His pop-up debuts at Gato this weekend
With Jarrett Stieber’s Eat Me Speak Me pop-up changing addresses and moving into the kitchen at The SOS Tiki Bar, Gato has new blood coming in for weekend dinner service. After a friends-and-family run last Sunday, chef Parnass Lim Savang will officially debut Market at the Candler Park diner this weekend. Hours are Friday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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Savang aims to serve traditional Thai recipes made with Georgia ingredients — something he believes Atlanta’s restaurant scene has been missing.
“I've been eating at some Thai restaurants and I grew up in a Thai restaurant, and it's all about making profits,” Savang tells Eater Atlanta. “I mean, that's important, but that was the only goal in most of these Thai restaurants. They would source their produce and meats from Sam's Club or Sysco, and there is not really a Thai restaurant that really wants to focus on maybe using organic produce from Woodland Gardens or Review Farm’s pork. I understand that, but I feel like by using those ingredients, I can make this like Georgian Thai.”
When Savang says “Georgian Thai,” he isn’t referring to Americanized dishes that are abundant around town. His menu will change with the seasons, featuring dishes such as red curry with crispy pork belly and steamed trout with caramelized palm sugar, fish sauce, garlic, and shallots. Most ingredients, like curry paste and coconut milk, will be made in house. Fresh coconut juice, Thai tea, and other non-alcoholic beverages will be available to drink (booze service, as it was when Eat Me Speak Me operated out of Gato, will be BYOB).
Nightly menus will consist of roughly five dishes. Diners can stick to individual plates, but Savang would would like to see groups sharing. “I designed the menu where it can contrast,” he says. “A rich red curry would be great with an asparagus-red chili jam salad.”
The “Market” name comes from Savang’s family business: His grandmother sold pineapples at a market in Thailand, which is also the inspiration for the pop-up’s logo. An aunt owns a mango stand. An uncle owns a food stall that serves braised pork legs. “That's why I wanted to call this Market; I'm continuing what they're doing, but in America,” he says.
Savang has been cooking professionally since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 2011, and he’s compiled an impressive resume. The chef has worked in kitchens at Danthai (his father’s restaurant in Lawrenceville), Empire State South, Kimball House, and Staplehouse. He’s also staged at Pok Pok, chef Andy Ricker’s celebrated modern Thai restaurant in Portland, Oregon, and Nahm, the Bangkok restaurant that is currently ranked fifth on the list of Asia’s 50 best.
Savang doesn’t have firm plans, but he intends to operate Market out of Gato for the foreseeable future. If everything works out, this will be a major move toward the opening of his own full-service restaurant.
“This is just a footstep to something greater,” the chef says.
• Jarrett Stieber’s Eat Me Speak Me Pop-Up Is Moving to The SOS Tiki Bar [EATL]
• More Details on Market, Gato’s Forthcoming Thai Pop-Up [EATL]
• All Pop-Ups Coverage [EATL]
• All Eater Interviews [EATL]