Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Iberian Pig, Decatur, GA

Wow.  I don't even know where to begin in describing the embarrassment of riches we sampled along with UD's cousin and her spousal unit when we visited The Iberian Pig on our Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta.  Let's just say we had a lot to be thankful for.

Spanish tapas are my favorite cuisine to begin with (tapas being the perfect choice for commitmentphobe foodies).  Can't decide? There's a simple solution...order one of everything!  And that's pretty much what we did.

The resto is warm, cozy and dimly lit with lots of dark wood and a convivial vibe.  We received exceptional service from every staff member we encountered and our server was extremely knowledgeable and helpful as she guided us through the menu over the course of the evening.

First up, a special of the evening - "Balls of Fury".  The plump, savory meatballs (comprised of a blend of lamb, rabbit, pork and Wagyu beef) luxuriating in a bath of red pepper romesco sauce and créma were mind-blowingly good and imparted a pleasing snap of spice at the end.

We I found it necessary to request a second batch of the chewy, Benton's bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Manchego and walnuts to abort a potential brawl over who would take that fifth one.  I had already staked a claim in my mind...but feeling awash in the spirit of the season, I was loathe to leave family members pulling back bloody stumps...so I suggested the diplomatic route.

The bones of these juicy little lamb ribs shellacked with Kalimotxo (a Basque beverage combining wine and cola) sauce and presented atop lemon-herb rice grits looked like they'd been bleaching in the desert sun for six months after we had our way with them.

Huevo con Trufa (slow roasted pork cheeks topped with a poached egg, a generous slathering of black truffles, and served with toasted rustic bread for carrying all of the aforementioned decadence) was a study in opulent richness.  Almost (but not quite) too much so.  The pork cheeks were amazing in and of themselves, but were elevated once the egg was broken and seeped into the dish. Then, the scent of the truffles inundated our olfactory nerves with their pungent luxuriousness.  Sensory overload!

As impossible as it seems, we had not yet had our fill of pork.  Thus, slow roasted pork cheek tacos with fire roasted corn salsa, avocado créma, arugula and fresh lime were invited to the party (and, yay!, there were four). Delightful.

At the halfway point in our tapas orgy, Cousin Steve apparently began feeling a tad remorseful about his porcine intake and sought healthy redemption via a skillet of Oven Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts, Marcona almonds, ancho chile and beet créma (obviously, he and I are not related by blood).  However...I must confess that the veggies were stunningly presented and quite tasty with caramelized edges abounding.  Who ever decided that plant food should be boiled?  Bring me his head!!

OMFG is all I can say about Manchego Mac 'N' Cheese. Garganelli pasta is baked in Manchego-pork belly cream and topped with butter toasted Panko breadcrumbs and fresh thyme.  The combination of the nutty/silken/salty sauce and al dente pasta will bring a tear to your eye.  This gooey trough of wonder falls into the "Last Meal on Death Row" category of good, and is available for the almost unbelievable price of $6.50.

My fellow funghi lovers will positively swoon over the earthy Morcilla & Mushroom Toast (Morcilla sausage with roasted wild mushrooms, rustic bread, blackberry-port gastrique and Manchego sauce). Mushroom Paradise found.

We all have regrets...right?  If a low point of our gastronomic frenzy must be identified, the Crispy Eggplant Fries with spicy aoli were eschewed across the board.  We all agreed that the eggplant (which had been fried to the consistency of mush) was overpowered by its heavy breading.

While almost everything we tried was pretty remarkable, I have to pin the blue ribbon of the evening on  the "Foiench” Toast.  Probably the most beautiful lobe of pan seared Hudson Valley foie gras I have ever seen was presented reclining atop lavender mascarpone-stuffed brioche french toast, accented with blackberry gastrique, bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and raspberry compound butter.  Nothing short of orgasmic, I must say that this was perhaps the most memorable foie gras offering I've ever tasted...and I've eaten a lot of it.  At $18, this sweet and savory delicacy was the most expensive tapas dish we ordered (and was SO worth it).

As I eat my way through life, I'm constantly trying to identify the "Top 10 Best Restaurants" I've ever experienced.  I've been privileged to enjoy many unforgettable meals and ranking them has proven to be a challenge to which I'm unable to rise.  I feel fairly comfortable, however, in saying that The Iberian Pig at least deserves a spot in the top 25.  Just. Freaking. Amazing.  And the most astonishing part is that our party of four enjoyed everything mentioned plus two bottles of Argentinean wine (and three additional servings by the glass) for $220 before gratuity.  I would drive from Tampa to Atlanta just to do this again.


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My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so delicious!! Next time you come this way, let us know :) Would love to meet you two in person.