Archive for Restaurant Review

Lucky’s Burger and Brew – Restaurant Review

Lucky's Burger and Brew Brookhaven

Near my home, there is a large development called Town Brookhaven. It has a myriad of retail stores and restaurants but has missed just a great burger joint.

Well, wait no more, Lucky’s Burger and Brew has opened and it is just perfect!

We’ve eaten there twice already and the service and food have been spectacular. Best part is that Lucky’s is a restaurant that proclaims its burgers in its name and they do NOT disappoint. They make burgers the old-fashioned way, by hand, with an 80/20 blend, served with fresh ingredients on super soft bread – challah in Lucky’s case.

The burgers are cleverly named and appointed based on dog breeds and can be served with beef, turkey, black bean or chicken breast. So far, my family has tried the Chihuaha (green chiles, pepper jack, chipotle mayo and guac which I had on a black bean burger – awesome!), Memphis Blood Hound (red onion, cheddar, candied bacon and bbq sauce), Georgia Dawg Pounder (fried pimento cheese ball and red pepper mayo – that’s right, I said fried pimento cheese ball that just oozes all over your burger), and the Build Your Own for my 11 year old who is a bit more picky.

The French fries and sweet potato fries are both perfect. It’s rare you order sweet potato fries that are not soggy and have great flavor. These are amazing and are even served with a blue cheese sauce for dipping…phenomenal!

We also tried the queso with homemade potato chips as well as the FRIED PICKLES! Both were awesome. My youngest devoured the mac ‘n’ cheese too!

What was even more amazing was the time the owners, Diane and Ernie, as well as the GM, Pete, spent so much time making sure we enjoyed the meal. They even convinced us to try the warm, homemade brownie with vanilla ice cream. Oh my!! Gone in just a couple of minutes.

When we walked up there for the second meal in less than a week with our dog and got caught in an Atlanta summer thunderstorm, they even gave us a ride home and a treat for Sophie. Now, THAT is how an old-school burger joint is supposed to be run.

When you go to Lucky’s Burger and Brew, because you know you’ll want to, be sure to ask for extra napkins. You’ll need them as the juice from the hand-formed burgers drips down your arms. Tastes like an amazing backyard burger with the pleasure of someone else serving it to you while you relax with a nice cold brew!

Lucky's Burger and Brew Brookhaven

When are we having our next “planning meeting”? I think I know where we should meet! ~Denise

Saltyard Restaurant Atlanta – A great place to share a meal

salt yard restaurant atlanta brookwood buckhead

Recently, my husband and I had a night out on the town with my brother and his wife. We always have a great time when we are together and it ALWAYS includes an amazing meal! See, we are all major foodies.

Love our food.

Love lots of flavors.

Oh, and we love our drink too…hence Uber was involved for the evening’s activities.

(gotta love Uber)

Anyway, after starting with some munchies and a cocktail (or two) at big bro’s place, we headed to Saltyard, a restaurant in the bottom of the Brookwood in Atlanta (South Buckhead area on Peachtree St). Since my brother goes there a lot, he had arranged for the chef’s table in front of the kitchen which was perfect for food junkies like us.

Nick Leahy, the chef, came out and introduced himself to my husband and I as we’d never met and then we started ordering some food (and drinks).

Saltyard specializes in small plates and a firm appreciation of the importance of salt. We love small plates because it gives you a chance to taste lots of different flavors all at one sitting. EVERYTHING we had was delicious. There was not one thing I could have enjoyed any more. Here is what we had (plus a couple of chef delivered surprises not on the menu).

  • Ahi tuna tartare with apple, grapefruit and miso vinaigrette
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon, anchovy and capers
  • Roasted beets with sherry, local greens and ricotta salata
  • Raw kale salad with buttermilk, sunflower seeds and blue cheese
  • Deviled farm eggs with bacon and sriracha
  • Smoked pork empanada with pickles and persimmon bbq (got two orders of these they were so good!)
  • Grilled octopus with crispy potato, red onion and cilantro

I have no way of saying what my favorite thing was as it was all really good. I mean devilved eggs with bacon and sriracha?! If everything goes better with bacon and everything goes better with sriracha, then what happens when you have both?! Flavor explosion in your mouth.

We cannot wait to go back and see what else Chef Nick Leahy and Saltyard Restaurant has to offer! Definitely worth a visit on your next outing!

We made a quick request from Uber and off we went to listen to some great live jazz to round out the evening! Good times. Good food.

Restaurant Review: Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Last weekend, my family and I  made an impromptu trip to Midtown Atlanta. My husband suggested we go to Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria (he had been there before for lunch). We got there on the early side, around 5:30 and were immediately greeted with smiles and friendliness. We gave our drink orders (you have to order a cold draft beer at a pizza place) and decided to try the garlic knots for an appetizer. We’ve ordered garlic knots at Italian places before and they are typically round and puffy. These were more like breadsticks with a knot in the middle, which made it very easy to dip into the marinara sauce.

On to the main course. I’m a sucker for a good Greek salad and had to give it a try. When it showed up, I could tell that it was going to be the best Greek salad I had ever eaten before even taking a bite. The only thing I did not know from the appearance was if the dressing was oily. Much to my delight, the dressing was fabulous!

