Decatur Night Out

Decatur Night Out

Why not a Decatur night out for special occasions? It occurred to me yesterday that Decatur has reached a new zenith in it’s status as the dining destination .in Atlanta Georgia,  I have long touted Decatur’s many dining options and have been a frequent diner at many of the lovely restaurants that line the streets around the Courthouse.  But it was a personal milestone that awakened me to exactly how I feel about Decatur as “The” Atlanta” dining destination. 

Decatur Night out

My husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary yesterday (March 14, 2012) and as is our custom, decided to celebrate by dining at a “special” restaurant.

 In the past we would have headed to Buckhead in search of fine dining that met our requirement of “something special” for a special occasion. And these old standards are still worthy of a visit.  La Grotta, Ninos, Pricci, Kyma or Anis.  We might also have chosen Canoe (sits beside the Chattahoochee River near Vinings).

Yesterday there was no real debate about our destination.  We just had to narrow our selection down to one or two restaurants in Decatur.  Because Decatur is where it is happening in the Atlanta restaurant scene.

We started our evening out at The Marley.  It was gorgeous outside and we headed to The Marley so we could sit at the outside tables and soak up some sun.  The patio at The Marley was a happening place as I ran in to friends from Church, real estate colleagues and some past clients.

Tim and I sat next to a cute couple who were out with their nine month old daughter and we had fun making faces at the little cutie.  She had a lovely smile and it was fun coaxing her to give us a big grin.  We selected a couple of draft micro brews from the extensive selection at The Marley and proceeded to people watch: joggers, children on the playground at a nearby church, folks out for a stroll with baby carriages, dogs, children and friends. When we got hungry we ordered some “sliders” and then were delighted by fried cod and tartar sauce on a slider bun roll.  

We had planned to move up the street to a French restaurant for dinner but got sucked in by the plates passing by our table.  I ordered a cod-pickled beets-goat cheese and pear salad while Tim enjoyed a gourmet bangers and mash dish.  When the sun finally dropped we headed up the street in search of dessert.


Decatur night outThere are many options for dessert in Decatur but we decided going to the Iberian Pig would be perfect for us as it would perhaps remind us of a lovely visit our family made to Spain.  We walked in the door and found the place was hopping.  We took a seat at the bar and proceeded to look over the wine list.  

Before we could settle in Sean, the bartender and host extraordinaire, took us in hand and directed us to one of the house tempranillo selections. We had also been looking over the cheese list and asked for Sean’s help.  Sean suggested we consider ordering the three cheese plate and we asked if he would make the selection of cheeses for us.  When delivered to us the platter had a cow cheese (Mahon) matched with a honey sauce, a sheeps milk cheese (manchego) on a quince jam and a goat’s cheese (monte enebro) on what might have been a pomegranate paste.  These delightful cheeses were a perfect dessert and made for a tasting and flavor explosion as we sipped the red wine and dabbed bites of cheese in each sauce.

We thought our evening was over but Ashton, who was preparing tapas for the waiters to carry out to tables, had other ideas.  He soon introduced us the some special hams (jamon) from pigs fed an acorn diet.  The hams were also deeply flavored with herbs and salt during a long cure. These bites that can only be described as exquisite. (Iberico Tasting – Jamon Iberico, Paleta Iberico de Bellota, & Lomo Iberico de Bellota).

We moved on to a glass of Rose and finally finished with a glass of sparkling wine.  As Ashton was preparing tapas he would mention the which ingredients he was working with and the flavors that could be anticipated from each bite.  Ashton is probably a lowly assistant to the Chef but in a tribute to the quality at Iberian Pig, he is an incredible communicator and has a deep understanding of how flavors develop and intensify through pairings.

It was a night to remember and a special occasion well celebrated.