Besides late-afternoon rainstorms, barbecues by the pool and long, lazy days, there’s nothing that defines summer more perfectly than fresh food from the garden. And that garden-to-table meal doesn’t get much better than the irresistible fare from Linton’s in the Garden.
Acclaimed chef Linton Hopkins, who’s other famed Atlanta restaurants include Restaurant Eugene, Holeman and Finch Public House, H&F Burger and Hop’s Chicken to name a few, created a stunning garden retreat that offers vibrant plates of fresh, wholesome food. But here’s the kicker that puts Linton’s over the top for a wonderful afternoon of dining with friends: it’s located in the heart of the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Standing inside one of Atlanta’s most gorgeous, lush settings, Linton’s in the Garden really holds up to its name. The restaurant is a gourmet oasis set within one of the most beautiful settings in the state, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows that create a feeling of eating outdoors even when you’re inside. Combined with the patio seating and a gorgeous rooftop terrace, this dining space confirms that there is no bad seat in the house and exudes a feeling that where you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Everything on the menu is delicious but our favorites include Salad Niçoise — featuring seared and confit tuna, potatoes, haricot vert, radish, egg and olive tapenade — as well as the Paneed Mountain Trout, with dandelion greens, Tennessee bacon, creamed scallions and fried onions. We at StyleBlueprint (and you, our readers) are very lucky since Jason Paolini, executive chef of Linton’s, has exclusively shared with us the recipe for a version of that trout dish (see below)! This lunch and dinner menu selection is full of smoky flavor, enticing textures and cool ingredients, and now is your chance to recreate the item in your own kitchen. The recipe is at the bottom of this article and we want to emphatically thank Jason for sharing his amazing culinary talents with all of us.
Linton’s in the Garden is a glass menagerie, offering a huge menu of fresh plates like seared grouper with butter beans, squash and Tasso ham, skillet chicken livers and a fully loaded charcuterie plate that will make you weep with joy.
If you have a busy afternoon planned perusing ABG and don’t have time for a seated meal, Linton’s offers a grab-and-go area to try some wonderful, easy-to-eat menu items at the Quick Café, including roasted vegetable focaccia and great sweets like chocolate mousse and lemon bars. The Petit Café, located near the Great Lawn, has a few outdoor tables to enjoy Linton’s on-the-go items and snacks like pimento cheese with pita chips, chicken salad sandwich, Spotted Trotter hot dogs and other tasty items.
Think of dining at Linton’s in the Garden as a bonus experience — admission to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is required to enjoy this fabulous food of Chef Hopkins, so you know that you’ll have great pre- and post-meal entertainment. The restaurant offers an enviable encounter where the latter half of “dinner and a movie” is replaced by the ultimate show: nature.
Griddle Mountain Trout with Creamed Vidalia Greens, Dandelion and Fried Vidalia Onions
- 2 filets of trout de-boned with skin on
- 1 Tablespoon peanut oil to sauté
- 6 cups peanut oil to fry
- 2 cups thinly shaved green onions
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 leafs of dandelion greens
- 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Vidalia onion
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups seasoned flour dredge
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to season
- In a cast iron skillet, griddle the trout, skin side down, in a Tablespoon of peanut oil until the skin is crisp (about 3 minutes).
- Flip the fish and finish cooking about 30 seconds
- In a sauce pot, gently sauté the greens in butter, about 1 minute.
- Add the cream, on low heat, and let the cream reduce while cooking the onions (about 5 to 10 minutes). Micro plane a pinch of nutmeg into the greens and season with salt and pepper
- Note: Make the greens a few minutes before searing the trout.
- Rinse and dry the dandelion greens.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Next, whisk in the olive oil.
- Dress the dandelions with the lemon vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper
- Note: Toss the greens right before serving.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch. Season the flour mixture with salt and pepper.
- Slice the onions into rings. Place the onions into the buttermilk and then dredge in the flour. Make sure to get the excess buttermilk off the ring before dredging. Once onions have been dredged in the flour, fry immediately.
- Fill a sauce pot halfway with peanut oil and heat to 350 degrees. Fry the onions at 350 until golden brown and crisp (about 3 minutes).
- Remove the onions from the fryer, place on a cooling rack or a paper towel to allow the oil to run off and the rings to cool.
TO PLATE: On two separate plates, add the creamed onions in the center then place the trout, skin side up, over the greens. Place the dressed dandelion greens on top of the fish with the fried onions on top of the greens.
Keep up with all of the amazing things going on in Atlanta’s bustling food scene by checking out our “Restaurants” section.