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Hilton Head favorite opens at Lenox: Truffles Cafe

Tomato-dill Truffles

credit: Jenny Turknett

Our family goes to Hilton Head every summer. And every summer we end up at this one restaurant — every day. In a house of ten people, some group of us ends up there for at least one meal each day (sometimes more).

There are other good restaurants on the island and we try those, too. But this is our spot. And, now, that spot has come to Atlanta.

I can’t tell you the excitement in the family upon hearing that Truffles Cafe would open a location across from Lenox Mall. After the initial excitement came the worry: would it be as good?

Last week, after braving the cold on a very gray day to ride the Pink Pig with my children, we headed over to give it a try.

A stark contrast to our typical beach-style bike arrival, a valet greeted us in the parking lot. Though standard for the area, I do worry that the valet will discourage casual, spontaneous drop-in business (particularly for people like me who never carry cash and scramble for the currency to tip a valet).

Also appropriate for the location, the interior of this Truffles is a little trendier than our Sea Pines haunt. There are no baskets hanging from the ceiling as there are in the original location, confusing our children when we told them we were going to the “basket place.”

We were off to a good start when they brought the familiar bread with boursin-chive butter. I could eat that butter by the spoonful.

The menu is very similar, containing many of our favorites and a few new items. The kid’s menu is the same – $9 for chicken tenders with fries (which has always puzzled me from a family-run business — as it was until recently). Thankfully, it’s large enough for the two kids to share.

But did they have the soup? Truffles serves a full-flavored tomato-dill soup with bits of onion and tomato, lots of dill and a drizzled spiral of sour cream. They had the soup. Would it be as good? Oh yeah. My main course was the perfect comfort food on that cold gray day: grilled-gooey pimento cheese sandwich with sweet potato fries and tomato-dill soup.

I will be back soon to try another Hilton Head favorite: grilled salmon with the mango-barbecue glaze and pineapple chutney — sweet, tangy and slightly spicy.

Now, the next question: will the Hilton Head location retain its charm now that I can get it so easily here at home?

Mondays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-midnight, Sundays 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 3345 Lenox Road, Atlanta. 404-364-9050, $$-$$$.

Jenny-Turknett-Tagline–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

23 comments Add your comment

Robert

January 4th, 2011
8:29 am

Isn’t Truffle’s now owned by Ruby Tuesday’s?

drummerpop

January 4th, 2011
8:57 am

Yep. A licensing agreement. The owner’s brother is CEO of Ruby Tuesday. Read all about it here: http://tinyurl.com/2b974a4

Rick

January 4th, 2011
9:22 am

My wife and I ate there a few days ago and it was not good. The pork tenderloin was very rare/raw and needed to be sent back. The chipotle chicken was like something from Applebee’s menu, smothered in blue cheese and bacon. The blondie was really good though.

Jessica Gardo

January 4th, 2011
9:27 am

Hi Jenny: Thank you for your wonderful commentary about beloved Truffles Cafe. Like you, I am a true fan and have been eating delicious meals there since I was a child. Some of my favorites are their version of Chicken Pot Pie and their Blondie brownie dessert. Mmmm-true comfort indeed. My only concern, however, in your blog post is that you wonder if HIlton Head Island itself will retain its charm? Well, as an “official” advocate for the Island (I work at the Visitor & Convention Bureau – http://www.hiltonheadisland.org), I hope that Hilton Head will continue be that special place for you and your family. Although Truffles in Atlanta will, I am confident, continue to delight, there is just nothing like that bike ride over to the cafe, as you described, plus maybe an afternoon ride on the beach, a relaxing day by the pool or down at the Salty Dog, or other days of rest amongst live oaks, coastal marshes and the playful sounds of seagulls in the air. Ahh, Hilton Head Island… a haven and a delight!

Chuckles™

January 4th, 2011
9:34 am

I had the opportunity to visit there before Thanksgiving for lunch. I agree on the boursin-chive butter – Yum-O! But the rest of the food… well… they need some time to get used to the new kitchen, I suppose. It was pretty bland.

This place SCREAMS ‘old people food’ restaurant to me. Sorry.

