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Good for the Soul
Munching on soul food while looking at bikinis during swim week seems just about as incongruous as South Beach’s latest Southern installment, Georgia’s Union. (For those who need reminding, the Peach State fought on the side of the Confederacy.)The down-home restaurant with a kitschy greenhouse theme isn’t an ordinary deep-fried palace, though. This spot touts a clean-living mantra, from its use of organic produce to its cooking methods.
“We’re shooting for comfort food without the heart surgery,” said executive chef Nate Martin, who goes beyond eschewing trans fats by using buckwheat flour for biscuits and baby kale in salads.
The decor is loaded with quaint items from Granny’s backyard, like patio furniture, or a large communal table that conjures up the Mad Hatter’s tea party, with crystal chandeliers, mismatched furniture and tabletop wares, and many tiny vases with casual country flowers. One wall is all moss, another is potted orchids, plus there are large trees inside.
Fried catfish served in a skillet atop a wooden plank is surprisingly light, especially with a douse of the house’s chipotle hot sauce in lieu of tartar sauce. Sides provoke the real saint-versus-sinner showdown — to choose smoked okra and tomatoes or creamy cheese grits?
Martin’s upbringing in the Texas boonies made a deep impression; his grandmother’s recipes abound, such as her chicken and dumplings gussied up with duck and soft gnocchi — unlike the lumpy bits most of us remember.
And finally, “This was the dessert we ate every night when I was a kid,” he said, setting down bread in a glass — an ideally unsweet parfait of banana pudding, cornmeal cake and whipped cream.
1787 Purdy Avenue, Tel.: 305-397-8753, Web: georgiasunion.com