Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SPRIG - MAY 2018

We were looking to try a new restaurant with friends, and SPRIG came to mind.  The restaurant is in Decatur but not on the square.  It's in an innocuous strip mall center at the end.  But, the atmosphere is fun and casual.  More importantly, the food is fabulous.

2860 Lavista Road
Decatur, GA 30033

A view from the exterior:

Photo of Sprig Restaurant - Decatur, GA, United States. Sprig- worth a try but not the drive

We entered the restaurant and sat at the bar while waiting for our friends to arrive.  The bar is filled with what they say is the "largest bourbon selection in the city".  We, alas, don't drink bourbon, so we went with vodka drinks.  They had a Lemony Vodka Collins that was fabulous and they custom made it for me to not be too sweet.  LOVED the drink!
Photo of Sprig Restaurant - Decatur, GA, United States

Photo of Sprig Restaurant - Decatur, GA, United States

The website states:
Seasonal menus, The freshest ingredients, a fantastic wine list, the largest selection bourbon/whiskey in the city.

Sample menu:

Grit Fries cajun tomato gravy, parmesan cheese 8 GF
Mussels white wine garlic cream sauce 12 GF
Brussels Sprouts flash fried, feta cheese, balsamic reduction 9 GF
Red Beet Hummus seasonal veggies, toasted pita points 8 GFA
Smoked Trout Dip cucumber slices, house-made chips 9 GF
Ahi Tuna Nachos avocado slices, wasabi cream, black sesame seeds 12 GF
Seafood Fritto Misto calamari, shrimp & scallops, onions & peppers, sweet chili sauce 9 GF
Pimento Cheese topped with warm bacon jam, sourdough bread, mini pickles 10 GF
Fried Oysters bacon jam, leek reduction 12 GF
Salmon red beet risotto, sautéed spinach, saffron cream 22 GF
Roasted Airline Chicken goat cheese stuffed, brussels sprout hash, purple mashed potatoes, garlic gravy 21 GF
Shrimp and Grits pepper medley, andouille, onions, cajun sherry cream sauce 19 GF
Pecan Crusted Trout mushroom medley, grilled asparagus, leek reduction 20 GF
Scallops pan seared, grit cakes, sautéed asparagus, bacon jam 30 GF
Alligator Tacos mango pineapple pico di gallo, shredded lettuce, chipotle ranch 20
Vegetable Entree farro, baby carrots, parsnips, spring peas, kale, mushrooms, feta, soft fried egg 16
*Bone-In Pork Chop sweet potato wedges, broccoli & asparagus sauté, apple bourbon glaze 22 GF
*Ribeye 8oz, potatoes au gratin, pan seared okra, tomato, onion sauté, peppercorn au poivre 28 GF
Lamb Stroganoff egg noodles, mushrooms, red wine reduction 18 GFA
Crawfish Mac n Cheese 18
Vegetarian Cajun Pasta mushroom medley, cherry tomatoes, spinach, cajun red pepper cream sauce 16 GF
add chicken (4), shrimp (6), * salmon (6), fried oysters (6)
House mixed greens, seasonal berries, pecans, feta cheese, meyer lemon vinaigrette 6/11 GF
Kale Caesar kale, parmesan cheese, corn bread croutons 5/10 GF
Spinach red and yellow roasted beets, seasonal berries, almonds, goat cheese, sesame vinaigrette 6/11 GF
Quinoa greens, quinoa, feta, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, honey citrus vinaigrette 8/12 GF
*Classic Sprig CAB Burger pickles, lettuce, tomato (cheese $1) 12 GFA
*World Famous Sprig CAB Burger pimento cheese, fried pickles, bacon jam 14 GFA

Our friends arrived, and after a bit, we were seated and given menus.

Didn't love the laminated (sticky) menus I must say - they should have paper ones with no laminate.

Our server arrived (who was great the entire evening) and we quickly ordered some items to begin.

We began with the Ahi Tuna Nachos.  Just WOW!  These were so fabulous, I probably could've eaten 2 orders all by myself.  Just a delectable combination of flavors.  Perfect.

We also sampled the Smoked Trout Dip.  I loved the homemade chips but the dip lacked flavor to me.  I make a smoked fish dip and know the amount of work that goes into it.  This one didn't have enough trout flavor for me.  It was good, but not great.  Loved the presentation though.

