What a beautiful, unexpected treasure Milledgeville has been hiding. Among the other, more student-driven restaurants, there is Aubri Lanes, a chic, gorgeous jewel box, shining out into the nighttime street.
On the ground floor, this former bank holds a few small tables, the grand bar and three snugs that each fit a party of six, plus a vault that has a tiny table for two among hundreds of bottles of wine. Upstairs, there are dozens of smaller tables, the glamorous restrooms, and a private room with a perpetual digital fireplace. The overall color scheme is shades of coffee: cafe au lait walls, cappuccino table cloths, espresso tables and chairs and black trim. Tall white wainscoting keeps everything looking fresh and elegant.
At first glance at the appetizers, I worried that someone in the kitchen was too in love with sriracha sauce, the hipster hot and sweet sauce. The Hot Damn shrimp was indeed worth cursing over, with tender fried shrimp coated in a hot, sweet, creamy sauce served over baby spinach. The buttermilk-fried Buffalo Quail were the tiniest version of Buffalo wings Ive ever seen, with a much higher ratio of meat to bone than regular chicken wings. If I could have made a meal just on the appetizers, I would have also tried the Pretzels n Beer, served with a bacon, beer and cheddar dip as well as three kinds of mustard; Adams Ribs, roasted St. Louis style and served with Asian coleslaw; and the Fried Chicken and Waffles that come with a bourbon and blackberry spiced maple syrup.
Fortunately, I resisted the urge to have only appetizers because the entrees were equally good. My coffee-crusted salmon with Coca Cola barbecue glaze was perfectly caramelized along the edges, and the Orchard Stuffed pork loin contained all my favorite flavors together, including cranberries, goat cheese, blackberry marmalade, Granny Smith apple and red onion. It even had a chicken and sage sausage to blend all the flavors together.
There are too many other notable entrees for this space, so visit the website (www.aubrilanes.com) to see descriptions of the bleu cheese crusted meatloaf, blackened tilapia with mushroom risotto, and the Antebellum Bistro filet as well as several others.
For dessert we had the bread pudding and apple turnovers. The bread pudding is made from the sweet rolls that are served with each meal, with plumped raisins and bananas foster sauce. The turnovers reminded us of old-school McDonalds apple pies, when they used to be fried and filled with apple slices. It would seem this similarity is intentional, as the shape of the two pies are definitely rectangular with crimped edges, with a few extra fried apples and a scoop of vanilla ice cream rounding it all out.
I dont know how Milledgeville has managed to hide Aubri Lanes from its neighbors for five years, but I expect it will not be a secret for much longer.
Address: 114 S. Wayne St., Milledgeville
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $14-$26
Rating: 4 stars