Folk Art presents art­work on a plate

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Con­sid­er­ing that I’ve re­viewed restau­rants in At­lanta for 30 years, I have no ex­pla­na­tion for why I’ve never vis­ited

Folk Art (465 N. High­land Ave., 404-537-4493),

a pop­u­lar diner of sorts that has been open about three years in In­man Park.

The place is picturesque. The in­te­rior more re­sem­bles a bar­be­cue joint than a diner. Brick walls are lay­ered with color­ful ir­rev­er­ent signs and tchotchkes. Upon en­ter­ing, you see what looks like a maze of ta­bles and booths, none of which seem to pro­vide seat­ing for more than four. Ta­bles are bolted to the floor, so you can’t move them to­gether. Our party of five had to pull up a fold­ing chair that vir­tu­ally blocked the aisle. I have no idea how you would ac­com­mo­date more than five din­ers. The good news is that we scored a booth up front, be­side a large win­dow whose garage-style door had been thrown up to give us a breath of cool air and a view of passersby.

Most of them were on their way to Wis­te­ria, a few doors down. Its chef/owner, Ja­son Hill, also owns Folk Art, and both restau­rants fea­ture Southern fla­vors. Folk Art is open daily for break­fast, lunch, din­ner and week­end brunch. My im­pres­sion is that brunch is the most pop­u­lar meal. Friends have of­ten raved about the fried chicken here, and you can or­der it in var­i­ous forms—for brunch on a waf­fle with whiskey-peach com­pote, for ex­am­ple. While I didn’t try the chicken at Folk Art, I can vouch for Hill’s skil­let-fried version at Wis­te­ria.

We vis­ited on Fri­day night, when the lunch-din­ner menu of­fers sand­wiches, burg­ers, sal­ads, en­trees, and an ab­bre­vi­ated se­lec­tion of all-day break­fast faves. We stuck to sand­wiches and en­trees. By far the best on the ta­ble was a spe­cial of chicken pot pie—a deeply fla­vored, creamy broth full of chicken, car­rots, and peas, topped with two flaky, flat bis­cuits. Next best was a huge po’boy heaped with fried shrimp over ro­maine driz­zled with house-made tar­tar sauce.

Two of us or­dered the muf­fuletta, the New Or­leans clas­sic I can never re­sist when I find it on a menu. I give Folk Art’s version a B. Its lay­ers of mor­tadella, Genoa salami, ham, pro­volone, moz­zarella and olive salad were piled on a clas­sic, some­what thick round bun cut into quar­ters. The prob­lem? I like my muf­fuletta bread to soak up some of the olive salad’s oil and I like the bread to have a bit of crisp­ness. Th­ese are small com­plaints.

My least-fa­vorite dish on the ta­ble was the black­ened floun­der. I’m re­luc­tant to say so, be­cause it’s mainly re­flec­tive of my per­sonal dis­like of floun­der—a fish I was forcefed through­out child­hood. Hap­pily, this was not my mother’s over­cooked floun­der aman­dine, but a black­ened version. But there again, I was never very im­pressed by Paul Prud­homme’s black­en­ing tech­nique. Putting all that aside, the fish it­self was cooked just right and the friend who or­dered it liked it.

Sides were less im­pres­sive than other dishes on the ta­ble. By far the best was mac and cheese. It was the real deal.

Ser­vice was great, prices are low­ish, and, in case you’re wor­ried, park­ing is easy.

Cliff Bostock, PhD, is a long­time At­lanta food critic and for­mer psy­chother­a­pist who now spe­cial­izes in col­lab­o­ra­tive life coach­ing (404-518-4415), www.cliff­bo­stock.com.

Fried chicken sand­wich with col­lard green cole slaw and mac­a­roni and cheese (Photo via Face­book)

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