Small plates pile up at Brookwood newcomer


1820 Peachtree Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-382-8088, $$$

2 of 5 stars [a worthy addition to its neighborhood]

Capitalizing on the small-plates trend, Saltyard opened earlier this summer in the Brookwood Condo building on Peachtree Road with what it calls unpretentious and value-driven fare.

At first glance, it seems to have all the pieces for a great restaurant: shareable small plates, 20 wines by the glass for perfect course pairings, a commitment to honest cooking, local sourcing. Yet Saltyard remains a puzzle. The logistics of coursing muddle the experience, which gets harried, and the food is perhaps a little too unpretentious, a little too straightforward.

Much of it needs tweaking. Let’s scale way back on the seasoning for the very snackable local pork cracklings, heavy with salt and chili powder, but bump up the slick lemon, anchovy and caper vinaigrette on the seared Brussels sprouts.

Better is harissa-marinated lamb, striking a perfect balance with its creamy white bean puree drizzled with harissa oil. Ditto the pistachio semifreddo. A scoop of frozen mousse, heady with the flavors of almond and pistachio, melts into a puddle of dark chocolaty sauce with plump brandy-soaked cherries. Yes, let that one be.

Jenny Turknett