Some of Chef Len's Favorites
I have reached out to many Chefs across the country to get their recommendations on restaurants that are Chef Approved. Please feel free to respond and share your choices.
Stay Hungry and Eat Well!
Chef Len Elias
I love a first class, creative, fine dining experience as much as the next chef. But honestly like many chefs, I have a lot of food in my life so when I get a chance to go out, I usually gravitate towards restaurants that have lots of appetizers, small plates and are just plain easy. I look for a restaurant that I can sit at the bar; maybe an outside patio or it’s a unique and interesting venue. I like just about anything that is well prepared and over the top good. I love Hot Dogs as much as I love Foie Gras or Diver Scallops. I have always believed that "it’s not what you do", "but how you do it", it’s about the passion to execute at the highest level.
A few months ago I was in Saint Helena, California. I had driven by this drive-through many times, but never considered stopping to check it out. I see now that it’s had its fair share of notoriety and accolades but its all true. Point Reyes Blue Cheese Burgers, Ahi Tuna Burgers, Killer Tacos, Garlic and Parsley Fries and on and on. I would love to own Gotts (http:/gotts/.com/) and would probably be quite content cooking the best drive through food in the country.
Here are some of my favorite spots in Atlanta
The JCT Kitchen and Bar-Westside=ATL
When people come to town, I love to bring them here first. Great Gastro Pub Fare with Southern Influences amazing views of Downtown from the PatioTons of things to taste and share. Try the Foie Gras PB&J
Antico Pizza-West Side ATL
Definitely for the pizza purist, who is chasing the dream? I once loved Pepes in New Haven CT and ranked it at the top of my pizza list, but after my last visit to Pepes, Antico has surpassed them. I love the Antico ambiance, blaring Italian opera, Soccer on the TV’s and a no-frills simplicity. There's no table service, you order at the counter, find a seat at one the communal tables, you can even BYOB. The Pizza comes on a sheet pan, with a nicely blistered and charred crust courtesy of the imported Accunto ovens, freshly made dough, San Marzanno Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil that is picked fresh from the potted Basil planrt during the blazing fast construction of each masterpiece. Serious passion here my friends.
The Ecco Restaurant Bar-Midtown-ATL
Nice Big Bar, lots of bites to try, cured meats, unique offerings and some good beverage choices. I love charcuterie, braised meats, good cheese and minimal pretentiousness.
A few weeks ago I had the Braised Beef-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers , Pancetta-Wrapped Dates chorizo, chili-almond tomato sauce, A Wood-Fired Pizza San Marzano Tomatoes housemade mozzarella, basil and Speck: smoked prosciutto