Chez Madeleine

Monday, December 04, 2006

Celebrity Spotting at Shaun's


When I heard that Shaun's was opening in the once-grand, now-defunct spot where the Inman Park Patio used to live, I was excited. One more Edgewood eatery I could add to my long list of "things that have improved my property value since I moved in". I mean seriously, I'm not sure if I can take all of the credit for effectively moving the culinary epicenter of Atlanta to within two blocks of my house, but I think its fair to say that this little gourmet is attracting quite the flock of restauranteurs to her 'hood.

Shaun Doty has had a long and successful career in Atlanta, as owner and chef at MidCity Cuisine, and then for a brief stint at Table 1280 which I wrote about several months ago. Apparantly the man has a temper. Our waitress at Taurus a few months ago told us

"Yeah, Shaun is the kind of guy who is nice one minute, and then the next minute he throws a chair at your head."

We got the distinct impression that she was speaking about herself in the 3rd person when I spotted a little bump on her noggin.

Our evening at Shaun's actually began on Monday of that week when I called to reserve a table for Saturday night. The reservation went rather quickly, but we were confirmed for 4 on Saturday. About a half an hour later, the phone rang. It was Shaun's--confirming my reservation. Thorough, those hostesses. They probably have to be in order to avoid the chair-throwing rage that Shaun goes into when he's mad.

The extra-thorough, or extra-confused hostesses at Shaun's actually confirmed my reservation 7 times between Monday and Saturday. New restaurant. Or erasable ink or something in the reso book.

The highlight of our evening was being seated at the communal table. Shaun actually stole this idea from me. I've been talking about having a French communal farm table at my future restaurant since I was 5. I can't believe I got trumped on my own street. But anyway, we were at the center of the communal table-sort of stuck between a group of beautiful couples, and a couple that was spewing hatred for communal eating.

We communal communists loved it however. We felt that we were at the center of the restaurant-sandwiched between the kitchen and the door. Later, sandwiched between an ambiguously gay couple and a couple who was sharing each other's food. Sandwiched nonetheless.

We started with cocktails. A girl needs a cocktail as spicy or delicate as she is, and we found some pretty good matches on the menu.

I chose the calvados cocktail: calvados apple brandy, cointreau, orange juice and soda, served up. Kathleen, the stinger that she is, went with the ruby red eye: absolut ruby red, campari and fresh grapefruit on crushed ice. Emily, playing it very sweet, chose to imbibe on the mistral mimosa: prosecco with lavender, honey and lemon.


In the meantime, the people next to us left angrily with bitter words for the waitress. We should've warned them about the chair-throwing. They said "you tell Shaun we don't like the bread or the communal table", and they took their 1982 BYO bottle of expensiveness and stormed out with the flair of teenage girls.

Instead of leaving in an angry rage, we instead chose the maryland crab cake with ground mustard butter and the butternut squash raviolis with ameretti, sage, pine nut foam. I was having pleasure spasms from the combination of the butternut squash and the amaretti cookies crumbled on top when Emily snapped me out of it and told me that Giada from the Food Network invented that combo.



Kathleen chose white shrimp and grits with berkshire pork, poached egg. I loved this giant glass bowl. How minimalist.


This is a terrible photo of Emily's parmesan risotto with henmushrooms and black truffle butter. I was trying to be subtle by using no flash so that I wouldn't wreck my chances of spotting a celebrity.


My painted hills skirt steak with capers, watercress, hazelnuts, and parmesan fries was incredible. Warm, medium-rare steak topped with fries that were dredged and dredged again in the saltiest, nutties parmesan.


And then just when I was about to have to leave Shaun's without a celebrity sighting, Jeff from the Bert Show came in with Jessica (his wife) from Jessica Shops. They were seated directly behind us. And I took this far away, dark, indistinguishable photo of them behind Emily.


After Jeff & Jessica, there really wasn't anything that could top the night for me, so when our warm chocolate brioche pizza with homemade marshmallows came, it was just an "eh" for me. I tossed back a homemade marshmallow and thanked Atlanta for being one of those places where seeing B-list celebrities can still make a girl happy.

As we left, I thought I might have heard the sound of Shaun throwing a chair...but maybe it was just the pitter patter of celebrities rushing to eat at Shaun's....



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