Sometimes a little trip out of town is just the change of scene you need. We took a short drive north to the cute little burg of Forsyth, to their charming square surrounding their lovely brick City Hall.
The most venerable fine dining in town, Grits Cafe, has gone through fire (literally) to transform into the jewel it has become. A double fireplace between two busy dining rooms, al fresco dining out front, a crowded bar full of regulars and two overflow rooms that double as private party rooms all contribute to a vibrant, exciting atmosphere that make you feel like you chose the right place.
We started with the Farmstand flatbread topped with fresh basil pesto, tomatoes, zucchini, shiitake, provolone, arugula and balsamic reduction for $12. We also tried the chicken pot pie stew, a special topped with a biscuit crumble. Both were delicious. We’ve had the caramelized onion tart with garlic custard and the fried green tomato Napoleon and can vouch for those as well.
Our entrees were pricey but mostly worth it. The Southern-fried plantation quail cordon bleu was stuffed with provolone and wrapped in bacon with a cafe au lait (coffee-mushroom) sauce for $25. While I usually prefer a mildly seasoned salmon, my blackened salmon was not too heavily spiced and served with a delightful black-eye pea cake for $23.
Our red-meat eaters had the $38 grilled filet mignon, with house-made Boursin, candied bacon and rosemary roasted potatoes topped with the cafe au lait sauce. The night’s special was steak au poivre for the same price and not a scrap was left. In fact, all plates were clean before we ordered our desserts.
The three desserts that sounded most appealing were the coffee and doughnut bread pudding, the creme filet brulee, and a “muddy” baked Alaska, each for $8. The creme brulee — a good baseline for any review — was just as it should be, with a crackled top and a creamy bottom. The bread pudding sounded so Southernly exotic that my bar was too high; it was a bit bland for the description. Their take on the baked Alaska was a cute little beehive with a tasty cashew brownie and coffee ice cream center, but marshmallow cream does not a baked Alaska make.
Our evening was thoroughly enjoyable, in no smart part due to wonderful food, great company and the perfect ambiance. As the holidays approach, treat yourself to a fantastic meal made just for you.
Address: 17 W Johnson St., Forsyth
Hours: 11a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Payment: Credit card, cash
Kids Menu: No
Noise Level: Medium to high
Health Rating: 92
Price range: $18-$38
Restaurant reviewer dines anonymously at Telegraph expense. New restaurants must be open at least two months before a review. Reviews are not related to advertising.