In my wife’s lexicon, our meal at Empire State South has become “The Disaster”, a peculiar way to speak about a meal where of the 5 dishes we ate, 4 were nominally good and 3 were really good. But there were service issues and a difficult to navigate menu, which amplified the problems my wife often has in new restaurants. As for me, I knew upon reading the restaurant menu days before that it would present difficulties to someone such as me. This restaurant is a little too fond of sweets on meats, of putting jams, jellies and preserves on their proteins, and in general appears to design dishes for the carb loaders of the world. But I was thinking, get a salad, get an entree, what could go wrong?

The bottle of water at the table was a nice touch.

For one, this was the salad – the only salad – we had available to us:

Pretty, and my wife thought it tasty. But when she ordered it, she was expecting at least some lettuce and carrots, perhaps a tomato or two. Instead, she ended up with the beast that was soon dubbed the diabetic coma salad, and of course though she asked for the dressing to be put on the side, it was not. Staff, it seemed, weren’t paying that much attention to what she was asking for.

Entrees came, along with a side of collards.

Shrimp and grits. Really good, smoky flavor in the grits.

My daughter loved her shrimp and grits. This was by far the most successful dish we had. “The grits were a little smoky,” she told me. The smoked trout had a very mixed reception, however.

While I thought my trout to be a trout on a biscuit in terms of size, it at least delivered a ton of intense smoky flavor. My wife’s trout, on the other hand, was dosed in enough of a citrus dressing that it was spoiled for her. I believe the same dressing was used on the tomato next to the fish. Staff blunder #2.

The collards: again, a very small serving of food, but quite good, first rate.

We were offered desserts, but we found none of them appealing.

To summarize, our experience was mixed. The technical skill of this restaurant is high, and when they could deliver food, they did so well. But the menu choices leave much to be desired for someone who eats like me. As a result, I can only recommend this restaurant to certain types of people.

If you’re a foodie, of the kind for whom others can have your bagel when they pry it from your cold, dead hands, then run, don’t walk to Empire State South. For diabetics, people on diets, people with food issues in general, the menu, as I found it, is not for you and I cannot recommend this restaurant.

To note, I believe there are easy fixes to my issues, such as providing a simple house salad, shorn of carbs, or providing entrees with vegetable choices more akin to the “Super Food” item, seen here and here. But until I see them, I can’t recommend Empire State South in general.

Empire State South
999 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 541-1105

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