Goin’ Coastal

Written by Heather Brown

As a beach girl, born and bred, the finer things in life for
me are oftentimes the simple ones: the sentimental squish of sand between my toes, the soothing sound of ocean waves lapping on the shore and the pure pleasure of diving into a plate of fabulous, fresh seafood. That’s my kind of heaven. While the first two are nearly impossible to do without goin’ coastal, I recently ventured to Canton, where a restaurant by the same name has been making waves in Atlanta’s restaurant scene since 2008.

Tucked among storefronts on Canton’s Main Street, Goin’ Coastal is exactly what I had hoped it would be — comfortable, casual and downright delicious. The décor of this self-proclaimed seafood joint is simple, with an open dining room surrounded by exposed brickwork, weathered timber accents and oversized chalkboards packed with the fresh catches of the day: rainbow trout from Idaho, Amberjack from South Carolina, farm-raised tilapia from Costa Rica and flounder from North Carolina and Florida, are just a few of the hard-to-resist options scribbled in white.

The biggest catch, however, isn’t written on the board. It’s embedded in the culinary credo of executive chef and co-owners Zach Kell and Seth Hendricks, who believe first and foremost in honoring their commitment to sustainability. Whether fished or farmed, the seafood comes from sources in the United States and Canada that can exist over the long term without compromising the species’ survival and the overall health of the ecosystem. As explained to us by our insightful waiter, this passion for sustainability ensures only the highest quality seafood finds its way to the menu here.

And believe me, you can taste the difference, as each Southern-inspired dish creatively embraces the natural flavors and textures of the ingredients while highlighting the freshly caught fish and seafood. After much debate between the Low Country Bouillabaisse, which includes Wild American shrimp, PEI mussels, scallops and seasonal crab simmered in a tomato fish stock with andouille sausage, new potatoes and corn, and the lobster and peekytoe crab cakes served with a sweet red pepper sauce and roasted corn salsa, I decided instead to order off the blackboard. It has been years since I’ve had flounder and I figured what better place than Goin’ Coastal to reunite with an old favorite from the sea.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First to arrive to our table was a half-dozen Ameri-Pure oysters, which I shared with my husband and my 5-year-old son, who surprised both of us when he asked if he could try one. Proud of his eagerness to expand his seafood horizons at such an early age, I passed an oyster on the half shell to him and waited. Needless to say, he was more content with the pile of peel-and-eat shrimp in front of him than the rest of the oysters in front of me! Note to those with little ones in tow, Goin’ Coastal has “off the menu” children’s options in case they aren’t quite as eager to share your love of seafood yet.

Swirling a glass of organic Merlot, just one of the carefully selected wines and local craft beers chosen to accompany the chef’s epicurean efforts, I patiently waited for my North Carolina flounder. If it wasn’t so delicious, I would almost be ashamed at the speed at which I finished my meal. Each bite was divine and promptly devoured, despite every intention to slow down and savor it.

With sustainable seafood in the suburbs, it looks like I’ll be Goin’ Coastal more often and that’s music to a beach girl’s ears.

Photo courtesy of Studio Burns.

Goin’ Coastal
125 West Main St., Canton 770-479-3737 and
1021 Virginia Ave. NE, Atlanta 404-941-9117