Taste of Smyrna offers up local, worldly flavor
by Rachel Miller
September 15, 2013 12:16 AM | 1885 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Alva Bramwell uses a pair of tongs to hold his jerk chicken at the Taste of Jamaica tent during Saturday's Taste of Smyrna's ‘Festival of Delectable’ event. <br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Alva Bramwell uses a pair of tongs to hold his jerk chicken at the Taste of Jamaica tent during Saturday's Taste of Smyrna's ‘Festival of Delectable’ event.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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Taste of Smyrna offered fine dining options and world cuisine at this year’s event Saturday.

The name “Festival of Delectable” was represented by more than 25 restaurants in tents lining Village Green Shopping Center, including Meehan’s Public House.

With locations in Vinings, Sandy Springs, Atlantic Station and downtown Atlanta, Executive Chef Brian O’Rourke said, “We try to keep it a little higher class” with refined food and craft beers.

O’Rourke said his specialty is pork belly and grits, as well as the bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese-stuffed dates called Devils on Horseback.

This was Meehan’s Public House’s second year at the Smyrna festival, which was expected to draw more than 20,000 people.

“I love getting out and feeding the crowd,” O’Rourke said.

One Smyrna restaurant offered organic Thai dishes with no genetically modified foods or MSG.

Pithya Kongthavorn opened L’Thai at 4500 West Village Park in 2009 and has participated in Taste of Smyrna for three years.

On Saturday, L’Thai offered vegetarian dishes with tofu and “vegan friendly” sauces, as well as jumbo escargot in curry sauce stuffed into mushroom caps and a Thai basil roll with rice noodles and vegetables.

Kongthavorn said he does all of the shopping for the restaurant to find the highest quality food.

“We are what we eat,” said Kongthavorn, who turns 60 next month and said he is rarely sick. “I have been healthy all my life.”

Although L’Thai focuses on Southeast Asian cuisine, Kongthavorn, who moved to Georgia in 1979 from Louisiana, said, “I cook a killer gumbo.”

World Cuisine

International cuisine was well represented during the “Festival of Delectable” by vendors such as Taste of Jamaica based out of Gwinnett County.

May Knight, one of the operators of the mobile business, said along with catering, Taste of Jamaica sells dishes by traveling to fairs and festivals.

This business model has less overhead and allows Taste of Jamaica to venture into many areas, Knight said.

She added that the community in Smyrna is well traveled and Taste of Jamaica has gotten a great reception the past four years at the event.

“People are eager to try our food,” Knight said.

Jerk chicken is a common order, but more adventurous eaters try the Jamaican escovitch fish, which is tilapia that is fried and then marinated in a vinegar sauce with onions and carrots, Knight said.

Offering select dishes is the perfect opportunity to have the public taste test the menu, Knight said, and get name recognition before starting a restaurant.

“This is just the beginning,” Knight said.

Another restaurant offering traditional items was Village Taqueria & Tequila Bar, at 600 West Village Place in Smyrna.

Manager Alex Arana said Village Taqueria has been operating for six years and has participated in Taste of Smyrna for three years.

Village Taqueria is not a Tex-Mex joint, but a fine-dining Mexican restaurant with mussel and sea bass dishes, as well as 138 types of tequila, Arana said.

The board posted in front of the tent listed braised short rib with pineapple guajillo chile salsa and lime-cured shrimp with cilantro and jalapeno.

Arana said the chefs had been cooking all night, not only for Saturday’s booth at the festival, but also because of events for Grito de Dolores, Mexican Independence Day, which will be celebrated Monday.

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