The Alden is ‘Star’ of Local Culinary Scene

The Alden is ‘Star’ of Local Culinary Scene

Jewish chef/owner Jared Hucks celebrates 5 years and his Michelin Star mention.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

The Alden Caesar salad with rolled white boquerones and huauzontle was a table favorite.
The Alden Caesar salad with rolled white boquerones and huauzontle was a table favorite.

Foodies, queue up!

Jewish chef/owner Jared Hucks grew up in Brookhaven, which is the launch pad for his worldwide, decade-long gastronomic journey to land in 2018 at The Alden in Chamblee at the Parkview on Peachtree complex.

The Alden is “all the buzz” now that it received a mention in the 2023 Michelin Guide, the “universal top shelf endorsement.” Note that the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau paid seven figures to put Atlanta in the guide. After that inauguration, it was up to very discerning reviewers to make the recommendations.

Chef-owner Jared Hucks trained worldwide to land in his hometown, Chamblee, with The Alden.

On our Sunday night visit, we found that each dish had a story and artistic presentation with attention to the smallest details and a variety of flavors where the server points out how to get the most out of the experience.

“Make sure you try the sauce on the sides to get the full taste of the Buddha’s Hand pulp before getting into the tiny pumpkin pebbles,” and that’s before even getting to the centerpiece Wakame seared kingfish. Actually, our favorite fish was the jerk golden tilefish with blood orange segments, zucchini, sugar snaps, and long beans. Considering the primo ingredients, an entree price point of $36 is fair.

Two complicated dishes were the butternut squash (rear) and the parsnip tortellini with parmesan froth.

To note Hucks’ culinary “chops,” he graduated from The French Culinary Institute and embarked on an adventure around the world where he cooked at some of the most heralded restaurants, including Guillaume at Bennelong in the Sydney Opera House, the three Michelin star Arzak, in San Sebastian, Spain, and at the No. 1-rated restaurant in the world, NOMA, in Denmark.

Using his middle name, Alden, he opened The Alden to be an amalgamation of these international culinary experiences. Since opening, Chef Hucks has gained his own following, with guests experiencing the seven-course tasting menu, gathering around his Chef’s Counter privy to the theatrical experience for $175 per person and wine pairing is an additional $115. The Alden offers vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and pescatarian tasting menus as requested.

Then, there’s the ever changing a la carte menu with around 13 choices (not including dessert) that highlights seafood fished in Georgia waters and an array of fresh, locally grown produce and proteins, and our favorites, butternut squash “Bolognese” (no meat) potato gnocchi, smoked ricotta, and Brussels sprouts ($28) — melt in the mouth marinara base, and parsnip tortellini with broccoli rabe, frothy emulsion parmesan, and pomegranate seeds over brown butter. We started with an artisan lettuce Caesar salad ($18) with squares of seasoned focaccia, hemp hearts, boquerones (white anchovies decoratively rolled), and huuazontle, an Aztec wild herb. To sample more sensations, we went for the sherry vinaigrette and the traditional thicker egg-based Caesar dressings on the side. There’s an extensive libations menu.

The Alden has banquette seating, tabletops, high “boys” and a wonderful booth in the rear.

Backing up, Hucks was drawn to restaurant work while spending a summer during college working at the family owned La Strada Restaurant in Marietta. After graduating high school, his love for alpine sports and the outdoors drew him to Colorado, where he worked at several restaurants, working his way up to sous chef at LaTour and Vail’s Cascade Resort & Spa. In New York, he worked for the Pellegrino family in their highly acclaimed Baldoria Restaurant. With that culinary foundation, Hucks returned to Vail, where he was chef de cuisine at the four diamond, Chaps Grill and Chophouse.

A server holds the Wakame seared kingfish (left) and jerk golden tilefish with blood oranges.

Some of his noteworthy stops were Latin, Central and South America, New Zealand, then onto Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, learning about people and cultures. Hucks was then recruited by the Baan Rim Pa to become head chef at Da Maurizio Restaurant in Phuket. Then, a trip to Italy for training in the kitchen of Zi Peppe Restaurant outside of Rome, to crown off working in the three-Michelin Star restaurant in Spain.

Another special family nugget is that Hucks’ brother, Rob Stern, is an acclaimed Miami glass artist who designed The Alden’s fixtures, and other special unique touches at the rear of the dining room. Also, Hucks and his dad built the planters on the patio.

The Alden is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, with an expansive patio for dining al fresco. 5070 Peachtree Blvd. 678-395-6982.

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