Fine dining in a farmhouse

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Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails serves New Southern Cuisine

Milton's staff STORY & PHOTOS BY KATIE VANBRACKLE katie@northsidewoman.com Milton's dining room

My nose leads the way. Following the scent of fresh herbs and braised apple-brined pork, I find Executive Chef Boyd Rose presiding over the kitchen at Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails, preparing for another evening of delighting diners with his New Southern Cuisine.

One can’t help but feel at home in the 150-year-old restored farmhouse nestled in the heart of historic Crabapple. Small, intimate rooms with fireplaces, a wood-paneled bar and attractive outdoor patio create an inviting, cozy atmosphere. The charming setting, combined with Chef Rose’s regionally inspired comfort food, has earned a loyal following.

Back in the kitchen, Chef Rose smiles as he reaches for an old, well-seasoned cast iron skillet that once belonged to his grandmother. “Granny Alexander” taught him to cook scrambled eggs and cornbread in that skillet when Rose was only 4 years old. He has many happy memories of watching his grandmother, mother and aunt create Southern meals in their Huntsville, Ala. kitchens, always including Rose in some way. “Taste this dressing, son. Does it need more sage?”

After moving to Charleston, S.C. to earn a degree in culinary arts, Rose spent 13 years blending his cooking roots with time-honored Low Country methods. Working with some of Charleston’s top chefs, he learned to use French techniques to bring out the best in Southern ingredients. Living on the coast also fueled his love for cooking with fresh fish and seafood.

At Milton’s, Chef Rose enjoys surprising people who have fixed ideas of what Southern cooking is all about. When corporate clients bring in executives from other parts of the country, Rose insists they give local stone-ground grits a try.

“Most are converts,” he said with a modest grin, once they sample his pimento cheese grits, lemon grits or cream corn grits with smoked bacon and asiago cheese.

Chef Rose paired goat cheese grits with crispy seared Niman Ranch pork belly and spicy tomato jam to cinch the award for Best Appetizer at the 2011 Taste of Alpharetta. He also won the Best Fine Dining Entrée award for his jumbo diver sea scallops served with mushroom and spring pea risotto and corn coulis.

Rose believes simplicity is the key to enjoyable food and creates nightly specials based on what’s growing in Milton’s Acre, a private, organic vegetable and herb garden located just behind the restaurant.

Local sources are sought for ingredients that can’t be grown in the garden, such as mountain trout from North Georgia, which is served sesame-crusted with scallion mashed potatoes, asparagus, sweet potato-shrimp fritters and red chile syrup.

Milton’s opens daily at 5 p.m. and offers a New Southern Brunch on Sundays at 11 a.m. During warmer months, the patio is the place to be with live music Thursday through Saturday and “BBQ and Blues” events on the last Sunday of each month.

Cooking demonstrations are offered year-round with Planters Punch and dishes for a Low Country Christmas Brunch on the menu for Dec. 14. Contact the restaurant for reservations.

Chef Rose’s passion for cooking is shared with other members of his closely-knit staff, many of whom are culinary students themselves. Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails celebrated its five-year anniversary in August and continues to gain recognition as one of the best restaurants in metro Atlanta.

Granny Alexander would be proud.

 

Left: Shrimp and Grits with red and yellow bell peppers, smoked bacon, mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes and lemon butter sauce. $21. Center: Charleston Crab Bisque with asiago cheese twist and sherry drizzle. $8. Right: Espresso Rubbed Apple-Brined Pork Loin with sweet potato, parsnip and andouille hash, grilled asparagus and a wild mushroom, bourbon, red wine demi-glace.  $25

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