TWO Urban Licks has been an Atlanta staple since 2004. That is a long time in this City when it comes to restaurants. It is one of the busiest restaurants in the city and that is pretty much everyday. I would describe the menu as American cooking with touches of Multi-Cultural influences.
Everyone knows TWO for those legendary salmon chips, I mean you can’t go there and not order them. But since it had probably been about five years since my last visit, I thought I would stop in and see what was new at TWO.
On this trip, I had my friend Nick Love from The Bite Life join me. Click over to his site (once you’re done here of course lol). He combines food and hip hop in a creative way, by exposing artists to the Atlanta food scene.
One thing that has not changed is how busy TWO Urban Licks is. I arrived at 5:30pm (pretty much right when they opened) and it progressively got busier. By 7pm there was a wait for tables. I highly suggest making reservations. I am flexible when visiting restaurants so I was excited when Executive Chef Michael Bertozzi advised me that he wanted to send out dishes for us to try instead of us ordering items from the menu. I LOVE when Chef’s do that. I have no allergies and there is almost nothing I wouldn’t try, so I am probably a Chef’s dream lol.
Chef Bertozzi is originally from Jacksonville, FL and has been cooking since he was 15 years old. In 2010, he joined the TWO team to work alongside Chef Cameron Thompson. He left for a short while to work in Alabama as Executive Chef at Central. In 2015, he returned to Atlanta as Executive Chef at TWO. Since, he has been wowing diners with his wood-roasted creations with a touch of spice.
As Chef Bertozzi, brought out the first round of dishes, I was in awe at how gorgeous they are. First up was a char-grilled okra dish and a grilled peaches dish. Unfortunately, these items are not on the menu yet, but I was able to get a first taste of what is soon to come! I have to be honest, I grew up hating okra and so did Nick, but Chef Bertozzi shed some new light on the vegetable for us. The sliminess that I hated about okra wasn’t there and the cream and roasted red pepper puree was a delicious accompaniment. The garnish of chopped nuts added a nice crunch as well. This dish was really good and full of so much flavor!
Ok….so I’m not usually a fan of peaches either lol. I know that’s crazy especially since I live in the peach state. Similar to okra it was about the texture for me. But these grilled peaches were firm and oh so sweet. It now has me looking at peaches in the grocery store to grill at home! It was paired with burrata cheese which is similar to a mozzarella. Let’s just say we ate the entire dish!
If you are wanting to go meatless, these next two dishes are perfect. The squash blossom enchiladas are wood oven roasted and stuffed with oaxaca cheese, squash blossoms and are topped with a sweet onion salsa verde, crema and corn nuts. The squash blossom has an earthy yet flowery taste and regardless of not having meat, it felt a little heavy. But not in a bad way. What I’m trying to say is that the dish is filling.
The shrimp curry was my favorite! I love all things curry! This dish was warm and comforting and had just enough spice from the jalapenos. It was just delicious!
When you think there wouldn’t be anymore food, there’s more! I’ve had beef cheeks before, but never pork cheeks. Chef Bertozzi’s is assisted by several Latin American chef’s and he incorporated a few of their dishes into the menu. The pork cheeks are slow cooked in a pork bone broth with hominy and chilis, then topped with avocado, cilantro, radish and jalapenos. I am soooo going to need this dish come Fall. It was hearty, filling and it just made me want to curl up on the sofa in front of the fireplace.
Branzino is a European Bass and if you love sea bass you will enjoy this fish as well. It’s not as thick as sea bass, but it still has the heartiness. It is wood oven roasted and topped with prosciutto, blistered local tomato panzanella, pistou, almonds and peppadew peppers. What I like about branzino is that you can add whatever you want to it and it will take on the flavor. This dish has a myriad of flavors and textures, yet they all pair extremely well together. The saltiness of the prosciutto, the sweet and spicy peppadew peppers and the crunch of the almonds. This is another dish that is perfect for Summer if you want to go light.
To top off the amazing dishes we’d had so far, Chef saw me eye-balling the chicken and he said I had to have it lol. Nick and I said “wow” probably 30 times. It is perfection on a plate. The chicken is brined in Sweetwater 420, smoked and served with white cheddar mac n cheese and natural jus. The chicken is flavorful, tender and that crispy skin is beautifully delicious. You have to take some of the meat and add a little of that natural jus. It’s so good! The mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy and is really all you need with this gorgeous bird.
I encourage you to stop in to TWO Urban Licks sooner rather than later. The menu changes frequently. Thank you so much Chef Bertozzi! All of the dishes were awesome!!
820 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Until next time…Happy Eating!! xoxo
*My meal at TWO Urban Licks was complimentary, however all opinions are my own.