Wednesday, February 15, 2012

IT STARTS FRESH AND ENDS HAPPY AT TRUFFLES GRILL

A visit to Hilton Head would not be complete without a meal at Truffles Café. Price Beall and his wife Karen have operated this highly popular eatery for nearly 30 years. One day, probably after a glass or two of fine wine with his brother Sandy Beall, CEO of Ruby Tuesday, a thought was born to take the successful Truffles Café concept of serving affordable high quality freshly made foods in an upscale casual setting nationwide as Truffles Grill. To make this vision a reality, Price entered into a licensing agreement with Ruby Tuesday to provide logistical support. Re-designing the former Ruby Tuesday across from Lenox Mall, Truffles Grill opened its Atlanta location December 2010. Now, Buckhead has a place to bring your family, office colleagues, date, and friends to get together and enjoy all-American comfort foods at a good value in a setting that beckons a good time.

One side of the Truffles Grill Atlanta is set-up somewhat like a sports bar with multiple big-screen TV’s to watch whatever game while sipping on your favorite “time to gel” libation. The other section while somewhat removed from the occasional cheers serves as the main dining room. Looking over the wine list, it is obvious that Price has considerable knowledge of quality to value wines as there is an outstanding selection of wines by the glass. Don’t miss the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc with its bright but lush tropical flavors; or the silky yet complex flavored Newton Claret, not your typical casual eatery wines. And if a cocktail is your desire, Kimberly Grant, the mastermind behind the cocktail list, has assembled some amazing sensual drinks. The absolutely delightful and refreshing Pear & Elderflower Martini re-defines “thirst quencher”, but if your yum factor needs enticing, get the Super Fruit Cooler - a blend of the Absolut Berri Açaí, Veev Açaí, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, and muddled fresh cucumber – somehow this exotic potion seems to miraculously cure any of those nagging aliments.

Mentored by the Bealls, the vivacious Chef Traci Green oversees the kitchen’s preparation of those foods that have become a family tradition since 1983. A perfect place to warm the appetite is the freshly made Tomato and Dill Soup with its rich hardy flavors. And if Soup ‘n’ Salad is your yearning, then don’t miss the crispy Napa Salad - finely shredded napa cabbage, topped with toasted almonds, rice noodles, and sesame seeds, that’s drizzled with an exquisite ginger dressing. To take this salad to the extreme, slices of sushi grade Ahi Tuna grace the bed of cabbage, making for a total wow. The starters are designed to share with the table. The woodsy flavors of the Tuscan-inspired Fresh Mushroom Crostini is a blend of chopped mushrooms (cremini, shitake, and button), sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, and first press extra virgin olive oil - absolutely scrumptious. The not-to-be missed pan-seared Black Bean Cake will certainly fire up any sleepy taste buds. A mouth-watering combination of black beans, cilantro, jalapeños, and red sweet peppers that’s topped with a tangy Southwestern sauce, spicy tasso ham, and a smoked corn salsa. And if seafood is on your radar, you can’t go wrong with the perfectly fried plump gulf shrimp that’s breaded in coconut and served with smoky apricot and honey mango dipping sauces.

The entrée selection is extensive and will satisfy any desire from chicken potpie to baby back ribs to various fish offerings with many more in between. Without losing any of its delicate crab flavors, the pan-seared lump crab cakes are amped up with a sassy house-made creamy wasabi sauce – so tasty. Also called a dolphinfish, the grilled Mahi-Mahi is seasoned with Cajun spices and topped with a tropical tasting mango salsa that has a nice zing from the added mint, garlic, and lime juice, bringing out the fish’s subtle sweet flavors. But if there is one dish that stands out as a classic, it’s the Crispy Chicken. Truffles Grill’s version is an atypical fried chicken as no breading is used; it’s deep fried until the skin is ultra-crispy, making for a nice crunch. The half bird is then chopped into pieces then tossed in a zesty ginger and soy sauce vinaigrette, and served with the perfect complement, a side of creamy truffled mac ’n’ cheese, made with a trio of cheeses. Be forewarned, the portions are somewhat large and can easily be shared, that is if you are in the mood for sharing.

If you still have a morsel of space left in your appetite, don’t think twice, order the Blondie. This sweet tooth tease was created in 1983 at the original Truffles Café and hasn’t changed since- a blonde brownie is baked with butterscotch and chocolate chips and served warm. To ignite sensory overload, this divine treat is topped with vanilla bean ice cream, and house-made caramel and chocolate-sea salt sauces. After the last bite from these freshly made offerings, enjoy that sense of contentment and happiness that seems to set in, and just think you don’t have to go to Hilton Head to find it, and with the money you save, Lenox Mall is across the street. Enjoy!

LGTG FRIENDLY *****

FOOD ****

PRICE *****

AMBIENCE *****

DRINKS *****

WHERE WOMEN COME OUT| www.labrysatl.com


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