When we received an invitation to dine at Truffles Grill in Buckhead not long ago, I had to stop and think about where it was. Though I had driven past Truffles Grill (located on Lenox Road across from Lenox Square Mall) a number of times, I had never been there – it’s not flashy or snazzy or in-your-face neon lights, so it kind of fades into the background of Buckhead. But those are often my favorite places; I was intrigued and interested in checking them out, so of course, we made a date to check out Truffles Grill.
It was a rainy Sunday night – no sooner did we get in the door than it started pouring outside and my husband and I both commented that we’d be staying awhile to wait out the storm. Lucky for us, Truffles Grill is the kind of place in which you feel comfortable, welcome – the atmosphere is warm, the staff is friendly, and the service is truly some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Attentive without being pesky, friendly without being too chatty or invasive – our water glasses were never less than half-full, our plates didn’t sit on the table long after we were finished. In short, it was an extremely pleasurable dining experience – the feel of a high-end dining experience without the shocking price tag.
We started off with – what else? – a cocktail while perusing the menu. My hubby (being somewhat of a traditionalist) ordered a Manhattan and pronounced it very good. I tried one of Truffles’ signature cocktails – the Grapefruit and Basil Martini. With summer drawing to an end and the coming cooling temps bringing warmer flavors to cocktail menus across the city, I figured it was one of my last chances to really enjoy the summery flavors in this drink. The basil was a strong profile in the drink, which really complimented the grapefruit juice and made for a delicious pre-dinner libation.
The menu is one of those that overwhelms you a bit when you first sit down – the choices seem endless and varied and it’s hard to know where to focus. However, our server was so well-versed in talking us through each section that it was easy to narrow down what we were in the mood for and what we would choose for our meal. (If the biggest problem I encounter in a restaurant is too many choices, then I’d say it’s a pretty great night.) Our server also told us that almost everything is made from scratch, in-house – from the sauces and dressings, to the truffled macaroni and cheese to the desserts (the one exception she pointed out was the ice cream – they use Häagen-Dazs, for now. We suggested that maybe they should consider a local Atlanta company, like High Road Craft!)
We started with the Baked Brie in Puff Pastry (I’m a huge sucker for Brie, and if it’s served up all hot and gooey, I’m sold!) and the Caesar Salad, which, much to my great satisfaction, is served with marinated white anchovies on top (not the prickly little devils that come in the cans in the grocery store aisle). The salad was big enough to share, since we were also sharing the Brie, and along with the fresh French bread and herbed butter that appeared on the table immediately after we placed our drink orders, our appetites were perfectly primed before the main course.
Whenever I try somewhere new, I like to ask about the house specialty – what they’re known for, what’s most popular, what is our server’s favorite dish. In the case of Truffles Grill, our server told us that the answer to all three of those questions was the same: the Crispy Chicken. It’s pan-fried (but not battered) chicken with a crispy skin, flavored with ginger and a soy vinaigrette, a delicious mixture of crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Served with the truffled macaroni and cheese and wilted spinach, it was comfort food at its best – and perfect for the cool, rainy night we were having. My hubby (always one to go for steak) had the Rib Eye, which was finished with organic butter and sea salt and served with mashed potatoes. He tends to be pretty picky about his steak, especially regarding temperature, and he declared it a very good rare to medium rare. If he’s happy about his steak temperature, then he’s a happy guy.
Though we were stuffed, we were told we couldn’t leave Truffles Grill without trying their signature dessert, the Blondie. It’s pure sinfulness on a plate and worth every calorie. Need a way to celebrate something great with a girlfriend or your sweetheart? I suggest celebrating over a glass of red wine or champagne and the Truffles Grill Blondie - a blonde brownie stuffed full of butterscotch and chocolate chips, then served warm with vanilla bean ice cream, homemade caramel sauce and chocolate drizzle. Sigh - my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
All in all, we had a delicious evening! We noticed that a variety of patrons were enjoying an evening at Truffles Grill, too – a handful of couples enjoying quiet conversation, cocktails and dinner; a couple of groups of girlfriends having a night on the town; a table of dads with their sons in baseball uniforms having a post-game dinner; people in the bar area watching the Braves game on the television; and a large party celebrating a special occasion. It really is a neighborhood restaurant for the whole neighborhood!
Full disclosure: Truffles Grill graciously hosted us for a media dinner and our bill for that meal was comped by the house. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.