Newly bowed Apt 4B brings modern Caribbean to Atlanta.
Executive chef Dayana Joseph
Ten thousand vintage vinyl records greet you at Apt 4B, as does a state-of-the-art McIntosh sound system, the perfect example of how the restaurant blends “the best of then and now,” says executive chef Dayana Joseph. Additional touches such as a mix of modern and vintage flatware, dining chairs and more bring the concept full circle.
Apt 4B’s design centers on vintage vinyl records
But back to that vintage vinyl collection: Joseph explains that one of the owners and founding partners, Sim Walker (in partnership with Tasha Cyril, Clive Ruddock, Yusef Walker, Sopeak Pang and Glenn Wilson, who successfully opened Ms. Icey’s Kitchen together previously), is an “audiophile and estate sale enthusiast. He stumbled into an estate sale where an 80-year-old gentleman who had been collecting records for over 60 years was selling his entire collection.” (Joseph is partial to Minnie Riperton’s Adventures in Paradise, her all-time favorite album, which they have at Apt 4B.) There’s even a Legend by Bob Marley album that the team loved so much it was superimposed on one of the walls. “The records are all so very eclectic—from the original Annie soundtrack to Wu-Tang Clan albums—you can truly find something for everyone to listen to,”she says.
Snapper ceviche with red silk snapper, grilled hearts of palm, pickled strawberries, kaffir lime leaves, satsumas, fresh herbs and lime juice was showcased on a recent evening.
Most importantly, of course, is the food, which Joseph, a Haitian, describes as modern Caribbean. “That means a use of traditional ingredients married with modern techniques found in gastronomy and fine dining,” she says, “such as reverse spherification, dehydration and fermentation.” A hallmark of Caribbean cuisine is the concept of cooking nose to tail: Joseph braises her oxtails for three hours with mirepoix, fresh herbs, scallion, ground round spices and Scotch bonnet peppers. The fat is skimmed from the braising liquid and reduced into a jus that’s then reconstituted and used in her oxtail bucatini dish. Joseph notes it’s imperative to understand modern Caribbean as also “whatever we want, as long as it’s conceived and made by one of us of Caribbean descent or ancestry. We are using the tools and ingredients we have access to today, in modern times, to make food that we believe our ancestors would be proud of.”
Salad ruse, one of Joseph’s childhood favorites, is an update on a classic Haitian celebration dish.
Diners—both with reservations and those happy to take it to go—can expect a rotating menu, as Joseph loves to cook with seasonality. “I think that also sets us apart from other traditional Caribbean restaurants,” she says. “A lot of the produce we use is locally and seasonally sourced.” Cocktails by co-owner Cyril are also derived from popular island flavors such as the soursop margarita. “Soursop is currently making waves in the U.S. as a superfood, though Tasha remembers religiously picking the fruit from her grandmother’s yard during the hot St. Lucian summers,” Joseph explains. It’s her insatiable curiosity and passion for fine dining that allows her to “blend fresh and bold ingredients with tactful culinary techniques to create flavorful and artfully plated dishes often inspired by my Caribbean roots.” When coupled with a powerhouse team, inventive interiors and a can-do spirit that’s very 2020, Apt 4B succeeds. 2293 Peachtree Road NE, Ste. B, 404.709.2906, apt4batl.com
Photography by: chef portrait by Naskademini; photos by sim walker