Omnivore - Birth of a dining critic

This is cool. When I was a teenager, I wrote a column for my school paper, but it wasn't about food. In fact, I don't think it ever crossed my mind to write a dining review. I don't even remember any discussion about the idea.

How things change. The following review of the new Peasant Bistro is by Arielle D'Avanzo, a member of the class of 2008 at Grady High School. She wrote the review for the school paper and graciously agreed to let us reprint it here:

Peasant Bistro, the newest culinary creation developed by Maureen Kalmanson and Pamela Fur, opened its doors on Feb. 28. Kalmanson, who along with Fur owns Mick’s downtown and Pleasant Peasant, both on Peachtree Street, worked as a manager for the original Peasant Restaurants in its heyday and was inspired by the company’s philosophy.

“When I found out that Pleasant Peasant was on the market I knew that’s what I would do, so I bought it out,” said Kalmanson. “Everyone has a story about Peasant. It has a great sense of community about it. For it to change would destroy that.”

The new restaurant, located in downtown Atlanta, features a variety of bistro-oriented dishes with Executive Chef Shane Devereux incorporating country French and Mediterranean influences into the seasonal dishes.

“What I really wanted to do with this restaurant was create a type of restaurant found in Lyon, one that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté, roast pork, and is done really well,” Kalmanson said. “This is exactly what Shane had been doing in Philadelphia and where he also wanted to go. He applied here to be our sous chef, and at the time I was going to hire an executive chef as well, but I decided not to do that because I wanted to see what he could do. It turns out that he has risen to the occasion and done a tremendous job.”

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