General Muir’s chef Todd Ginsberg opens Italian-American restaurant with red sauce: Dirty Rascal
Chef Todd Ginsberg and the Rye Restaurant team (General Muir, Wood’s Chapel BBQ, Fred’s Meat and Bread and Yalla) will start making spaghetti and meatballs in Buckhead on December 15th. Inspired by Ginsberg’s childhood cuisine, Dirty Rascal is an Italian-American Red Sauce Restaurant with a modern vibe. Located in the new Thompson Buckhead Hotel, a Hyatt-owned property in Buckhead Village, Dirty Rascal will serve pasta, meat and poultry dishes that convey comfort and warmth.
“I didn’t grow up with Northern Italian style food,” Ginsberg says. “My mom made brisket, steak and potatoes, or matzo dumpling soup. If she didn’t make them, it was lasagna, chicken parmesan, or spaghetti balls.
Born in New Jersey, Ginsberg decided to become a chef after learning how to make pasta at an Italian restaurant in Virginia Beach. “If you’re from the tri-state area, you’ve been exposed to American-Italian food. It’s the food I ate, ”he says. “I always wanted to open [this kind of restaurant]. I am obsessed with Italian food.
Dirty Rascal, which pays homage to Ginsberg’s nickname as a mischievous kid, will serve up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but that’s where the full concept comes into play. vodka rigatoni alla, veal parmigiana, king crab scampi, flounder piccata, fettuccine Alfredo and lamb tortellini bolognese. The spaghetti will be served with three meatballs (including a whole pound of beef and pork) and topped with a marinara sauce infused with short ribs, Parmesan reggiano and basil. Eggplant Parmesan includes Parmesan and Pecorino in between layers – a tip Chef Billy Allen (Cakes & Ale) gave Ginsberg.
The dishes are designed to be shared. Some, like lasagna, are served on ceramic platters from Italy and feed two to three people. Others, like the Caesar salad, are finished at the table. Although Ginsberg wrote the menu, Executive Chef Josh Hopkins, formerly of Empire State South, will run the kitchen, often using premium ingredients – think 2-pound rack of veal and lobsters – than the ones l can be found in other restaurants in Ginsberg. Desserts from pastry chef Ashley Guzman include cheesecake, tricolor cookies, tiramisu and panna cotta.
At the marble bar, classic cocktails reign supreme. “We want to make excellent cocktails that Frank Sinatra would have drunk at the time, with [beverage manager Joe Alessandroni’s] personal touch, ”says Ginsberg.
The cocktail list includes a negroni, amaro sour, spritz, clover club, and Saratoga club. “There are no modern, new-style mixologist drinks at this restaurant, just extremely well-prepared classics,” says Ginsberg. This includes a dirty martini made with gin, vodka, vermentino, and olive oil with herbs. A stationary drinks cart in the dining room will be used to pour the amaro, cognacs, grappa and limoncello.
Wine will also be in the spotlight with around 17 by the glass and many more by the bottle. Expect Californian and Italian grape varieties. Beer options will be limited but may include Tropicalia, Moretti, and Peroni.
Inside the space Dirty Rascal invokes a mid-century chic vibe with warm woods, red leather, checkered tiles, distressed mirrors, and soft lighting. Six semi-circular cabins each have their own chandelier. A covered patio can accommodate 30 people, while the indoor dining room can accommodate up to 110 people.
“For a long time Alfredo’s and Nino’s on Cheshire Bridge Road were just the two places to do this. I wanted to do it with an updated approach, ”says Ginsberg, acknowledging that it’s similar to what Ford Fry did to the redesigned No.246 at Decatur.