By Hope S. Philbrick
Folks who live nearby walk to the garden dinners at Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails and seemed surprised by the idea that folks from beyond the neighborhood might attend. “How did you hear about it?” “How did you get here?” my husband and I were asked multiple times by fellow diners. These northern suburbanites (aka OTPers) should be prepared to see even more unfamiliar faces as word of this sublime dining experience spreads. In less than an hour, you can drive to a taste bud-delighting, memory-making dinner that feels worlds away from routine.
Chef Derek Dollar’s popular Garden Dinner series launched its 2019 season on Cinco de Mayo. As with all dinners in the series, the adults-oriented meal was served at a long table set between beds of the on-site acre garden dubbed Milton’s Acre. Folding chairs with backs ensure seating is more comfortable than at a standard picnic. A rustic tree branch arbor and twinkly lights help set an elegant mood along with mismatched floral china, white table linens, and attentive service.
Dinners kick off with a mix and mingle over cocktails and passed appetizers on the lawn and then head into the garden. Seats are assigned, though groups are seated together (so if you come with friends, don’t worry).
Four-course dinners will be held throughout spring, summer, and fall seasons. Heirloom fruits and vegetables from the on-site garden are featured. Wine flows and the air carries tunes played by a cellist. With blue skies overhead, lively conversations among guests, and top-notch food, the evening is hard to beat.
“Our harvest from Milton’s Acre provides inspiration for so many creative dishes,” Dollar was quoted as saying in a press release announcing the series. “Each year, we enjoy welcoming guests to the garden and giving them the opportunity taste the fruits of our labor in such a beautiful setting.”
Milton’s Acre features approximately 90 different varieties of heirloom fruits, vegetables and herbs that rotate throughout the year and are used nightly in the kitchen and behind the bar at the restaurant. Seeing its neat rows and tasting its yield may inspire you to plant a garden.
The Cinco de Mayo dinner on Sunday, May 5 served an impressive menu: margaritas with spiced salt; spicy watermelon salsa with fresh corn chips; mini mushroom quesadillas with smoked Gouda, pickled red onion and Cholula; tin can nachos; lobster tacos on blue corn tortillas; Nashville hot chicken & pickled grit tamales; wagyu carne asada; and red velvet churros with orange-cream cheese and chili chocolate dipping sauces. Each dish delighted.
The second dinner in the 2019 series was held May 19. Future dinners are set for September 15, October 13 and October 27. Garden Dinners sell out, so plan ahead for the best odds of snagging a seat. Trust us, you want one.
Each fall dinner begins 5 p.m. Garden Dinner tickets are $125 per person (including wine, tax and gratuity) and can be purchased online. Tickets are not transferrable for other dates and cannot be refunded within 48 hours of the event.
Of course the restaurant is open for more than just garden dinners. Milton’s Cusine & Cocktails is nestled in a restored 155-year-old farmhouse located in the historic district of Crabapple, north of Atlanta. The menu of contemporary Southern cuisine utilizes fresh, local ingredients.
Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails
800 Mayfield Road
21 Plus Salute! Garden Dinners are geared to adults age 21 and older since alcohol pours throughout the event. “It’s not geared towards kids at all!” says one representative. We’d applaud, but then we’d have to put down our wine. So cheers!
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails for my dinner.