I had the salmon for my main course.  It arrived too undercooked after I had ordered it medium-well.  I did not say anything because we were having so much fun with friends we hadn't seen in a long time.

And the saffron sauce was OK tasting, but as you can see in the picture it was very unappetizing.  It had a French's yellow mustard sort of look.  Then the beet risotto was good, but again, I personally thought the combination of colors wasn't appealing palate wise.  And you can't really tell in the photo but the size of my salmon was enormous - just another unappealing aspect of the dish.

Two in our party got the Alligator tacos though, and these were THE BOMB!  I loved them and after having a bite of one I was so jealous.  If we return soon, I'll get these!  SO SO GOOD! I usually don't even want a bite of fried things, BUT wow!

My friend got the fried oysters as her main course and loved them.  There was nothing left!

We decided to sample some desserts (ALL WERE FABULOUS), and when they arrived we dug in before I could snap pics, but here's the best I could do:
 Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie with Bourbon & Burnt Sugar Ice Cream
 Key Lime Pie - YESSSS!!!!!

 Deep Dish Cherry Pie:  I didn't sample this one, but based on the fact that there was not a crumb left in the end, I'd say it was a hit!

We had a very nice dinner at Sprig.  The service was very very good from the hostess to the bartenders to our server.  The food was good, with the exception of my salmon dish.  I'd go back there tomorrow and order the tuna nachos and the alligator tacos - they are THAT good!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


We finally made it to GUNSHOW!  Our son-in-law's birthday rolled around so we decided to treat both of our adult kids and their significant others to dinner at Gunshow.  It was a treat!

Gunshow is headed by renowned Chef Kevin Gillespie  - so it's not easy to snag a reservation here.  It took a few weeks advance planning and a week night reservation for our party of 6 to get a spot.  But boy were we glad we did!

When you walk in the door it hits you immediately that you are not in an ordinary restaurant.  There are no walls to speak of - just one room that includes tables for dining, two bars: one for drinks and one for dining and the open kitchen with chefs racing around preparing the day's dishes.

The bar area at Gunshow:
 My son-in-law and my daughter, both May babies:
 One of their specialty drinks du jour:
The vodka drink was good and it was refreshing but it was made with "asparagus vodka" so after about 1/2 the glass, I really had had enough asparagus flavor.  It really overtook the drink in my opinion.  Some flavors are lovely like cucumber, pepper, lime, basil, but asparagus isn't a flavor I want in my mixed drink again.  Two others in our party agreed.

And their take on an Old-Fashioned:

They ignite a cinnamon stick, then they rub the rim with orange and voila!

 The menu the night we were there:

Once you are seated at Gunshow, the fun begins.  Chefs come by with carts on wheels with a sampling of what they've prepared that night (all are on the menu above).  And you have to decide whether you want to try that chef's dish or not.  And if you DO want to sample it, you then decide HOW MANY of the dish you want.  The chef then takes your menu and writes a number on the side so they can tally your bill at the end of the evening.

Here are the dishes we sampled on this particular night:


We devoured this dish, so unfortunately this picture is the only one I was able to snag.  Loved the mushroom flavor here.  It was decadent without being too rich.

The sweetbreads were delish!  These are not for everyone, but I thought the dish was wonderful, and the combination of flavors was really great.

Our group thought these ribs were fabulous (I'm not a peanut butter fan, so they weren't for me).  But the combination of the "Elvis" favs: peanut butter, banana and bacon, was a hit.

This dish was MY favorite!  Those fritters were prepared perfectly and then dipping them in the gazpacho was incredible.  There was definitely some spice to the dish but it was executed with style. LOVED this dish!
This dish was so good.  The picture doesn't even come close.  And who thinks to combine fennel with pulled pork?  The combination was lovely, and the crunch of the pork rinds was fun.

Most of the people in our group loved this dish - the creamy grits and the small farm egg were great.  I loved the salty duck hash with the habanero to offset the richness.
 The egg:

 This dish was decadent and delicious
We were fighting over who could get the last bite!
  Just wow.  This entree dish was absolute perfection.
All 6 of us agreed that this one was spectacular.  Loved loved loved the salty country ham with the red snapper and creamy peas.  Just amazingly good.  We got 3 of these for our group of 6 people and it was the perfect amount.

