Frank Ma is somewhat of an institution in Atlanta (the man, and possibly this, his most recent restaurant). He is a genuinely nice man, who obviously loves what he does and is proud of sharing his craft. I’ll be candid – I’m not intimately familiar with his legend, but that equates to nothing more than my loss. Plenty of others have written at length about Frank and his history – I’ll leave it to them.
I’ve eaten his food once or twice in previous restaurants, in another life, and do remember it as good. Thankfully, Frank has come out of retirement to and I’ve now had the opportunity to discover that my memory was wrong. His food was not good – it was, and is, extraordinary. Some may disagree, but understand that I’m saying this because Frank makes the THINGS I LIKE, and he makes them well.
Wend your way through the sticky mess that I’ve posted on this blog and you’ll find these THINGS: San Bei Ji 三杯雞, Dòumiáo 豆苗, Xiaolongbao 小籠饅頭, Cha Chiang Mein (no, I haven’t had a post about this, but I will…). Frank makes all of these THINGS and that makes me HAPPY. It also makes me happy that I’ve written about every one of these things before – being that I’m lazy, I now don’t have to explain them again.
San Bei Ji 三杯雞 – OK, I’ll talk about it a little bit. Frank’s version of this dish is definitely more mild than I’m used to (which means that it’s probably still way too intense for most palates). But this dish is so perfectly executed – the chicken is tender with none of the surface dryness that is difficult to overcome in this dish. The sauce is just the right consistency to soak into the rice (not “coat” it). The topper is the whole cloves of garlic, roasted in the dish and balancing the spicyness of the basil.
Xiaolongbao 小籠饅頭 – This is what they are supposed to look and taste like. And that is definitely Chinkiang vinegar. So there.
Dòumiáo 豆苗 – yep.
Only my third trip, but I know I’ll be back again and again. As I said, Frank is an institution here, and as I learned a long time ago with Deacon Burton (yes, I was fortunate enough to have chicken served to me by the man himself and remember him teaching his technique to students at Ecole Ritz Escoffier) – take advantage of them while you can. Eventually you’ll be the old fart walking around reminiscing about the best Chinese food and disco floor Atlanta ever had…
Yes, this is the floor at Frank Ma’s. Don’t ask…
Frank Ma’s Restaurant
5389 New Peachtree Rd
Atlanta, GA 30341