Judging from what I hear, many people don’t see the value of tasting menus. Complaints include the cost, lack of choice, and unfamiliar ingredients and techniques. As someone put it, “I’d rather just have some real food.”
For all those tasting menu skeptics, the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown is the perfect opportunity to see how a fine-dining restaurant does “real food.” Family meals from Lazy Betty are so good, even the most hardened cynic about haute cuisine will be counting the days until these talented chefs can reintroduce their thoughtful, beautifully executed tasting menus.
After a few weeks of being fully shut down, the restaurant, headed by chef Ronald Hsu and executive chef Aaron Phillips, has reopened for takeout, with a menu of meals serving two or four. My wife and I ordered entree option No. 1, which included bacon-crusted pork loin stuffed with apple-mushroom dressing, braised collard greens, roasted potatoes and Madeira pork jus.
Compared with dishes like cauliflower bone marrow and roasted king crab with truffled flan, this was a simple meal. However, the flavors were elevated by the execution, attention to detail and ingredients, which clearly are among the best available.
The pork loin was delicately stuffed with the dressing and seamlessly rolled with bacon into a perfect little package. It was incredibly tender and juicy, bursting with a swirl of complementary flavors. Folks with an old-school perspective might prefer their collard greens stewed into soft oblivion, but these were just the right balance of tender and toothsome. And, no one could have quibbled with the roasted Yukon gold potatoes, diced up like home fries, humming with umami, and luxuriously creamy.
This is how real food is done by real chefs — and, yes, it’s really worth it.
Lazy Betty. 1530 DeKalb Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-975-3692, lazybettyatl.com.
Read the AJC Fall Dining Guide: The Noodle Edition
Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.