Two-months ago, the NY Times brought Serenbe Farms in Palmetto, GA to our attention. The Newspaper was a shining moment for chef Nick Melvin. Not a moment later, Melvin went splits-ville. I, like most everyone else, had no idea where he headed off to. On March 31st, Concentrics Restaurants lifted the veil from over our eyes.
Melvin, a New Orleans native, has returned to ATL to run Parish, a farm-to-table “Cajun influenced” restaurant concept down in Inman Park. While I suspect most of the real changes will take place in their main dining room, I wanted to dive in for lunch to see if anything had happened with the downstairs market. [By the way, the changes I expect to see are with the menu and not with the decor or the concept of the restaurant].
As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw Melvin seated inside the restaurant talking with his staff. According to the gang at Parish, Melvin actually got his feet wet back on March 26 and he has been hard at work ever since. The relationship between the downstairs “market” and the upstairs “restaurant” is loosely reminiscent of the relationship between Craftbar and Craft, insomuch as these are two different beasts occupying the same space.
While you can sit on either level of the restaurant during the day, the main kitchen does not open until the early evening (at least during the week). I arrived a few minutes early to snap a few exterior shots for this post; however, I did not take any pictures inside. While I waited for my friends to come, I got a phone call … a friend inside spotted me meandering around the parking lot.
I went inside to say hello. While we chatted, I did some investigative work. One of the ladies felt this meal was distinctly better than her last few lunches there; however, I’m not ready to say that is a result of the new hire. Soon thereafter, my lunch buddies arrived. We walked over to the counter to order. As I suspected, the majority of the lunch menu still consists of sandwiches. A few breakfast anytime options and three salads make an appearance as well.
I went for the omelet of the day while ABP had the Cobb salad with turkey. She seemed quite pleased with her meal; however, this was just a friendly get together. I did not poke or prod her for information. My eggs were fine but not earth shattering. The dish felt a bit deconstructed in that the spinach, the onions, and the sausage were sitting in the middle of a folded over egg. I think everything was cooked fully on its own and then assembled on the plate. The diced hash brown squares were crispy and well salted. The biscuit was dry and stiff.
Bottom line is, I’m just doing an informal post here. We sat upstairs so I snapped off a picture of their chalkboard menu [sorry for the bad frame job, I’m still getting used to my new toy]. Parish has always been a hit or miss place for me. I’m excited to see what Melvin will do with the menu and the food. As of now, that hanging menu tells me that it’s still business as usual at this trendy little spot on Highland Ave.