So proceed at your own risk. If it turns out I’ve been misinformed, well – I warned you.
Keeping that in mind, if you want some “off the record dirt,” then read read on. If you like surprises, well, I suggest you stop reading now.