Brassica, Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead’s new signature restaurant, proves the South’s oldest ally still rings true through its phenomenal French and Southern fusion cuisine.
Brassica’s stuffed butternut squash jambalaya is smoked to perfection.
A Brassica dinner spread, including the grilled 24-ounce ribeye
It’s a breezy evening when I make my way across the cobblestone and brick walkway and approach Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead’s (waldorfastoriaatlanta.com) breathtaking entryway. My heels clack on the marble floor as I step inside, an echoing that fades away as I take in all that is Brassica. The experience is remarkably immersive; I’m swept away by an ambiance that is akin to a French brasserie with the added charm of Southern hospitality. As Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead’s new signature restaurant, it comes as no surprise that Brassica is the epitome of sophisticated yet subtle elegance. Buttery warm light provided by candles and custom pendants spills over welcoming saddle leather banquettes and white oak floors, all rounded off with neoclassical details and deco touches. I slide into one of the cozy booths, eager to sip on the City Within the Forest, a delicious concoction of Toki whisky, peach vinegar, orange phosphate, orange flower and seltzer. Brassica’s highly curated bar program situates itself within the American craft cocktail evolution, celebrating both early 20th century classics and present-day favorites. Another standout is the spicy margarita, a tempting combination of Casamigos blanco tequila, Anaheim chile, agave, orange and lime finished with rose water beautifully spritzed across the drink’s rim.
The spicy margarita is topped with fresh florals and rose water.
As fabulous as Brassica’s drinks are, the real star of the show has to be newly appointed executive chef Christophe Le Métayer’s menu. After graduating from culinary school at 16, the chef had the chance to work in some of the world’s most exclusive kitchens. “The first days at Alain Ducasse in Monte Carlo were humbling,” he shares. “Knowledge was everywhere.” Luckily for Atlanta, Le Métayer soon found himself in our neck of the woods, where he has spent the last 20 years embracing Southern cuisine while honoring his French roots. His food reflects the amalgam, achieving all the comfort of Southern food through elevated European cooking techniques and ultrafresh ingredients. “We have wonderful local farmers and artisans here in Atlanta,” says the chef. “They give us the chance to combine both classic and common cooking techniques.” The chef’s menu is partitioned into “producers,” “butchers and fishermen,” “mains to share” and “sides” sections, with the producers being your customary appetizers. I eagerly sample each section, finding that standouts abound throughout. Just one bite of dishes such as the yellow corn bisque and pecan rainbow trout have me wondering if where France meets Georgia might very well be where heaven meets earth. Adorned with Gulf shrimp, bacon and chopped croutons, the bisque is perfectly sweet and savory with a toothsome crunch. The trout melts in the mouth, particularly when sharing a fork with the velvety creamed corn that accompanies it. Finally, the 24-ounce ribeye with mashed Yukon Golds, Brussels sprouts and bordelaise is compelling proof that French gastronomy’s reputation for mastery over beef is well deserved.
Hours later, my body and soul full after a gorgeous evening of good company and great food, I return to the blustery night feeling a bit more enamored with the world. A thoughtful beverage program, sophisticated interiors, impeccable service and an irresistible menu prove that the newest evolution of Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead’s dining program not only honors its illustrious past but surpasses it.
Photography by: courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead