July 2nd, 2008

wine and cheese

Holeman & Finch

Holeman & Finch may well be the best addition to Atlanta’s restaurant scene in 2008. We ate there last Saturday with mumpish and proftlb, and I enjoyed every single bite. Chef Linton Hopkins gets it, and we’ve needed a place like this for some time. H&F is a great, upscale twist on pub food with the right sort of reclamation of Southern ingredients, rather than yet another retooling of fried chicken. The bread, the mushrooms (talk about an umami bomb), the sweetbreads, the pasta carbonara, the doughnuts (! – seriously – you’re going to want your own order) … I’d go back tonight. I can dine with my fave chef in the city for about $43 a head (that’s including two drinks apiece), and I can go in jeans. What’s not to like?

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There’s only one downside: word has spread, and the see-and-be-seeners have descended. We got there early, about 6 pm. We were seated immediately, but by 7, a line had formed. I think it’s going to be a hot spot for several months. You may do better on a weeknight; I’ve already toyed with the idea of trying to convince my husband to go in town during the week so we can get one of the H&F burgers, which they only serve after 10 pm.

I've never met a member of Hopkins' staff that I didn't like, but Julian is probably my favorite guy, with Christina being my favorite gal. I consider him to be one of the best pro servers in Atlanta. He is confident because knows his stuff backwards, forwards, and sideways. He has never, ever steered me wrong. I said that I was torn between the sweetbreads and the marrow, and he started writing on his pad without saying a word of confirmation one way or the other. I just smiled. I knew he’d hook me up with the best option, and he did.

Excuse me while I slip into a reverie of piping hot brioche with butter so fresh that I suspect it was made on site. I apparently made a face so rapturous while eating it that the man at the table next to us asked me what we had ordered! Oh, and the house-made marmalade with the Serrano ham appetizer? Terrific.

Go. Eat.