City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Spring Dining Guide: Date night, throughout the metro area

Bistro VG (AJC Staff)

Bistro VG (AJC Staff)

“Make time for date night.” Sage advice for new parents. Yet, that’s easier said than done. Coordinating schedules, finding a baby sitter and preparing the kids can be daunting. Somehow, you’ve done it. Date night is on. There will be no chicken fingers nor highchairs. No bag of toys for entertaining little people with little patience. Not tonight.

Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails

Tonight you want to be pampered and you want a good meal. Head to Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails (780 Mayfield Road, Milton, 770-817-0161), pass your keys to the valet and prepare to be treated with care. Well-informed servers will advise you on the menu and provide an oral history of the 150-year-old farmhouse the restaurant occupies. After dinner, the manager will check on “first-timers” to ensure you enjoyed the Southern-inspired fare, including fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and balsamic reduction ($8) or the shrimp and grits with smoked bacon and lemon-butter sauce ($21).

Bistro VG

For once, there’s no rush to order. Linger over the wine list at Bistro VG (70 W. Crossville Road, Roswell, 770-993-1156) offering many wines by the glass and a lengthy list of house cocktails. At this French bistro, begin with small plates or charcuterie before graduating to the wood-fired pizzas or the well-prepared entrees such as the herb-buttered steak frites with a slightly sweet caramelized onion jus ($18). After dinner you’ll be tempted to order another round of cocktails while you drink in the deliciously chic white decor accented with rustic linens.

Muss & Turner’s

Or maybe tonight you want a great meal without the white-linen service. If so, you might enjoy a spot that bills itself as a “foie gras in flip-flops” kind of place. This come-as-you-are joint is Muss & Turner’s (1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Smyrna, 770-434-1114). Sit a spell and sample three wines with the $11 wine flight or choose a beer from a well-rounded menu complete with thoughtful descriptions. Nibble the sweetie peps brulee appetizer ($6.93) with your beer — peppers stuffed with chevre popping with sweet and tangy heat. Don’t skip dessert: The goat cheese cheesecake (5.93) is a delightful pairing with a glass of honeyed-hibiscus mead ($6.50).

Honey Pig

Tonight, it’s all about fun — for you. If you’re craving a dining experience beyond Chuck E. Cheese’s, check out Honey Pig (3473 Old Norcross Road, Duluth, 770-476-9292). Move over fondue, the current cook-your-own-food hot spot is this Korean barbecue restaurant. Tip off the waiters that you are a newcomer and they will teach you how to cook the kimchee, bean sprouts and your chosen meat on the cast-iron pot lids that anchor each table.

Red Sky Tapas

For fun with a group, gather at Red Sky Tapas (1255 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, 770-973-0100) to sing along with the dueling pianos that perform each weekend. With a long list of sweet cocktails and more than 60 shot selections, there are plenty of options to enliven the evening. Order several rounds of tapas, including the stuffed portobello mushroom with bruschetta and mozzarella ($6) and the sweet fried plantains with mango salsa ($5). Tapas fly out of the kitchen — so fast that you might be in danger of getting home before the baby sitter has the kids in bed. Pace yourself, amigo.

The Seasons Bistro

If you can only sneak away for a short while, drop in The Seasons Bistro (41 Griffin St., McDonough, 770-288-2544) to catch the live music performed on weekends. Sit at the glowing orange-backlit bar for a drink and the herb-crusted bistro steak served on blue cheese crostini and topped with a zingy wasabi cream. If you can squeeze in time for dessert, sip the Bailey’s shots from dark chocolate cups.

Jenny Turknett, Southern and Neighborhood Fare

Jenny Turknett, Southern and Neighborhood Fare

How refreshing to have an adult evening. By its end, you’ll surely be hatching your plan for the next one.

8 comments Add your comment


April 28th, 2011
9:37 am

Been wanting to try Milton’s and Red Sky – will have to give them a shot soon – as soon as I can find time for another date night. Muss & Turners is a favorite. I also loved the sweetie peps, but I dream about the rillette – creamy cheese, onions & potatoes with chunks of pork belly. The small plates there are good enough to make a meal. Honey Pig is another great place for pork belly and a fun date night spot. Another place I’ve been loving is Inc. in Roswell. The small plates there with a jalepeno margarita (with candied jalepeno mixed in) make a great and fun meal.


April 28th, 2011
4:17 pm

Really, have you ever actually stepped foot into Seasons in McDonough? Just because it looks semi-cool and has high prices doesn’t mean anything. Over-priced mediocre food. And a drink at the bar and an app doesn’t count as sitting down and having a meal there – really the food is just mediocre.


April 28th, 2011
7:23 pm

D – perhaps that’s why she suggested sitting down for a drink and an app instead of having a meal – perhaps that’s the point! ;)


April 28th, 2011
8:11 pm

Jenny, thanks for the suggestions. Me thinks you might live up on the north side like myself. I agree with your suggestions of Milton’s and Bistro VG, although both have suffered from growing pains from time-to-time and over the years. I celebrated my 50th at Milton’s and had a marvelous time. Bistro VG was parading as a different name during the “roaring” 90’s, that would be Van Gogh’s, when I, as a single man, would enjoy many a night in the bar and restaurant… It was THE destination for those of us who lived in the remote outposts of Alpharetta, the then non-existent Milton and Cumming. With the advent of the Summer Dining Guide, I just have to say that you and your counterparts have been a welcome addition to John, I look forward to all of your collective writings and relish the fact that so much more of the Atlanta dining scene is getting coverage. Keep up the good work!


April 28th, 2011
11:04 pm

Muss & Turners, Honey Pig and Bistro VG are all solid. Milton’s and Season’s look interesting if I am in the neighborhood. …. Red Sky however…. I had three meals at Red Sky and wasted all the money I spent there. From bland to poorly executed to misconsceptualized, the food has it all. If this place was any closer to the city it would have been out of business a while back. The East Cobb folk can keep this one…


April 29th, 2011
3:33 pm

I thought this was the ATLANTA Journal Constitution. How about some places inside the perimeter.


April 30th, 2011
9:13 pm

Agreed. It’d be nice to see some places in Atlanta – I’d rather spend my kid-free time eating great food than driving forever to get to a restaurant.


May 1st, 2011
2:01 pm

I did not share this writer’s enthusiasm for Red Sky Tapas. It was good but at $4.00 a gallon for gas I’d hate for my wannabe foodie hip ITP friends to empty their wallet to go there. My wife and I love Pura Vida but were disappointed that they’ve had some issues. Thus, I consider myself a man without a tapas joint.

Although it’s a completely different type of cuisine, if you’re going to travel to East Cobb to eat a strip mall I’d recommend a small sushi place on Roswell Road near Robinson Road which is the real deal. The owners actually put on their website they don’t want people blogging or posting about their restaurant because they want to keep the place quiet and full of locals but if you’re resourceful enough you can find it and it’s off the charts – esp if you like omakase, nigiri, cooked japanese food and don’t need fancy rolls with 8 sauces on top.