Jenny Turknett

January 4th, 2011
10:07 am

Yes, Robert, I wondered how it would be since it is now operated by Ruby Tuesday. But, my food was prepared just as it usually is in the original location. I’m sorry to hear that others haven’t had the same experience. We do have to cut them some slack, though, since they have only been open a few weeks.

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James

January 4th, 2011
10:30 am

So excited to see a Truffles opening here! They’ve built quite a reputation in Hilton Head, and if they can manage to maintain the same quality here then they should be very successful. Can’t wait to go give it a try!

Bride of Puerquito

January 4th, 2011
10:39 am

When can we expect a review of the Chili’s on Lindbergh? I hear its a cut above the one on Toco Hills

AJ

January 4th, 2011
11:07 am

Thanks Bride for your insiteful post. Yes, Truffles is a (small) chain, but many people have never been to it. Absolutely nothing wrong with a review of it.

Jenny Turknett

January 4th, 2011
11:38 am

Bride of Puerquito – Truffles didn’t have multiple locations when I started going there, so I don’t think of it as a chain. It will be interesting to watch what happens as it expands. Also – this wasn’t intended to be a review – just a first look at a new place, which happened to be familiar to me.

Bride of Puerquito

January 4th, 2011
12:04 pm

I think we should discuss what differentiates a chain (no matter how small or large) vs a restaurant group.
In my opinion, Truffles is a bona fide chain. The vintage-less wine list is certainly a dead giveaway…
By the way, I also have fond memories of vacation spots that are, in all honesty, not that great.

James

January 4th, 2011
12:33 pm

Bride of Puerquito – Call me crazy, but I think most folks here are interested more in where they can go for a good meal than hashing out the differences between a chain and a restaurant group. Perhaps you should post that in the “Pedantic Musings about Trivial Esoterica for Vintage Wine Enthusiasts” section of the site – you might get some heated debate, especially if you post under multiple pseudonyms!

AJ

January 4th, 2011
12:55 pm

LOL @ James. Well said even if my math minded head had to guess the meaning of some of your words :-)

Robert

January 4th, 2011
2:37 pm

Thanks, Jenny. I thought I had read that somewhere. Good to know I’m not losing my mind completely.

James – good one.

PJ

January 4th, 2011
4:10 pm

So excited that Truffles is here. I love it in HHI & can’t wait to try it here. @Bride – Truffles has a whopping 4 locations – 3 of which are in/around Hilton Head. It may become a bonafide chain, but hasn’t yet reached that status in what I would term a chain. Like many other concepts, someone obviously saw the potential for something great & bought it from the original owners. I would love for one to open closer to me! And @James, you crack me up.

Oldie

January 4th, 2011
7:38 pm

Glad to hear the information about a Truffles opening here–I enjoy the Sea Pines location. Hope it’s successful here. Having been to Truffles with a younger set who liked it too, I don’t think of it as a place that “screams old people food.” I do think the Hilton Head Truffles location will retain its charm for all the reasons mentioned. Bride of Puerquito–enjoy Chili’s.

Captain

January 5th, 2011
7:12 am

We have been fans of the Sea Pines location for 15 years eating there probably at least 10 times a year. It is always a favorite and we are really looking forward to visiting the Lenox location. Burgers are great as is the meatloaf, boursin butter, chicken pot pie, truffle mac and cheese, spicy chicken pasta and even the steak. Just thinking of the blondie dessert has me drooling. Even when dining elsewhere we often end up back at Truffles for a blondie. More than enough for 2 to share for a very reasonable $6 in Hilton Head is much better than paying $7-$9 each for some cutsey little single bites elsewhere.

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Steven

January 5th, 2011
9:58 am

this should go under the chain restaurant section esp with Ruby Tuesday operating

Smirkin

January 5th, 2011
12:59 pm

@Steven- what “chain restaurant section” are you referring to? I’m pretty sure that there isn’t one. Or was your point just that because there is more than one location that it must suck? ’cause that makes a lot of sense….

Cekker

January 5th, 2011
1:08 pm

Sounds like Steven is the Bride’s groom
Both filled with dread and gloom

Bride of Puerquito

January 5th, 2011
4:08 pm

I dp not understand how people cannot tell the difference between a restaurant that uses frozen product and one that does not…