Restaurant Eugene - Atlanta, GA

Dinner - Monday, December 30, 2013

Linton Hopkins was named the James Beard "Best Chef - Southeast" in 2012, and Restaurant Eugene is the flagship of his restaurant family (although Holeman & Finch arguably garners more press for its burger). The style here is very classical - broadly speaking, traditional French technique with Southern ingredients. Arguably not the sort of place we typically gravitate towards, but this time, the lack of information about the food here piqued our curiosity.

The Optimist - Atlanta, GA

Lunch - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Occupying the cavernous space of a former ham-aging warehouse, The Optimist at lunchtime is a bright, airy space filled with wood and iron and rough linen. We stopped by for lunch before heading to the airport - our last meal on this short tour of the South. The food is as good as the space is beautiful.

McCrady's - Charleston, SC

Dinner - Friday, December 27, 2013

Before Husk propelled Sean Brock into the stratosphere, there was McCrady's. When it first opened, the restaurant had a fairly strong molecular gastronomy bent, but this has been significantly dialed back over the years, as Brock's cuisine has evolved.

While not as tethered to the South as Husk, there is still a strong sense of place at McCrady's. This is first expressed in the 18th century building (older even than Husk's space) that the restaurant occupies - a beautiful wood-and-brick structure that is warm and inviting. The menu, too, emphasizes regional ingredients, although with an appropriately playful spin in many dishes.