 And no one had room for dessert but it WAS Brian's birthday so we demurred and went with the WARM BANANA PUDDING
OMG!  Each bite was better than the last and we scraped our 3 orders clean.  Ridiculously good.
We all had a ball at Gunshow!  We stepped out of our element for a night and all of us ended up sampling some things we hadn't tried before (like sweetbreads!), and because you are getting "samplings" of dishes, you can have a variety of things without getting totally stuffed.

Perhaps my only "complaint" would be that at some point in the evening we wanted a mixed drink (that wasn't asparagus vodka), and our server said that they couldn't make one that wasn't on the drinks special menu.  He went so far as to ask what we wanted (pretty easy: vodka and grapefruit), and he said he'd check (and never did).  We ended up just ordering a couple of bottles or Malbec for the table, but they have a huge bar, so it seemed a bit strange that they couldn't accommodate that request.

Gunshow: it's not a place you'd want to drop by every night perhaps, but what a fun evening we had!  The food is fabulous, innovative and fun.  And the atmosphere is high energy, loud and casual.  I highly recommend going and experiencing what Kevin Gillespie has created: a gem of a dining experience in Atlanta.

Monday, May 28, 2018


I met some girlfriends in Duluth, GA recently and found out that there are numerous restaurants there that I haven't tried.  Here's a pic of us celebrating our friend Denise's birthday:

My husband and I went back that evening and sampled a few items from Noona - a steak and seafood restaurant with a Korean flair.

3550 W Lawrenceville St suite 310, Duluth, GA 30096

A view of the exterior of Noona:

When you enter the restaurant, you are struck by the open casual feel of the place.  You can see the kitchen and bar area, and it's filled with funky light fixtures.

Photo of Noona Steakhouse & Oyster Bar - Duluth, GA, United States
yelp images
We perused the cocktail list and began deciding on our choices for the evening. 

The yummy cocktail list:

Sample menu from their website:
Menu — Noona Steakhouse & Oyster Bar

 I decided to go with a SHSO LIME RICKEY (but substituted vodka for the gin).

Fabulous drink!

My husband's drink - just a vodka and club soda - but they prepared it like he likes it.

And then we started off with a selection of raw oysters.  These are flown in daily so change often.  We went with 3 northeastern US samples that were on the smallish side.  All divine!

Sample oyster menu (potentially changes daily):
Photo of Noona Steakhouse & Oyster Bar - Duluth, GA, United States. Happy Hour oyster! Fresh clean look like I'm in midtown Atlanta but downtown Duluth! Surprise
yelp images

A pic of the goldfish they serve with their raw oysters.  Love the fun and the crunchiness accompaniment!

Crackers, lemon, cocktail sauce and horserashish:

And, they serve their mignonette in a glass bottle with a dropper, so you're not pouring it all over your plate each time you want some.  Brilliant idea!

Very good bread and butter:
 For our entrees, I went with seafood.  Their fish is flown in fresh from Florida, and today's choice was tilefish.  It was beautifully prepared with a fennel and citrus picked side.  So delicious!

 My husband went with a filet and was very glad he did - it was fork tender, juicy and prepared exactly as ordered.  It was topped with a Korean Gochujang (Korean chili paste)  butter which was fabulous!  All meats are purchased from Meats by Linz in Chicago.

Their meats are extremely high quality (not inexpensive), and there were some delectable choices, but my husband went with the filet.

There was only one thing on the menu that we didn't care for and that was the broccoli.  It was prepared with sesame oil (which I love) and lightly cooked, but the flavor reminded both of us like we were eating a cigarette!  It was THAT offensive.  But, when our server Jean (who was great!) came by and asked about how we liked our meal, we said just that - "the entrees were really great, but that we didn't care for the broccoli."  We didn't complain per se, but we let her know that was why we weren't eating the side dish.

Within minutes the owner came by and apologized for the dish and asked if we would please allow him to bring us a Kimchi collard greens dish instead.  We acquiesced and let me tell you, THAT dish was to die for.  I've never had collard greens taste that way - tangy, and spicy and oh so good!  And later, when we were presented with the bill, they had taken off the broccoli and treated us to the collard greens dish.  Very classy way to handle the situation.

 The photo doesn't do this dish justice! Kimchi Collard Greens:

This hidden gem in Duluth is worth the drive!  The service was outstanding and the food wonderful.  It's a casual fun atmosphere in hot Duluth, Georgia.  We'll be back!