Meat-oriented newcomer challenges and thrills


99 Krog St., Atlanta. 470-428-2509, $$$

3 of 4 stars [excellent]

Kevin Ouzts of the Spotted Trotter, a boutique charcuterie shop in Kirkwood, is known mostly for his elegant pâtés and cured sausages. Now, he has established himself as a great chef at this meat-centric restaurant, where showcase culinary technique and electric flavor combinations provide the ultimate wow.

Start with sticks of crispy morcilla — blood sausage paste wrapped in buttery pastry — as a first bite with cocktails. But there is no finer charcuterie board in Atlanta, a showcase for new items Ouzts doesn’t yet sell at the Spotted Trotter. I best love the rossa espezia, a coarse, garlicky fermented salami made with beef and pork. There will be a well-aged prosciutto made in-house and a soft, spreadable pâté gelée flavored with pickled sweet red peppers. It’s like the meat version of pimento cheese.

The greatest object of obsession for me is the blue cheese-cured rib-eye beef you see hanging in the meat locker by the entrance. It gets funkier than Bootsy Collins, but, man, you will not forget the way its flavor washes over your tongue again and again and again.