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Fish Thyme: A Love Affair with Fresh Ingredients

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By Kathie Beckett

When Chef/Owner Steven Dudley of Caper’s decided to open his second restaurant, Fish Thyme in Acworth, he wanted to specialize in the freshest seafood and locally sourced products. And he’s accomplished that goal with a new restaurant that elevates and respects the ingredients, and rivals even the finest kitchens in Atlanta, if not the entire Southeast.

Fresh lobster is brought in from Maine. Scallops are flown in from New Bedford, Mass. Wahoo is boated into Savannah and then driven to Acworth, and mussels are collected at Prince Edward Island. The trout is from the north Georgia mountains, and the catfish is from Mississippi. Redfish is brought in from Texas, and the salmon is, of course, Scottish. Even the chicken is special: it’s from Springer Mountain Farms, known for its all-natural chicken. He hand-cuts all of his Angus steaks, too. Apples are picked in Ellijay and organic mixed greens come from Cartersville. Dudley says, “It doesn’t take long from the field to your table.”

He explains, “Our selection changes often, depending upon what is the freshest and the best.” He is constantly sourcing the finest products, and then he treats those ingredients with great care and respect. A sprig of thyme graces each entrée before it leaves the kitchen.

Ahi tuna gets a little extra love by bathing in a marinade for about six to eight hours before being coated with blackening seasoning and black and white sesame seeds. He takes extra care with his swordfish, too, by bringing in a whole side so that he can cut it himself.

He says, “We serve the 10 oz. swordfish ‘naked’ so that you may order it blackened, grilled, or broiled. Then, you can choose your sauces, like our Mustard Cognac. Or, you can do it ‘Oscar-style’ which is clarified butter and lump crab meat.” Patrons also order the Creole crème (Andouille sausage and bacon base) and the Lemon Caper butter sauce. Dudley adds, “We’ve gotten kind of famous for our Lemon Caper butter sauce. We’ve been doing it a long time.” He knows what people want, and he’s delivering.

The crab cakes are made with super lump crab meat with little or no filling. He treats lobster well, too. He says, “We do a lobster roll using tail and knuckle meat that is sautéed in clarified butter and dill mayonnaise. A French baguette is tossed into a hot oven so that it’s nice and crispy out on the outside and still nice and soft on the inside. Then, we add lettuce and tomato, float the lobster mix onto the center of the sandwich, and top it with dill mayonnaise and truffle fries.”

The truffle fries will probably be the best you’ve ever had: nice and crispy–yet still full of potato–and able to stand on their own under their rich dressing of truffle oil and Parmesan.  His snow pea spaghetti (with a nod to Pepin from 1968) has developed a following all of its own. “We juliette the snow peas and cook them down in plenty of garlic, butter, and seasonings.”

“Our sweet potatoes are also popular, probably because we do blackening and spicy things. So the sweet potato lends itself to the yin and yang…the hot and the sweet. And we wanted a potato that was a little different, too, so we made our mashed potatoes with Parmesan, basil, and a little Wasabi,” he says.

It’s that yin and yang, and respect for the ingredients, that makes Fish Thyme so incredible. Dudley says, “We are here for you. You won’t disappointed.”