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Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails restaurant review, Milton

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In Milton lies a fruitful garden, 3 years old and almost an acre in size. A cottonwood tree grows in its center surrounded by purple and red salvia, anchoring the space. The bounty of this garden includes micro-mustard greens, five varieties of heirloom tomatoes, three types of okra and Silver Queen corn.

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

The garden, tucked just out of view behind the 150-year-old farmhouse that is Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails, ignites the passion of the restaurant’s chef, Boyd Rose. During a conversation with Rose, all paths lead back to the garden.

He says, “When we started the garden three years ago, it transformed me as a chef.” His connection with the garden likely played a role in his cooking style, which has him cooking “more simple, basic food . . . not as froufrou as what [he] made at Rainwater.”

Rose categorizes his food at Milton’s as new Southern cuisine, Southern cooking with a twist. The twig-bound clipboarded menu features Southern comfort favorites like the fried green tomato stack ($9), thickly breaded tomatoes stuffed with soft goat cheese (the twist?) on a bed of “tomato fondue” (aka marinara), a grid of reduced balsamic and a ring of Rose’s signature basil oil. Granted, the tomato plays second, third or maybe fourth fiddle here, but who can resist warm goat cheese and breading?

And speaking of breading, fried chicken ($29 for two), the quintessential Southern comfort food, makes an appearance each Tuesday evening. The chicken, brined in an apple juice-based solution overnight and then marinated in buttermilk, got this chef talking nearly as much as the garden.

Vegetable plate (photos by Becky Stein)

Vegetable plate (photos by Becky Stein)

The thick-crusted cayenne-spiked flour batter fries up to a dark golden hue in the bubbling pool of Crisco lining the lidded cast-iron skillet. The moist and dark golden fried chicken comes bundled with biscuits, super-smooth mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Sounds great, right? But those poor undercooked sprouts are doused with a sticky mess of cheese much like that which comes in the microwavable jar, coating the picture-perfect cast-iron crock.

Rose prides himself on the fried chicken. Good, yes, but better is the thick espresso-rubbed pork loin ($25) brined in the same apple solution. The char-black secret espresso blend made especially for Milton’s by Sidney’s Spices forms a crust on the pork to contain the rush of juices within. The coffee flavors meld with the dark bourbon demi-glace, highlighting notes of salty caramel and brown sugar. Dinner and dessert all rolled up into one!

Espresso-rubbed pork loin

Espresso-rubbed pork loin

Rose says sauces like the bourbon demi-glace are his specialty. Most dishes have a sauce, syrup or vinaigrette like the vibrant green basil oil that appears on nearly every plate. The pan-seared crabcakes ($28) have a silky rich but bright lemon beurre blanc, while the sesame-crusted mountain trout ($22) and the sweet potato and shrimp fritters ($8) both benefit from a spicy red chile syrup (think upscale sweet and sour).

Rose is right. He’s a sauce man. The Asian-inspired syrup complements the ginger tucked inside the fritters, large mounds of dark brown crispy sweet potato matchsticks. Yet, the sauce can’t overcome the undercooked interior of the fritters. So plump and full, the outside burns before the inside cooks, resulting in a darkened layer concealing a mass of starchy, raw strands of milky sweet potato.

The fritters warn of vegetables to come. Rose, so delighted in his garden, says, “I shouldn’t say this as a chef, but it makes me want to eat more raw vegetables.” Indeed, some of the goodies on the bountiful chef’s vegetable plate ($20) such as the green beans, asparagus and spinach come closer to their natural state. I found them much improved reheated for lunch the following day, a one-minute microwave miracle.

At Milton’s, almost anything is improved by taking your dinner on the lovely multitiered porch out back. You’ll find it just the place to sip a cocktail served in Mason jars. Choose from one of the bourbon-based cocktails like the Horse Neck ($12), a well-balanced mixture of Knob Creek bourbon, bitters, lemon and ginger beer, preferable to the New Old-Fashioned ($12), with gelatinous blobs of unmixed orange bobbing along the bottom of the jar.

