Monday, March 22, 2010
406 W. Ponce de Leon, Decatur, GA www.watershedrestaurant.com
Kyle, my grandmother and I had brunch at Watershed yesterday. Watershed is located in the heart of "cute" Decatur. The restaurant is housed in a former gas station, and is painted in greens and white with bright blue glassware sitting on white shelves inside. It's the perfect place to go in the springtime, because that's the feel you get there.
I've been to Watershed at least thirty times over the past eight or so years, so this review reflects all my experiences.
Scott Peacock is the head chef at Watershed. You may have seen or heard of Scott. He's been featured within the last year on Good Morning America's Saturday show and has a section of the Better Homes and Gardens Annual cookbook (either 2007 or 2008, I can't remember which). He's also authored an awesome cookbook with the late, great Edna Lewis, empress of Southern cooking.
Watershed serves my favorite brunch in Atlanta. I'm not saying it's the cheapest, or the best deal - that would be Cafe 458 (which I previously reviewed). However, the service at Watershed is much more consistent and several of the servers have been there for 5+ years. The menu features some great items, such as the sausage gravy and buttermilk biscuits ($9), which I tried for the first time yesterday. The biscuits were a little small, but they were flaky and buttery, and the gravy was chunky, with big pieces of mildly spicy bulk sausage.
Kyle and my grandmother ordered my usual brunch favorite, the French Toast with candied bacon ($13). The candied bacon is rich and delicious, but the caramelized sugar has a bad tendency to stick in one's teeth. The French toast is very thick and golden, and it's topped with powdered sugar and fruit. The fruit in this case was sliced strawberries. You can't not love it.
Watershed offers Bloody Mary's and Mimosas at breakfast, and my personal non-alcoholic beverage, the steamed milk with honey ($3.50). I have never seen this on another menu in Atlanta.
Speaking of Atlanta menus, the first time I ever saw shrimp grits on one was at Watershed. They've kept the same awesome recipe for years. The grits ($9 are incredibly creamy and the shrimp is ground up in little bits, so diners who like the flavor but not the texture of shrimp will be pleased. It's served with a long "plank" of super-buttery bread. You'll want to eat this all day, it's so good. Note: shrimp grits are served any time EXCEPT for Sunday brunch.
For lunch, I like to order the white truffle chicken salad sandwich ($9). Yes, it is as good and sinful as it sounds. Another great bet is the garlic and thyme roasted pork sandwich with fig conserve, fresh cheese and Dijon mustard. It's a tasty combination of sweet, sour and tart. The pimento cheese sandwich is fine, but overpriced at $8. The chocolate cake is generally praised, but I found it to be a little disappointing - not chocolaty enough, not moist enough, etc. I'm a chocolate cake fanatic though, so if you're looking for something simple this might be just the ticket for you.
In all the times I've been to Watershed I've never had dinner there. One reason for that is that I'm happy with the brunch and lunch, and the dinner menu is noticeably more expensive. If you're OK with paying $19-$38 per entree than be my guest. You might want to partake of the extensive wine list while you're there.
One final note about Watershed. They make an effort to serve locally grown produce. I had the best lima beans I've ever eaten in my life here a couple of years ago as part of the veggie plate.
Verdict: My favorite brunch in Atlanta. When not brunching, don't miss out on the shrimp grits.