(Photo courtesy of watershedrestaurant.com)
The southern belle crew (Riche and a dear friend Sara) decided to hit the town on Friday night and try a “new to us” restaurant that has been getting lots of great press. Watershed on Peachtree (originally located in a converted gas station in Decatur) was the location for our dining out adventure. Having been named “one of the best new restaurants in the American South” by Conde Nast magazine, I thought it would a fitting location for this southern belle to visit. I was looking forward to the food presented by Chef Joe Truex and enjoying the overall vibe of the restaurant co-owned by Emily Saliers (of the Grammy winning Indigo Girls).
Located on the ground floor of The Brookwood (a luxe condo high-rise located between Midtown and Buckhead), we were able to take advantage of the free valet service and head in for some predinner cocktails. Upon entering the building, we were greeted by a quote on the outside wall setting the tone for our evening. “Watershed — That area of land within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.” – Wesley Powell
The hostesses were eager to great us as we entered the casually elegant restaurant. There was a fantastic bar in the center of the main room and welcoming greys and butter yellows. The overall decor was “southern chic” with clean lines, high ceilings and lots of open space. There was even a quilt that highlighted the recipe of fried-chicken recipe (which some might call famous but we didn’t get to try as it’s only served on Wednesday evenings). Some might say that the acoustics made for a “loud” space but I would say that we were able to carry on conversations easily throughout the evening.
We started with cocktails. In keeping with the ever popular mixology trend, the cocktails boasted clever names with a twist on the traditional recipe…a Southern Manhattan for example. Moving onto the menu, with a refined and re-imagined southern bayou theme, we started with the blue crab fritters and the starter special of a duck confit with chanterelle mushrooms. The crab fritters were prepared nicely…a light, crispy exterior with a sweet crab filling. Good but not as “epic” as our server made them sound. The started special of duck confit, however, was absolutely worthy of its high praise from our server! The perfectly cured duck thigh was rendered in its own fat and then pan-fried to be served well-browned and crisp. The duck was then accompanied by properly seasoned and earthy chanterelle mushrooms. Very tasty and the highlight for all of three of us for the starter round!
Moving onto our entrees. Sara chose, “Joe’s Jambalaya”. A deconstructed jambalaya with n.c. catfish, butter poached shrimp, grilled andouille, fried oysters, crab and rice croquette and crawfish étouffée. One of the favorites at the table, the presentation was perfect and the flavors ample. I must also make note of the bottom portion of the picture with the macaroni and cheese. Again a favorite of the table, the top was perfectly crusted while the inside was a unique consistency of a soufflé mixed with al dente pasta and creamy sharp cheese.
Riche chose the bone-in pork chop complete with spicy collard greens and bacon jam. The overall dish was very flavorful but we did notice that the pork chop was a bit on the “fattier” side but there was bacon jam…need we say more?
I chose a seafood option with the flounder and long beans with tomatoes. On the lighter side, I was pleased overall with the dish. The fish was prepared perfectly, so that each bite flaked nicely with a fork and the beans were quite flavorful with the tomatoes on top.
For dessert, the table shared the bourbon pecan tart and the hot milk cake with sea salt caramel icing. The bourbon pecan tart was tasty but the best that I’ve ever had. The hot milk cake however was a delightful end to a filling meal. It was an “airy” cake topped with a caramel icing and sprinkled sea salt. Delicious!!!
Overall, I would recommend Watershed on Peachtree if you are looking for a fun evening out with friends and enjoy southern food with a twist. I have a few other southern restaurants that I would rank ahead of Watershed if I were going to list them in order but for the Midtown area, I would say that it is a strong pick!