Omnivore - Spring has sprung at the Glenwood

Today is the first day of Spring and chefs around town will be debuting their seasonal menus during the next few weeks. We checked out the new menu at the Glenwood (1263 Glenwood Ave., 404-622-6066) in East Atlanta Village last night.

Let's get the usual explanations out of the way. The gastro pub's chef, Ryan Stewart, is the husband of our cuisine editor, Besha Rodell. Also, I was recognized. One of the kitchen staff is Angel Sutor (bottom photo), whom I've known a zillion years, since she was chef at St. Agnes Tea Garden in Decatur. Angel has been on quite an adventure in recent years, including gigs in Jacksonville and Savannah. Her style and wit seem a good match for the Glenwood's staff and clientele.

Angel is expected to take a significant role in the Glenwood's expansion plans. Within the next two months, the restaurant will expand into the adjoining space. The new dining room will include a wine bar featuring charcuterie and cheeses. Stewart's regular menu will also be served in the new space. Here's extra good news: the new room will be smoke-free and the music will be turned down low enough to converse without screaming or using sign language.

Honestly, we had a wonderful meal, but by all means check it out for yourself. I've been eating a lot of decent but not very creative Mexican food in the last few weeks and I was especially impressed with Stewart's crispy quesadilla containing a soft-shell crab and fried tomatillo salsa, topped with some salad greens and radish slices (top photo). I also got a sample of the mole he makes (for a dish of duck chilaquiles with orange-braised chicory). I'm not kidding: I don't know a Mexican restaurant in the city serving dishes of equal quality.

Wayne ordered a bento box containing salmon cured in green tea, soba noodles, wakami (seaweed), dashi and creme fraiche with a bit of fish roe. (Stewart is playing with the classic of lox and cream cheese with this dish.)

For an entree, I had slices of grilled lamb arranged on a balsamic-streaked plate about a mound of ratatouille and a large dollop of sunchoke puree (above, right). The lamb, mildly seasoned and cooked medium rare, was delicious but I'd order the dish again just for the puree. In fact, I want a bowl of the stuff. The ratatouille, a dish that is usually overcooked and overwhelmed by tomatoes, was just as notable. You can actually taste the eggplant!

Wayne ordered a hunk of grilled salmon served over an interesting waffle made of white sweet potatoes and braised baby spinach (above left). Candied baby carrots were also on the plate. Everything was cooked perfectly, but I've got to admit the dish — from the glaze of the fish to the glaze of the carrots — was too sweet to our taste. But, hey, I like bitter flavors.

Speaking of sweetness, we shared an absurd dessert — a "smores sundae" made with housemade chocolate-malt ice cream, marshmallow fluff and "brulee bananas." This joins a dessert menu that also features fried Oreos with vanilla ice cream and rhubarb crisp.

The menu includes other additions like a braised rabbit papardelle with olives and spring vegetables, and parmesan-crusted halibut with artichoke barrigoule and tapenade bruschetta. Stewart uses local, organic produce and meats whenever possible.

If you have tips about spring menus at other restaurants, please email me or use the comments space.

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