Spoonfed (Atlanta)

Mark Petko photographs Atlanta's culinary scene.

The Iberian Pig

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pigs fly?

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Pork Cheek Tacos, fire roasted corn salsa, avocado creme, arugula, lime.

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The Iberian Pig

121 Sycamore St.

Decatur, GA 30030

p. 404.371.8800

www.iberianpigatl.com (link)

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One can learn quite a bit about fires while waiting for a chef that has run into car troubles.  I started setting up for my scheduled shoot and found myself suddenly, left alone…locked in a restaurant I’ve never been in, by people I had just met.  There came a knock at the door and my first instinct was to ignore it, until I realized that the wall of glass between me and the inquiring party would not be sufficient cover to possum-up…(damn it).  He looked official.  I cracked the door open and was introduced to one of the Decatur Fire Department’s inspectors.  It was time for the Iberian’s yearly inspection, even though they opened just a month or so ago.

I told the officer my dilemma, “I don’t work here, the owner just left and said he would be back in about 10 to 15 minutes, could you come back?”

He smiled and explained how he needed to look around.  He didn’t seem ‘in the mood’ to come back later and told me if he wasn’t able to do an inspection then a liquor license could be in the balance.  Liquor isn’t really that important to a brand new restaurant…right?  I weighed the odds.  This isn’t my house.  I don’t have the authority to open the doors all willy-nilly and let just anybody parade around, from what I gather there is some expensive hog somewhere in the back.  What if he is one of a herd of thug-foodies, faking his way to an open door and then decides to barge in, tie me up with kitchen string and make off with thousands of dollars of expensive hoofs’n such?  Judging by his attire I decided he was legit but then persisted in my paranoia.  What if the owner left knowing that the inspector was coming?  Is everything here up to code?  Am I gonna let this guy in and watch as he writes an endless list of all the things that could be wrong, only to have the owner return, given citation and then engage me in degrading commentary, kicking my camera off it’s tripod, and smashing my lights…crap…I love that camera. I gathered myself and came to the decision that I would take whatever consequences arise, sacrificing my camera versus their liquor license, and opened the door and let the inspector in.

During the time while we waited (correction, I waited…he inspected), I inquired about the finer points of working as a fireman, doing inspections, firehouses, shifts and spotted dogs.  I came to understand that the Iberian was not in any violations and felt good about my decision to save the day, and a liquor license, yet still moved my camera from my tripod to around my neck…just in case.  The owner soon returned and greeted the inspector as kindly as he had greeted me, ready to oblige any requests, my mind eased.  All is well, drink on Decatur…and pig out!

The Iberian Pig is the latest venture from the Castellucci Hospitality Group, owners and operators of Sugo restaurants.  Self described as ” a concept to diners looking for something out of the ordinary.  Combining the tastes of Spain with a fresh, eclectic, American social atmosphere…” The Iberian Pig is headed by Chef Chad Crete a graduate of the Hospitality School at Cornell University.  From their website: Our menu is the combined vision of Federico Castellucci, III and Chad Crete.  The focus in on traditional cured meats, cheeses, tapas dishes, salads, cocas (flatbreads), and main plates.  Cured meats are served with a toasted baguette and espresso aioli and each cheese is served with its own accompaniment.  The Iberico ham along with the other meats and cheeses are sliced in view of the customers and pedestrians enjoying Decatur Square.  All dishes are created in house with a strong focus on local and organic ingredients.

Recent article on The Iberian Pig from Jezebel Magazine by Misty Milioto

Also:  Creative Loafing’s Besha Rodell’s review.

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Heirloom tomato gazpacho, heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, watermelon foam, white balsamic reduction, seasonal fruit, chilean extra virgin olive oil

Cabrito Carbonara: Slow roasted goat, chitarra pasta in carbonara sauce with Benton's bacon, fresh cream, and poached egg

Cabrito Carbonara: Slow roasted goat, chitarra pasta in carbonara sauce with Benton's bacon, fresh cream, and poached egg

The Iberian Burger: American Wagyu beef, bacon onion relish, mahon cheese, toasted bun

The Iberian Burger: American Wagyu beef, bacon onion relish, mahon cheese, toasted bun

daily bread

daily bread

Go!…tell’em you heard everything but the squeal at “spoonfed”…

All images and words ©2009 Mark Petko Photography

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Written by Mark Petko

November 11th, 2009 at 10:12 am