Messing with classic soul food recipes is a sure fire way to send your grandma into a swoon, but then again, why are you constantly hanging out with your grandmother? Quit feeling guilty, and give newfangled soul food a shot, at Calavino's
An unassuming, red-bricked 50-seater with a string-lit ceiling, old hardwood floors, and a funkily imposing red neon "Atlanta" sign above the bar, Calavino's serves audaciously prepared, soul-inspired dishes dreamed up by the former owner of Roman Lily Cafe -- whose non-soul background frees her up to deliciously F with hearty tradition. The lunch menu starts basic -- "Grilled Chops and Eggs", w/ choice of herb cheese grits, homefries, spicy collards, or mashed sweet potatoes with...coconut milk -- then ramps up to the likes of "Southern Fried Calamari" w/ jalapeno-tequila gravy, and the whole wheat macadamia nut-battered, jezebel jam'd "Duck & Waffles" -- also, Fox News's take if that Iraqi had shoe'd John Kerry. Dinner includes Cuban-breaded "Samiches" (the palatably vegan "Wild Mushroom Bruschetta" w/ caramelized onion, blue cheese crumbles, & apple-horseradish sauce; the "Country Fried Turkey Burger" w/ turkey bacon); seafood like "Polenta and Pan-seared Scallops" in wild mushroom broth; and heavier stuff like "Turkey Poblano Meatloaf" (on garlic mashed potatoes) and the more traditional, enormously portioned "Real Fried Chicken" -- because "shake and bake" is only for epileptic Phish fans
Despite the tweaked cuisine, Calavino's is serious about boozing: house bloodys and mimosas are always $2, domestic bottles $3, and imports $4; desserts (also $4) include Red Velvet Cake, Pecan Tart, and Classic Cherry Pie -- if you're thinking of grandma now, seek help.