Max's Pizza Marietta Street

My daughter ordered the half salad with a half chicken parmigiana sandwich. She loved every bite!

Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria

Next up, the coal fire pizzas!! My son ordered one with pepperoni, italian sausage and olives. My husband ordered a meat lovers. We thought they were individual pizzas, but in reality, they could have easily split one. When the pizzas were delivered to our table, the manager came out and said that he was making a new pizza because the one my son ordered had a hole in the middle. With all of the melted cheesy goodness, we couldn’t even tell and told him not to worry about it. He insisted on bringing us a dessert later since we wouldn’t let him bring a new pizza. Both pizzas were outstanding. The crust was thin but not too thin. Actually, it was just right!

After we took care of boxing up our leftovers, the manager came over and asked us our preference for dessert. He offered a choice of cannolis or zeppolis. We opted for the zeppolis which are similar to beignets. They were served with a side of chocolate sauce as well as raspberry sauce. When the manager came back over to ask how we liked the dessert, we told him how much we enjoyed it, as well as the rest of the meal. I went on about the Greek salad and he gave me a sample of the dressing to take home. Now THAT is customer service!

The experience at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria was nothing less than extraordinary. You will not be disappointed!!

Overall rating:
5 wine glasses

Rating scale:

5  wine glasses = Outstanding, a MUST

4  wine glasses = Highly Recommend

3  wine glasses = Put on your long list

2  wine glasses = We hope to never have a 2, so it’s not defined yet

1  wine glass = We know we will never have a 1 but if we do we just won’t write about it. Too many lawyers in this town!

10th and Piedmont – Restaurant Review

Have you been to Midtown Atlanta recently? Is so, you might have noticed that what was an Atlanta institution for so many years is gone. At the southwest corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue was Outwrite Bookstore. Outwrite was a bookstore and coffeehouse that occupied that corner for 18 years. It catered to the LGBT community of not only Atlanta but from wherever folks visited. I never went, but for the majority of my adult life, it was there and I always expected it to be there.

Well, due to financial difficulties, the owner had to close. Now the former bookstore has been completely revamped to become a fantastic new addition to the restaurant scene – 10th & Piedmont.

My husband and I had a ‘date night’ and decided to check it out. Reservations were easy as always when OpenTable is involved. Parking was easy as well with a shared lot next door with valet. We ate a bit early (6:30) as we had a concert to get to so it is possible the parking situation might change later in the evening.

We sat at a table by the huge windows that now can open up and let in the air and all the ‘ambience’ a hustling midtown intersection has to offer (which is a lot!). Of course, this is early August in Atlanta so the windows were closed and the A/C was running!!

10th and Piedmont had a nice selection of cocktails and over 100 vodkas to choose from! They even had a vodka sipping menu to try. I’ll definitely go back and check that out some time!! Did you know vodka can be made from wheat, rye, corn, sorghum, potato, and even grapes!  I tried the Vesper because I’m a huge Bond fan. It was a martini with vodka, house-made ginger syrup, brandy, Lillet, lime twist and a hibiscus flower. It was beautiful and delicious.

restaurant at 10th and piedmont

The menu was primarily a sharing style menu that changes with the season. My husband and I love ‘tapas’ as you have the opportunity to taste many different styles and flavors the chef offers in one sitting. Turns out, we must have picked (with some help from the waitress) some of the best dishes as they were all delicious.

We started with the 10P salad for the table. It was huge for a sharing style menu and very good! It had mixed greens of arugula and spinach, goat cheese, some endive that had been shaved, homemade croutons, currants, pears, almonds and a nice light vinaigrette. Perfect on a hot day.

We then had the Ecuadorian Style Ceviche with a mix of shrimp, calamari and scallops. Also delicious and perfect for a hot day. The liquid of the ceviche tasted like gazpacho. It was so good, Mark and I tipped up the little cups they were served in and drank it. Not sure if that was ‘allowed’ by Emily Post but it was a must.

We then had the Southern pot stickers and bocadillo. Oh my! The pot stickers had tremendous flavor and were stuffed with pork and collard greens to let us know that we were still in The South!! The bocadillo was served on the freshest bread and slapped you in the face with flavor. It was served with pork, tomato marmalade, whole grain mustard, asiago cheese and arugula. I could have eaten 3-4 of those sandwiches!!

We had to bug out before we could try their made-to-order chocolate soufflé but there is always a next time. I loved it!! We will definitely go back to 10th and Piedmont and we wish them well.

Restaurant Review: EDISON at The Grove Park Inn

I recently enjoyed a girl’s trip to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC with one of my dear friends. It was the kick-off to her 50th birthday celebration that is intended to last at least a month. Personally, I think a month is probably not enough to celebrate such a great birthday but maybe the shortness in duration is accommodated by the quality of the celebration. Starting at the Grove Park Inn is certainly a testament to the quality!


