Chefs’ fearlessness pays off


701 Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404-343-1274, $$-$$$

2 of 4 stars [very good]

Let’s play a word association game: cocktail-driven, small plates, locally sourced.

Did you just get visions of overplayed deviled eggs and bowls of bacon fat-soaked Brussels sprouts? If so, I have good news: Last Word, the new Lebanese-inspired restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward, is a refreshing change of pace. Co-chefs Matt Palmerlee and Eddie Russell are fearless, pushing out flavors and dishes that genuinely stand out amid the white noise of refined Southern gastropubs.

Perhaps the most surprising and impressive dish is the porchetta di testa — the marinated meat of a deboned pig’s head rolled into a sumptuously delicious log of heavenly porky goodness and served in a paper-thin layer beneath tender, thin slices of octopus tentacle, with a smear of saffron aioli through the center.

On the more filling side, definitely don’t pass up the house-made tagliatelle with mushroom confit and smoked peanut breadcrumbs. This is a seriously satisfying bowl of pasta. I have a feeling that I’ll stop by more than once for a bowl of this and a cocktail when I’m in the area.