Omnivore - Help a former chef find escargot, Oysters Rockefeller, and chicken fried right

Oral surgery prompts culinary cravings


  • Wikimedia Commons/Thomas Nast
  • Thomas Nast's 1877 depiction of the snail-paced Congress of that year. (Some things never change.)

A longtime, now retired Atlanta chef wrote me yesterday asking for a few "bests" in the city. She's headed for extensive oral surgery and wants to eat a few of her favorite classic dishes beforehand - preferably cheap.

She's looking for Oysters Rockefeller. I'm clueless on this one. It's a dish I totally OD'd on in my 20s. My constantly-absinthe-hunting first partner made the dish at least once a week. (I used to call him Isak, after Isak Dinesen, whose weight-loss diet consisted of oysters and champagne.)

She's also looking for a good classic escargot en croute. I've only eaten escargot a couple of times in recent years - at Atmosphere and at Kevin Rathbun Steak. (Both were good, even though the dish always reminds me of a scary childhood neighbor who used to raise snails in her garden.)

Finally, she wants the best fried chicken in town. She specifies that it be "juicy but with skin that is chicken, not all crunchy batter." I'm not sure about that, either, but I do love the fried chicken at Cardamom Hill, the Colonnade, Carver's, and Busy Bee. I'd include Popeyes, but it's super-battered. (She's already hit Mary Mac's, where the chicken was "dry but the skin was right.")

Any suggestions will be appreciated.