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Not by Cake Alone

Matty Cakes makes desserts worth splurging for

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An MBA would probably tell you that any talented pastry chef who wants to establish a retail bakery must also, at least in its start-up phase, dispense sandwiches. Sometimes, this incidental service continues well after the primary business is thriving: Atlanta's finest bread maker, Bread Garden on Amsterdam, still makes sandwiches to order at its retail counter.

But the heart and soul of Midtown's cheerful new Matty Cakes are the sweets. Not since Mondo Bakery closed to make way for Figo Pasta have Atlantans had over-the-counter access to cakes as ambitious as these.

Matty Lewis -- a brawny, tattooed CIA graduate -- bakes in a Continental, rather than American, idiom, but he also understands our craving for indigenous desserts. Red Velvet cake is a star of his menu. It is, like his other offerings, a deluxe version. Butter-laden genoise batter gives the actual cake a density that is both intense and expansive on the palate. Cream cheese frosting -- his default icing -- is in this instance generously showered with pecans.

Coconut cake, another Southern favorite, is rendered as Coconut Cream and has layers that are almost foamy in their lightness. Its cream cheese frosting gets its twist from a "finish" of white chocolate ganache.

Most of the remaining selections venture into the exotic: a chocolate orange terrine incorporates a "marquis mousse and mandarin oranges." And then there's the Dolce de Leche Cheesecake, with its astringent streusel of faintly burnt caramel. It should be a best seller.

But you can't make a meal of cake, so Matty Cakes offers a limited "specialty sandwich" menu. Sandwich fillings are baroque. The best, the Veggie, warrants a laundry list: hummus, avocado, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, goat cheese, alfalfa sprouts, pickles, portabella mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. In the chicken salad, excessive additions (toasted walnuts, grapes, blue cheese and mayonnaise) overburden the primary ingredient.

You may not have room for the $1-extra cookie after finishing one of these sandwiches, but the saucer-sized treats are excellent. The morning pastries, available with competently made coffee and espresso-based beverages, are also good. The Pain au Chocolat is a true sweetened yeast bread, not the chocolate-filled croissant sold elsewhere under that name. The Zucchini Nut Muffin has visible flecks of the vegetable in its fluffy interior, its top surface made crunchier by a scattering of almonds.

Matty Cakes is strictly a take-out business. There are no tables or seats for dining customers. But be sure to order your next birthday cake here. And then some day, when the cakes themselves are deservedly profitable, Matty will be free to dispense with sandwich making.

chuck.oboyle@creativeloafing.com

Wine's all Greek to them

Kyma is hosting a wine tasting Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. The flights of boutique Greek red and white wines will be served with traditional, savory appetizers. Cost is $30 per person. Reservations are recommended by calling 404-262-0702. 3085 Piedmont Road. www.buckheadrestaurants.com/kyma.

Southern Cooking at Eugene

Beginning Dec. 4, Restaurant Eugene will begin a tradition of serving Southern Suppers. With a focus on comforting food rather than cheffy presentation, guests can enjoy a meal of an entrée, sides and dessert for $29.50 per person. Main dishes will include favorites like country fried chicken with white pepper gravy and slow roasted pork shoulder. For dessert? Red velvet cake or an old-fashioned ice cream sundae, of course. Restaurant Eugene's Sunday Suppers start at 5 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. Call 404-355-0321 for reservations. 2277 Peachtree Road. www.restauranteugene.com.

Wine and cheese, please

Woodfire Grill's next round of wine and cheese tastings approach. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Chef Michael Tuohy will discuss winter milk and melting cheeses. Cost is only $20 and includes a complimentary glass of wine. The following Tuesday, Dec. 20, wine director Greg Koetting will host a wine tasting, with a focus on great vino for the holidays. Cost is $20 dollars, and eight wines minimum are poured. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road. 404-347-9055. www.woodfiregrill.com.

Soup and salad at your doorstep

Metrofresh is now delivering, with a $5 delivery charge on orders of $30 to $100. (There is no delivery charge for orders over $100.) The menu changes daily, with morning updates available by e-mail (sign up at the restaurant's cash register) or via the restaurant's hotline: 404-724-0155. 931 Monroe Drive. www.metrofreshatl.com.

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