Sadly, the enchanting back porch doesn’t afford a view of the garden, but you’ll certainly taste the garden’s influence on the chef and the food at Milton’s Cuisine.

Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails
800 Mayfield Road, Milton. 770-817-0161

2stars5Food: New Southern cuisine
Service: Generally attentive
Best dishes: Espresso-rubbed pork loin, Tuesday night fried chicken
Vegetarian selections: Chef’s vegetable plate, salads, daily pasta
Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Hours: 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 5-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays
Children: Yes, well-behaved ones
Parking: Yes
Reservations: Yes
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: Moderate
Patio: Beautiful multilevel porch
Takeout: Yes

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20 comments Add your comment

Brian Beam

May 17th, 2012
9:04 am

We can all have an opinion. Jenny is entitled to hers. I think Milton’s deserves more than 2 stars. Boyd is a charismatic person and a great chef. I have been going to Milton’s for several years and it continues to deliver on great food and an experience. Repeat visits show how the wait staff is better than most with making efforts to learn about your tastes.

Leslie

May 17th, 2012
9:14 am

Way off the mark here Mr Kessler. All I read was sarcasm. I think you need to go back there for a second time and try again with a better attitude. And, that tomato stack is legendary.

Scott

May 17th, 2012
10:55 am

My wife and I go 3-4 times a year. NEVER had a bad experience. Excellent service. I challenge the ITP’ers to visit the burbs and try their shrimp and grits. I agree with Brian, this is a 3-star worthy restaurant.

bongostela

May 17th, 2012
11:23 am

Hey Leslie, if you pay as much attention to food as you do to who is actually writing
this article, then I would have to hesitate in taking your suggestions.

James

May 17th, 2012
11:49 am

I like Milton’s, too. Nothing terribly inventive, but they have to cater to a pretty conservative crowd. Two stars is quite fair.

Ric Flair

May 17th, 2012
1:19 pm

Milton’s deserves three stars. The food and service are always great. Jenny’s reviews are a bit snobbish in my opinion.

A

May 18th, 2012
12:44 pm

Still hate the AJC star system. If I see a 2-star, I’m not going to bother spending my money there. I have personally been to Milton’s probably 10 times, and it deserves a minimum of 3 stars. I don’t care what you call each star, in most people’s minds 2 star is mediocre/average and Milton’s is definitely not that.

D

May 18th, 2012
1:06 pm

I could not disagree more with this review. I have had the fried chicken dish on more than one occasion, and everything on the plate has been cooked perfectly every time. I would recommend Milton’s to anyone who is looking for some great food with a great atmosphere.

John Kessler

May 18th, 2012
1:20 pm

A, If you have been to Milton’s a minimum 10 times, then it sounds like you quite like the restaurant and consider it a destination worthy of a drive. My takeaway from Jenny’s review is that she found it a lovely and charming spot, but would need a better performance from the kitchen to make her search it out. I’m not saying that one of you is right, but that perhaps you don’t see eye to eye on the rating it deserves.

Edward

May 18th, 2012
1:59 pm

Yet again, the AJC’s arcane star-rating system is shown to be confusing and totally out-of-sync with the rest of the known dining-review world. But, bless their hearts, the AJC crew will defend it to their dying days, no doubt.

Maitre'd

May 18th, 2012
2:00 pm

One drink for $15.00 ? (tax & tip included) Way too steep. Thank you, but no, thank you. For this $$ there should be some kind of entertainment – piano, harp, etc.

Jen K.

May 18th, 2012
2:12 pm

In terms of the AJC rating system, Milton’s should get a 5 as it absolutely sets the standard for fine dining in the North Fulton “region”.

I appreciate Chef Boyd’s enthusiasm for his garden and the food at Milton’s and agree that Jenny’s description of his exuberance over the garden and fried chicken was a little snarky. I love that Chef Boyd makes the rounds to nearly every table during dinner service almost every night. The gesture makes you feel like you are his personal guest and that he truly cares about your experience at Milton’s.

