Atlantans tend to be suspicious of out-of-town chefs and restaurant concepts, but Parkwoods, a gorgeously designed oasis in the bottom of the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter, has earned a fair shake by going whole-hog on Georgia meat and produce.
One dish that exemplifies this commitment to the fruits of regional farms is the fried chicken. In our city, a mecca of Southern cooking, you have to be brave to serve fried chicken. Chef Joe Gentempo acquits himself well with this straightforward, beautifully executed version.
The chicken is a heritage breed from Joyce Farms, a North Carolina company that has farmland in the state. Gentempo uses a classic brine that results in tender, juicy, perfectly salted meat, rendering additional seasoning unnecessary. The chicken then is dredged in lightly seasoned flour before frying, giving the pieces a wonderfully thin, crispy exterior.
For an extra boost of flavor, the fried chicken is served with a sidecar of excellent red-eye gravy. Made with the trimmings of ham from renowned farms like Benton’s and Broadbent, the gravy adds another shot of salt and richness to the dish.
Nicely tender collard greens, complete with house-made Scotch bonnet hot sauce, round out the meal and add to the authenticity. Reflecting on the fried chicken, after my clean plate was whisked away, it was hard to come up with many better versions in town. Parkwoods, part of the British IHG hotel group, might not be from around here, but they sure make an effort to be neighborly.
Parkwoods. 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta. 678-822-9353, parkwoodsrestaurant.com.
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