Sway with Me

I hit the jackpot again when I was in Atlanta. Not just with dining, but with where I was dining. The Hyatt Regency’s restaurant, Sway, was not just a good hotel restaurant, it was a great restaurant worth seeking out!

Don’t come here expecting great atmosphere – after all, it is a hotel restaurant. It is nice enough, but rather institutional and boring.

However, the food more than makes up for the uninspired decor.

How about some…

Hot deviled Carolina crab dip with house-made crackers

One of the best iterations of crab that I have ever enjoyed. The crab arrives bubbling hot in its own tiny pot, complete with a crusty, bubbly crust. Break though to the creamy, spicy dip, laden with huge hunks of buttery, sweet crab. Spread on the crackers, this is a decadent and delicious starter. The crab is so rich, and the crackers are so sparsely flavored in comparison that it is a really well balanced dish.

Pimento cheese with crackers and crudites

Though not as delicious as the pimento cheese at West Egg, still a damn sight better than any of the stuff offered north of the Mason Dixon line. Creamy, smooth, and flecked with bits of soft pimento, this is the kind of food that I want to stuff into a baked potato and eat while I watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In a Snuggie.

Buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy

Oh so THIS is why my friend Amanda goes home faithfully every year for Christmas  This is why Scarlett loved the South. And this is why I can’t seem to lose that last 5 lbs.

This chicken is… mindbogglingly good. Does it really come out of a hotel kitchen or does someone’s sweet old granny fry it at home then deliver it via paper bag,  complete with a crock of the smoothest mashed potatoes on the side? Is the skin really that thick and crispy? Is the chicken really that moist and savory,  tasting so familiar and comforting?

Are the mashed potatoes really that buttery and is the gravy really that flavorful, redolent of thyme and sage, echoing the chicken’s natural woodsy flavor? Yes to all of these questions…except of course, to Granny cooking it. Bravo, Sway.

Bravo for so many reasons. For having an impeccable staff  For serving food into the very late hours. For not rushing us when we were the only ones dining late that night after a convention. And for making hotel dining, however overpriced, still a tasty and enjoyable experience.