Eugene and I

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layout_press_03This past week, while participating in the Atlanta International Poultry Expo, our team was introduced to one of the best restaurants we have dined at in a while, Restaurant Eugene. Now, don’t get me wrong, we have all eaten at restaurants that entice our taste buds to the point of remembrance, but few have the lasting impression of an overall fantastic experience.
In my opinion, a great dining experience is not only justified by the food, but also the small details that add up to that great experience. Details such as proper service techniques, timing, plate presentation, wine service, organization, music selection and volume, restaurant layout, interior design and ambiance, to name a few, are all important. The people you get to experience it with also plays into the experience and we got to enjoy it with two newfound friends from the show, Adriana and Nicholo, from Toronto based Gum Products International.
Dining Room at Restaurant Eugene

Dining Room at Restaurant Eugene

Based upon a recommendation from fellow CBI Chef, Newman Miller, we decided to make reservations at this acclaimed restaurant on the last night of our stay in Atlanta. Once we arrived we were quickly seated and began to decode the wonderful menu which was laid out in a “Chicago’s Publican-esque” type format- three categories separated into “fish”, “vegetables”, and “meat and game”. Listed at the top of each of these categories were the smaller plate sized portions, followed by the larger entrees. From a wild black bass with rice grits, bresaola and satsuma dill salad to a delicious foie gras tasting with meyer lemon syrup, membrillo and brioche- we quickly started narrowing down our favorite courses to dine upon, as we wanted to devour the entire menu at first glance.
Between all five of us, we tried at least half of the selections on the menu and none of them were a disappointment. There is something to say about a meal with so many layers of flavors that haven’t been tainted with the new wave of chemical infusions that create many of these extravagant new age avant garde dishes. To truly understand the taste and texture profiles of every single ingredient that goes into the creation of a dish and how to naturally manipulate these ingredients, really takes a full understanding of the world of food. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against the techniques of the molecular-gastro movement, but it is really a pleasure to see foods used as they were intended, to create such amazing flavor profiles and to stay true to such a classic form of cooking.
Bartenders finishing their shift at Restaurant Eugene.

Bartenders finishing their shift at Restaurant Eugene.

Moving from course to course, you really started to gain an appreciation for the hard work and thought process put behind every dish. My first was the wild black bass dish listed previously on this blog, followed by a course of local beets: roasted detroit red, pickled goldens and a dehydrated golden beet chip which was paper thin and had a bit of sweetness to it, making me wish I had a whole bag of these delicious chips. For my entrée I had the Kurobuta pork tasting, consisting of the loin which was seared medium-rare with a spiced crust, the tender belly and a ravioli which was stuffed with a rich pork roulette. On the side of this, I had the roast mushroom tasting of enoki, hen of the woods and abalone over roasted spoonbread- a moist polenta-like cake. After such a rich meal, I finished mine with a shot of the digestif Amaro Montenegro, a great bitter Italian herbal liquor that really finished my meal on a high note.
So if you ever have the chance and are in the area, give Restaurant Eugene a try and take a few friends, as this is what it’s all about: great food, great wine, good friends and a good time. It really doesn’t get much better than that. ~Chef Adam Moore
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