Finally, the review is entirely incomplete with no mention of Milton’s desserts. The carrot cake with warm cream cheese frosting warrants it’s own review. Seasonal cobblers are also stand-outs.

Melissa

May 18th, 2012
2:42 pm

Milton’s is a diner’s dream. The outstanding food, the atmosphere, the service – merit way more than two stars. My family could not stop raving it about when I took them there last month. And my mom is a hard one to please, trust me.

LJM

May 18th, 2012
3:34 pm

Wow…really? The fritters are FABULOUS!
I eat at Miltons or take out almost weekly and know the quality and consistency of Chef Boyd is unsurpassed in this area. The MEATLOAF bursts with flavor,Is juicy and calls me back time and time again. The servings are generous..the live music on the patio is upbeat and pleasant,
…the attentive and caring staff always make me feel like family. I think the CRITIC may need some direction in taste and generosity. BBQ AND BLUES start on Sunday and I can’t wait!!!

A

May 18th, 2012
4:02 pm

John–I agree that the reviewer and I seem to differ in our views of Milton’s. It helps I live 5 minutes away from the restaurant, so “merits a drive” is irrelevant for me. Which is why I think the AJC star system is so confusing. Milton’s is not far from me, and I enjoy it, so I’m likely to go. But a place further out, say downtown, maybe just as good or better but I may not consider it worth a drive due to the time and hassle to get there. So I don’t think distance or whether a place merits a drive should be factored in. I think each restaurant should stand on its own regardless of your point of origin or how far the place it from you.

Get a job jenny

May 18th, 2012
4:32 pm

Jenny come on………………do you really know what real food is? Boyd’s place is awesome. One day soon when he is on tv (top chef etc) the ajc will call for a story and I hope boyd tells you guy to go pack sand and make a reservation at your local red lobster. I guess in the AJC liberal eyes there can’t be good food OTP….

art

May 18th, 2012
5:12 pm

I have disagreed with Jenny in the past but I agree with her review of Milton’s. Sure, if there were half stars, the place probably deserves another half, but the star system is what it is. I have to disagree with a blogger who said, “Milton’s should get a 5 as it absolutely sets the standard for fine dining in the North Fulton “region”. Restaurants the likes of Viande Rouge and Cabernet blow Milton’s out of the water. Milton’s certainly comes close to fine dining prices but it’s service and food are really upscale comfort food. Don’t get me wrong. I like the place and have also dined there over 10 times… but I never leave there “WOW’d” just satisfied. And did I mention that the parking, even with valet service, is a PITA?

observer 1

May 18th, 2012
7:29 pm

Sounds like Boyd’s earned himself some fans and shouldn’t worry about the stars. Nice job Boyd. The comments are more telling than the review!

PJ

May 22nd, 2012
2:11 pm

I completely agree with this review – 2 stars means solid, consistent, neighborhood restaurant & that is exactly what Milton’s is. It does not disappoint, yet I likely wouldn’t drive from Buckhead or Midtown to eat there. I’d stick with places like Horseradish Grill or South City Kitchen – both are similar to Milton’s, but I wouldn’t drive out of my way to go to either. Being a Roswellian, Milton’s is quite close. I was a big fan of this same chef/management team at Rainwater & so glad they found a fantastic space after Rainwater closed. The crab dip is bowl-licking good & the crab cakes are among the best I’ve had for the shredded-meat variety. When I asked our waiter what is in the crab cakes, he came back to me with the right answer: crab. It is not lump, but has that fresh, wonderful, crabby flavor that I love. The fried chicken is delicious – crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. I love the creative cocktails as well. So glad Milton’s is close!

Dan Carmody

May 22nd, 2012
3:37 pm

I am a food photographer . I travel all over the country photographing food for a major magazine and I taste it all . Miltons is one of the BEST in my opinion !!!! The review is as poor as the photography. Both need review. Dan