Once in a while, I get to eat fancy. A reward for regularly eating cheap-but-delicious-eats in my food ‘hood of Duluth, BuHi, and Suwanee. I’ve seen so many drool-worthy photos of the food here on Instagram and been wanting to visit. My dinner party of three couldn’t secure reservations so we tried our luck and arrived at 9:45pm. The place was packed to the brim on this Thursday night but after waiting 20 minutes, we finally got a table. If you like expansive, modern space and a vibrant atmosphere then this is the place for you. Added bonus for seeing the most interesting and beautiful people of Buckhead.
We ordered six appetizers and three mains, a conservative move given my famous eating style of eating the entire menu. But since the kitchen’s last call is a little after 11PM, we really couldn’t order a lot more, have a good pacing of our dishes, and still beat closing time. So reluctantly, we chose what we thought would be a good representation of the kitchen skills.
First up, the popovers. If you grew up in Atlanta like I did, you’ll recognize these from the first restaurant to ever serve them in the city: The Zodiac. Doesn’t sound familiar? That’s because they now call themselves the NM Cafe. From the famous department store. Growing up, no trip to Lenox Square was complete without our mom taking us to The Zodiac for popovers and burgers. The version of the airy, eggy muffins at K+D is smaller, denser, and yeastier. Just the way I like them. I could eat six of these easily in one sitting. Oh wait… I did! Slather them with the accompanying whipped buttermilk butter for a fantastic bread appetizer. Or eat more for dessert which I also did.
Quail and Rabbit Terrine. Topped with a thin sheet of moonshine gelée and a dollop of housemade whole grain mustard, it was simply amazing. Most terrines I’ve tasted reeked of gaminess but not this one. The texture and the flavors were just so perfect.
Beet Salad. Not your ordinary beet salad. This had feta from sheep’s milk made earlier in the day and came with fresh oranges, marinated cucumbers, wood-roasted farm carrots, and harissa that was really nice and added another dimension of flavor to the simple vinaigrette dressing.
Beef Tartare. All I can remember is that it was awesome. I was getting food ADHD at this point. Kitchen is closing soon, delicious dishes piling up at the table.
Buttermilk Fried Quail. This should come as a main dish. Thin and crispy buttermilk coating, tasty quail, and the best romesco I’ve tasted aside from my grandma’s. So yummy.
Roasted Bone Marrow. Top three in my book. This one had a sweetish short rib marmalade with both crispy and tender pieces of shredded short rib, and some smoked mushroom salad. Most versions in other places are bland and only get the flavors from the accompanying ingredients. But not this one. This one had flavor so you don’t just taste a glob of fat. Brilliant.
Crab Toast. Fresh blue crab in a simple lemon-dill base with charred chiles, avocados, and thin slices of radish. These are so refreshing and you can really taste the sea from the freshness of the crab meat.
Now for the mains. The portions are huge so keep that in mind. I’m a big eater so I have no problems putting away everything that lands on the table. The Gum Creek Pork Roast came with substantial slices of pork loin and a thick slab of rib. They were wonderfully cooked and served with a thick au jus, grilled kale, and sour cherries. I’m tired of seeing pork dishes served with some kind of apple so I was really pleased to see sour cherries instead. Inventive and delicious.
Mississippi Rabbit. This roasted rabbit was void of any gaminess you often see everywhere else. The meat is juicy and flavorful. The sweetish savory au jus really went well with the meat. My sister really enjoyed this dish especially since it came with farro salad.
But the winner of all the delicious mains was the Roast Peking Duck. It had everything that makes an amazing dish. Crispy leg, tender and juicy breast, spit roasted in coal. There are red mustard greens and plums that really brought out the flavors of the meat yet didn’t clash at all. Genius.
I’m not a big dessert fan. I’m a breadgetarian so I opted to eat more of the popovers. But my sister is a huge dessert eater and requested the brilliant Pastry Chef Chrysta Poulos, who was in the house, to make her gluten-free desserts. How I ended up with a sister who loves salads and eats gluten-free is beyond me.
This sundae is what you get when a normal sundae dresses up for a party and rides in a muscle car.
This cheesecake is like the math whiz in class.
Mutiple visits are definitely a must. I want to try the candied lamb belly appetizer, the burger, the roasted lobster, and maybe even a fish dish. You can make your visit as expensive as you want depending on the dishes and amount of appetizers you order or make it simple and just have appetizers. You can also get the dinner for two which is a great deal. Our bill for three people for all the food, desserts, and two diet cokes came to close to $160. And though I can’t ball here every week or even a couple of times a month, that’s a little over $50 for each person before tip. Not bad considering the amount of food we ate. Definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in the city. Solid all around — food, service, space, ambiance. Chef Joe Schafer is brilliant.
King + Duke
3060 Peachtree Rd NW,
Atlanta, GA 30305