Atlanta Cuisine : by Tom Maicon : View the complete article at atlantacuisine.com .
The early chatter had Boyd Rose as opening chef at Peach & The Porkchop (12040 Etris Road, Roswell, GA 30075) for owner Chuck Staley. And that makes sense. He’s a Johnson & Whales alumn; his resume includes work under famed Chef Robert Carter at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC; Rose is a humble likable guy who lives in the neighborhood.
And, don’t forget about the large local fan base he amassed during a long stint he pulled at nearby Milton’s.
It all makes sense. But for some reason it never panned out, and owner Chuck Staley went seeking a chef.
Somehow an unlikely young chef by the name of Matt Meacham (30 years old) earned the job. Meacham’s resume certainly wouldn’t make anybody genuflect in his presence; he didn’t attend culinary school; heck, he’d never even previously held the position of top toque before now.
In fact, Meacham’s experience seemed pretty slim coming in — a sous chef position at Indigo under Todd Hogan being the only inkling of measurable experience I could yank out of Staley, besides time spent in the kitchen at Outback, the restaurant chain.
I am guessing Meacham didn’t land the job on the merits of his resume. The more likely scenario is that he actually cooked his way into the position. And anybody who has tried his food at the newly-opened Roswell gastropub can back what I am saying. This. Kid. Can. Cook. I don’t care what his resume says, or doesn’t.
What about the local fan base? Who cares? If Meacham keeps cooking like this, he will build one. In a hurry.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited by a straightforward gastropub menu as I am right now.
Meacham’s version of the cheesesteak sandwich — constructed with shaved Myer rib eye — beats the Cheese Whiz out of any so-called authentic cheesesteak sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Scrutinizing Philadelphians will, of course, publicly denounce Meacham’s rendition, and then resort to being closet fans. Yes, it is that good.
And as good as the kitchen is, the front of the house staff is equally impressive, especially for the suburbs where good service is hard to come by.
The blond behind the bar isn’t just a pretty face, she really knows her craft beer. Try her. And, take her advice when she recommends the pork belly appetizer. It is porky food porn on a stark white plate — and definitely not ordinary pub grub.
The waitstaff is no slouch either, they are trusty and can guide you through the menu without a hitch.
Though, I was shocked by a recommendation for the Zimbo dip, Meacham’s take on the French dip sandwich. I have to admit, my server lost credibility with me — wrongly so — just at the mere thought of it. French dip? Really? That is so 1980s. But if the French dips tasted this good in the 80s, I wouldn’t have quit eating them. I can feel the arbiters of good food cringe as I type this.
The highly recommended Zimbo arrives with in-house roast beef that has serious game; good enough to make even the toughest critic stop and genuflect in its presence. It comes with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, slivers of avocado, melted swiss cheese and a horseradish cream that offers a very slight burn on the finish. Sweet, earthy, creamy, spicy. You get the picture.
Even chicken wings aren’t of the standard pub grub variety. These are plump, meaty things raised on proper diets and roaming privileges; they are sous vide for several hours and then fried to order, giving them a soft, silky texture. The same goes for a fried chicken entree.
Don’t be fooled by price. All ingredients used at Peach & The Porkchop are the among the best you’ll find anywhere. Beef is all Myer and the seafood comes from Dan Ross at nearby Atlantic Express Seafood — some of the best seafood to be had in the Atlanta market. And none of that is compromised when it comes to the kids menu. A very nice gesture.
Everything just seems to have the extra touches that transforms an ordinary place into something special. The light, warm reclaimed wood throughout; little nuances like a copper top at the bar, brussel sprouts and haricot verts finished in a layer luscious duck fat; a carefully chosen beer list; adult milkshakes.
It’s fun. It’s delicious. It’s the kinda’ place we in the restaurant business dream of opening one day, and the kinda’ place we all wish had at the nearby corner.
I am not a fortune teller, nor do I play one on tv. But I predict great things for chef Meacham and the good people at Peach & The Porkchop.