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