Being a long time resident of Macon, Ga I was a bit dubious when I heard a new fine dining restaurant was being opened above the Rookery. On my first visit to Dovetail I met a friend who hailed from New Orleans and as we all know anyone from that city is a self-professed Foodie. When we entered through the Rookery doors my guest gave me the “Seriously, you are taking me to a bar for dinner” look. I explained the unique location setup that Rookery and Dovetail share and further informed him the establishments are run by a restaurant group and it’s not just a Mom & Pop operation. The atmosphere and décor of Dovetail are very rustic and laid back. Often times the words “Fine Dining” means pretentiousness and more focus on décor and less on the food, but that is not the case at Dovetail. Being a farm to table centered establishment we expected a more casual atmosphere and more emphasis on the food, not what the server was wearing. We were not disappointed.
Since the entree menu changes often due to seasonal availability of local resources, I wanted to try several appetizers. An order of Deviled eggs, Spinach & wood smoked Walnuts and something called “Put-Ups” was the first items to arrive at our table. The initial reaction was that we found a restaurant that takes great pride in the details of their food. Sure anyone can make deviled eggs, but the subtle details like poblano relish made these little devils delicious. If the Deviled Eggs were the set-up the Put-Ups were the knock-out! These are basically an assortment of dips with bread, but calling simply “dips” does not do them justice. The smoked trout was very good, the lima bean hummus was a welcome surprise for someone that eats a lot of hummus and OMG, the Bacon Marmalade was out of this world awesome. I will never look at marmalade the same way again! The last of the Starters was the Spinach & Smoked Walnuts which is nothing like it sounds. Somehow I expected a salad, but once again the banal word ‘salad’ was not in the Dovetail lexicon of gastronomy. This dish was more an assortment of molasses yogurt, radishes and feta that was yet another complete surprise to my taste buds. We were three up and three home runs at this point in the meal.
Now that our palates were properly tuned to expect something beyond the ordinary we order our entrees. My friend wanted to try the Grilled Duck Breast, but he warned the server that he was from New Orleans (AKA a food snob) and he has tried duck breast at many fine restaurants ( A picky food snob). Our server was undaunted and completely confident in Dovetail’s chef ability to deliver a superior duck breast experience. Since I had eaten most of the appetizers, I opted for the Shrimp Purloo which sounded lite enough to complete my meal. Just like with the starters the main entrees were beyond ordinary in the details. My shrimp was cooked to perfection and the carolina gold rice with thin sliced Andouille sausage made it seem like I had never tried a dish with shrimp and rice ever before. The portion was larger than I expected, but I polished it off without regard to being somewhat full before I even stated in on the entrée. My friend could not stop complimenting the quality of his duck and the excellent side options that accompanied it on the plate. If he didn’t tell me at least three times it was some of the best duck he ever tasted I would have believed him just based on the yummy noises he was making after ever forkful (Sound effects most be a food snob thing).
Overall, Dovetail lived up to the buzz about being a unique dining experience. I had no problem comparing the food quality and detail of preparation to some of the finer restaurants I have eaten at in Atlanta and my friend went back to New Orleans with a new benchmark for how grilled duck breast should be served. Yes, Dovetail is more expensive than eating out at Applebee’s, but if you want a food experience that breaks through the average then Dovetail is worth every penny for flavor and uniqueness.