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Long Live the Kingby Austin Holt | Jezebel magazine | July 1, 2013
Long Live the King
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a pair of wandering con artists call themselves The King and The Duke. They traipse about the countryside, duping small-town folks out of their hard-earned dough with get-rich-quick schemes that never pan out: comic relief at its finest, courtesy of Mark Twain.
Now, let’s have a little fun and rewrite the previous paragraph, Mad Libs-style. (Your English teacher would be so proud).
In Buckhead, a pair of chefs named Ford Fry and Joseph Schafer team up. Together, they open King + Duke, summoning big-city folks to dine on killer food that never disappoints. It’s culinary relief at its finest, courtesy of Fry, who also owns Jct. Kitchen & Bar, The Optimist and No. 246.
Literary intertext? A-minus. King + Duke’s sterling pedigree? A-plus.
There are some similarities between Twain and Fry. They like taking simple Southern ideas and perfecting the hell out of them. Both care about bringing the best of what they’ve got to the masses, whether it be wit or wood fire.
And the open flame is what it’s all about at K+D, in the old Nava space in Buckhead: namely, the 24-foot open hearth that dominates the open space (a Meyer Davis Studio creation, the atmosphere is clean and contemporary with pops of vintage). Locally sourced ingredients are the base for a slow, colonial method of cooking. Dishes like the Gum Creek pork roast with braised Vidalia, charred kale and sour cherry, and North Georgia trout with spring salad, brown butter and almonds are specialties from Executive Chef Schafer.
Meanwhile, the bar program follows through in a way that Fry can always guarantee. Drink genius Lara Creasy has torn a page from American mythology to bring a list that offers 200-plus wine selections from across the globe and a truly clever reinterpretation of some classic American ’tails. Bonus points if you catch the literary references that pepper the menu (a bourbon-based The Yearling, anyone?).