June 10, 2019 |
Chefs and co-owners Ron Hsu and Aaron Phillips, whose punchy personalities are reflected in their food.
Chef and co-owner Ron Hsu says this about his new venture with chef and co-owner Aaron Phillips: “I say imagine a rich uncle that has a Michelin-starred chef as his private chef. And you get to go to your uncle’s house and shoot the, you know, with your uncle, and you get amazing food in a beautiful setting, but because it’s with your uncle, you feel right at home.” That’s quite the narrative, but it delivers. Hsu and Phillips are young, but don’t be fooled—they are extremely well-versed in the fine-dining world and knew they simply wanted something different. Says Phillips, “It’s good to see somebody come in and not really know what to expect, but you see their excitement to be here, and by the end of the meal it’s like we’re friends.”
WHY YOU CARE What started as a series of pop-ups in Poncey- Highland is now a full restaurant thanks to Hsu and Phillips’ vision and hard work. Hsu is formerly of New York’s Le Colonial and Le Bernardin, where he was creative director under the esteemed chef Eric Ripert. (You might also recognize Hsu from his stint on Netflix’s The Final Table, where he was paired with Michelin-starred chef and friend Shin Takagi.) Phillips also worked at Le Bernardin, Bouley and Atlas here in Atlanta. In short, serious food backgrounds.
WHERE TO SIT If you’re down for 10 full courses (who wouldn’t be?), the front room is where it’s at. For a group, there’s a large table that can accommodate several thanks to its banquettes, but if you can swing it, head to the chef’s counter. Hsu, Phillips and their team are fun to watch as they orchestrate the meals, and are extremely knowledgeable. It’s a revelation to be in such close proximity to them and chat about food, ask questions and laugh. For the seven-course menu, head to the dining room. An installation of birds from artist Jenifer Thoem hangs above one wall. A nonfunctioning garage door to the right reminds diners of the casualness of Lazy Betty.
The dining room
WHAT TO EAT The menu rotates often, so you’ll never eat here twice and have the same lineup. A recent highlight includes a cauliflower “bone marrow” dish. Served with sourdough, Vidalia onion marmalade with a slight smoked-hickory flavor and cauliflower mousse, these little handheld darlings are Jedi mind-trickery; they actually mimic the taste of bone marrow. Another showstopper? Pastry sous-chef Lindsey Davis’ totally Instagrammable pina colada pre-dessert (pre-dessert!). If you didn’t know any better, you might think it was made just for Boomerangs. An intermezzo palate-cleansing dish, it’s made with whipped coconut bavarois, coconut sponge, pineapple coulis and coconut-lime water wafers. For the main sweet event, enjoy the Chef’s Counter Tasting Menu of peach yogurt, jasmine sorbet and caramel blondie. If you want to go casual, a la carte offerings are now available in the lounge for walk-ins as well: Think dishes like a Madras-spiced duck rillette with sour cherries; or salmon tartare with Persian cucumbers and squid ink chip.
Cauliflower bone marrow made with a Vidalia onion marmalade and smoked hickory cauliflower mousse.
WHAT TO DRINK Behind the bar, mixologists are creating some pretty unique cocktails. Again, just like the food, they rotate, so keep your eyes peeled for the Lawless, Dekalb Ave and The Lazy Vesper.
WHO TO BRING Anyone—literally. General Manager Peter Hill shared that Lazy Betty’s first reservation was a couple who brought their infant. But the team at Lazy Betty didn’t even blink an eye. After all, it’s the kind of restaurant that has changing stations in both the male and female restrooms. It’s perfect for a tête-à-tête, a special occasion, rendezvous, date night, girls’ night, boys’ night. … However you dice it, Lazy Betty is an equal-opportunity dining experience. Ten-course tasting menu $165 (including gratuity), seven-course tasting menu $125 (including gratuity), a la carte from $14, 1530 DeKalb Ave. NE, Ste. F, @lazybettyatl
Photography by: Photos courtesy of: Heather Fulbright