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Biscuits to Cry for at Southern Art

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Just looking at this bowl of chicken noodle soup makes me feel warm inside. It’s good for whatever ails you.

The place: Southern Art and Bourbon Bar

The drink: Bourbon and ginger beer. But only a few sips, I promise. This was lunch after all.

She needs a hot, steaming bowl of delicious chicken soup from Southern Art. That was my first thought when my daughter told me she stayed home from work with a bad cold.

Catherine is in DC though so sadly, no soup-bearing motherly visit was possible. But for anyone else who lives in or visits Atlanta, you’ll want to put Southern Art at the top of your dining list.

Art Smith (Oprah’s former personal chef, TV personality, award-winning cookbook writer and Southern boy from Jasper, FL) served us the kind of meal you’d get if the church ladies made their best dishes and served them all at once. The food is so good you’ll be praising the Lord, no matter what your religion.

Located in the former Pied du Cochon spot at the Hotel InterContinental in Buckhead, Southern Art has transformed the space to be much more open and welcoming. Guests enter through the Bourbon Bar where they may want to stop for a delicious bourbon and ginger beer cocktail, or any of the other 70 bourbons available. Come Thursday through Saturday nights for live entertainment.

Chef Art Smith has restaurants from coast to coast: DC, Chicago, Palo Alto and now Atlanta

But that’s not the only bar here. Southern Art has added a second bar for all you passionate pork people — an Artisan Ham Bar featuring ham and charcuterie. Our meal started with the ham board, a selection of Southern hams, charcuterie and various pickled items. This is the South and if something stands still long enough, we’ll find a way to pickle it.

But now I must lavish love on the Angel biscuits, because, yes, it was love at first bite. In the South you can fling a handful of flour in the air and it will land on a place that serves biscuits. But a truly delicious biscuit is harder to find than a drag queen at a deb party. But honey chile, I found them here. Light and flaky, these biscuits studded with rosemary and cheddar cheese are worthy of the name Angel Biscuits.

I’m also passionate about poultry and the chicken soup and fried chicken both made me happier than a pig in the mud. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like chicken soup,” Art said as he spoke of eating the nourishing nectar as a child.  “I have four restaurants and I put a little bit of my family in each one. For the love and comfort chicken soup brought me, I hope to share it.”

Chef Art’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken made with Springer Mountain chicken. Those green things are brussels sprouts leaves.

The fried chicken was served at Oprah’s 50th birthday party and at the White House twice. But us lucky Atlantans can now have it breakfast, lunch or dinner at Southern Art. “Fried chicken doesn’t take sides,” Art said. “We all appreciate and love it.”

We also had a big heaping portion of Carolina black rice risotto that the addition of Flat Creek Lodge asiago cheese made extra rich and satisfying. Art told us he had lost 120 pounds (yes, an entire person!) and developed more vegetarian dishes as a result.

By the time dessert came my stomach I was only able to manage  a few bites of the buttermilk chocolate cake, banana pudding and  peanut butter pie. Other classic favorites on the menu include 12 layer red velvet cake, fruit cobbler and bourbon pecan pie.

Although it’s in a fancy hotel, prices are fairly reasonable. Lunch entreés range from around $13 to $18 and dinner entreés are $18 to $35. Validated parked is available in the back lot. As one of the Southern Art staff noted, “Us Atlantans hate to pay for parking.” She got that right.

“I thought Atlanta needed an elegant Southern restaurant where you could sit down and feel comfortable,” Art said. I know that I had no trouble making myself right at home.

Southern Art is at 3315 Peachtree Road, 404.946.9070

 

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