The Grove Park Inn is celebrating its 100th birthday this year as it was built in 1913. They have been working hard to do some massive renovations to the hotel and they are doing a fantastic job. The place looks great! I love the mid-century modern flare throughout the hotel. As part of the renovations, the hotel has renovated a large area of the Sammons Wing with a new bar and restaurant area called EDISON. We were lucky enough that they decided to do a ‘soft opening’ during our visit and were able to enjoy dinner.

The menu is very Southern with a modern twist on some great comfort food items. We were impressed with all of the options and regional accommodations to items such as their charcuterie and cheese platters which included a shout out to Sweet Grass Dairies from Georgia and Benton Farms in Tennessee. They have duck fat fries with a fig ketchup too! What’s not to love about that. It was hard to choose our main courses but opted for the BBQ porterhouse pork chop and the chef’s interpretation of a Southern favorite, chicken and waffles. The pork porterhouse was served atop applewood bacon baked beans and cooked to order which is a nice change for those of us who have enjoyed some cuts of pork cooked medium for a long time. The fried chicken was well seasoned and perfectly cooked and the sweet potato waffles were a great texture comparison with the chicken. Instead of the maple syrup, it was served with a local honey hot sauce that was delicious.

Desserts were equally difficult to decide between but we ended up with a deconstructed grilled lemon pound cake with honey mascarpone cream and blackberry and Earl Grey tea compote as well as a caramel popcorn ice cream that was playful and delicious.  The beer and cocktail list was fantastic and the wine list was pretty good. It was created with craft ale’s in mind more so than wine so that makes complete since. I had the Centennial Ale handcrafted for the Grove Park Inn by Highlands Brewery and it did not disappoint!! Very nice.

The restaurant is a more casual flare to the hotel and a great place for families and couples alike. There are large sofas and comfortable chairs and big screen TVs intermixed with the tables. As always, there are stellar views on Sunset Mountain.

new restaurant at Grove Park Inn

The décor was complete with old school ‘Edison-esque’ light bulbs with the large filaments peppered throughout the dining area.

new restaurant at Grove Park Inn

If you end up in Asheville, or better yet, at the Grove Park Inn, this is a must try! We were lucky enough to sit next to the chef’s wife and parents. They were beaming with excitement for him and I now know why! Congratulations, Chef Jake Schmidt!!

King + Duke Restaurant Review: Atlanta

King and Duke Restaurant

We decided that it might be nice to start doing reviews of restaurants when we go out, especially newer restaurants or ones that just catch our eye for one reason or another.

As many of our followers know, we went to King + Duke for Melissa’s birthday last weekend. It’s located in the same place where Nava was on the corner of Peachtree and W.Paces Ferry and is Chef Ford Fry’s latest concept in the Atlanta area and his first in Buckhead. Chef Joseph Schafer runs the kitchen. It is supposed to be kind of like a colonial American tavern with a huge wood stove where most of their meats are prepared.

I will come right out and say that the outside patio and dining area alone are reasons enough to go there, even if it’s just for drinks and apps. There is an outside bar, lots of sofas and comfortable chairs to sit on and an abundance of shade. Even though they don’t have a fully stocked bar outside, it was stocked well enough. We both ordered some vodka drinks (Stoli) and they were delicious, not too stiff, not too watered down.

Now for the food. Instead of a typical bread basket, they served white cheddar popovers. They were, in a word…..ridiculous!!! After we savored our popovers, we started with the deviled eggs and candied lamb belly. Most of you who know me are thinking, “well Denise just ate the popovers.” Wrong!! I left the deviled eggs for the rest of the table since they just really aren’t my thing anyway (besides, they gave us three, even though there were four of us, which we all found odd). Even though I didn’t eat the deviled eggs, everyone said they were fabulous. Onto the lamb belly. Have I had lamb before? If you call eating a gyro having lamb, then yes. Otherwise, no. It was amazing!! Of course, it was lamb bacon so why wouldn’t it be! It was served with sheep’s milk feta, marinated cucumbers and warm flat bread.

I ordered the Gum Creek Pork Roast. It was served 2 ways and came with braised spring Vidalia onions, charred kale and sour cherry. The entire dish was excellent. There was really nothing to complain about. My husband ordered the bone-in NY Strip which was cooked perfectly and delicious. Melissa had Mississippi rabbit which was served 4 different ways. She thought her dish was phenominal. I actually tried a small piece of rabbit for the first time. It was very good, but I won’t lie…I still thought of Thumper. Melissa’s husband ordered the Hearth Roasted Fish of the Moment. Another winner!!

The sauce that came with our toffee bread pudding thing-a-ma-jig did us all in. If we were in the comfort of our own homes, we probably would have licked the plate dry. Chrysta Poulos (pastry chef) did an outstanding job on that one!

So, if you are looking for a new place to go for an amazing dinner, or a fun atmosphere for Happy Hour, give King + Duke a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall rating:
5 wine glasses

Rating scale:

5  wine glasses = Outstanding, a MUST

4  wine glasses = Highly Recommend

3  wine glasses = Put on your long list

2  wine glasses = We hope to never have a 2, so it’s not defined yet

1  wine glass = We know we will never have a 1 but if we do we just won’t write about it. Too many lawyers in this town!