Friday, December 28, 2007
Jimbo's Grill at the Mill
For a place that's only been open a few months, the Grill at the Mill shows some potential. It's very clean, for one thing, and they made an effort to use some good, fresh ingredients for the burger's garnishes. Jimbo seems to be mostly about grilling burgers and hot dogs (although the hot dogs are actually broiled). The burgers themselves are OK, but not exactly distinguished. If you like hot dogs, the ones they have are good.
The ambience could use a bit of fine tuning. A place like the Cotton Warehouse has had decades to accumulate so much character it positively oozes out of the brick walls. And the balcony in the upper level dining area has a nice view. However, the decour could use a bit more of a theme. There's a variety of reproduction vintage posters and faux-retro decorations on the wall, but they cover quite about five decades and several different topics - gambling, movies, vintage vermouth ads, 1950s diners, and more.
A review of Jimbo's wouldn't be complete without mentioning the dessert menu. It's not what you would expect here at all. Jimbo uses his relationship with the management at the wedding cake bakery next door to put some top notch sweets in here. You can order nintey-nine cent petit fours that are just plain astounding. They're served with a level of ornate presentation that is about as unexpected as Jeff Foxworthy giving a serious lecture on theology. But Jeff Foxworthy can talk about issues facing the church if he puts his mind to it, and Jimbo can serve up desserts that you shouldn't miss.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The Palace is located in Old Town Conyers, which is the oldest part of town. Unlike Covington Square, which has kept much of its traditional look, Old Town Conyers has gone for a more bohemian look, painting the buildings in wild colors. The buildings look almost like a section of Atlanta's Little Five Points, although Old Town Conyers hasn't attracted quite the same crowd.
Thai cuisine is notorious for using very spicy food. Most of the spiced dishes here can be ordered at a mild level. Venture above "mild" at your own risk.
Many of the entrees are heavy on vegetables and seasoning, with the meat almost added as a condiment rather than letting it take center stage. Since the meat does not heavily influence the flavor of such dishes, you can order many items on the menu with your choice of beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu. There are a few items, though, that are mostly meat in curry sauce. Most of their traditonal items are served alongside a large, ornate aluminum bowl of rice (which is trying unsuccessfully to look like it is actually a silver bowl of rice). Entrees typically cost around $7-8 each.
I don't normally order apetizers, but they have one that is too good to miss. Their chicken satay is excellent. If you're not familiar with satay, it is thin strips of meat served with peanut sauce and a cucumber relish. However, I'm not sure that description does the Thai Palace's chicken satay justice. It's like saying fillet mignon is just dead cow.
One touch that I especially like is the effort they put into garnishes. It's not uncommon to find a carrot transformed into a butterfly or a vegetable flower sitting on your plate.
If there is one downside, this is not a place to eat if you are in a hurry. They take the time in bringing the food out. But unless you have something very urgent on your agenda, it's worth the wait.
914 Commercial St.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
A different sort of drive through
Friday, February 17, 2006
Mad Dog's BBQ
The sauce they use is an authentic Georgia BBQ sauce, the kind with a fair amount of vinegar and red pepper as well as tomatoes. The mild sauce already has some detectable hot pepper, and the hot one is hotter without being overpowering. It definitely doesn't resemble the thick commercial pseudo-Texas glop that you find in stores.
Mad Dog himself is a pretty friendly guy. If there isn't a line at the counter, he'll come out and talk with the customers about how their relatives are doing or the time one of his regular customers challenged a DJ from 96 Rock to a race after he had claimed that drag racing took no skill. There's a little cork board on the wall about that episode too, to commemorate one of the Regular Guys getting smoked by a teenage girl at Atlanta Dragway.
It's hard to believe that a restaurant could have the feel and taste of an authentic small town BBQ joint when it's located in a strip mall and has a perfect score from the county health department. But Mad Dog's pulled it off.
4489 Highway 20 South
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Tokyo Hibachi Express
Admittedly, I'm not a very big seafood fan. It's hard to find fresh seafood, so I tend not to be any more adventurous than shrimp unless I am very certain that the place where I am eating gets some very fresh seafood. Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant in Conyers, does not have the freshest of seafood.
What they do have, however, is hibachi dining at a bargain price. You can even order fillet mignion for $11. You'll find a few signs of cost cutting; you have to pay extra for hibachi vegetables, and they stretch the fillet by mixing it with diced mushrooms. They don't skimp on the total amount of food, though - they'll serve enough fried rice to cover half the plate to a depth of an inch, and fill the other half up with your entree, along with the expected soup and salad. Overall, it's a pretty good place to find inexpensive hibachi food, which can be something of a rarity here. Most Japanese restaurants in the area will set you back a few more dollars per plate.
Decour is about what you might expect, with bamboo in the front and Japanese artwork on the walls. It doesn't look like they spent quite as much on the decorations as the competition, another reason why their prices are lower. Still, they keep the place pretty clean. Looks like they spend their money where it counts the most.
3020 Edwards Drive
I can't say I'm too surprised...
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
So, what does a lament for custard have to do with a Mexican restaurant? Well, El Charro is one of the few places where you can get a real, freshly baked custard, as the Mexicans have been keeping this tradition alive in the form of the flan. And El Charro has what may very well be the finest flan in all of Newton County. The flan here is amazingly rich, with a hint of cheese. It's definitely a perfect ending to a dinner.
Well, I probably should say something about the rest of the food here too, since you probably won't just order a flan. It's the standard Tex-Mex fare, done reasonably well. It's hard to point to any one particular specialty, but they have the usual assortment of burritos and fajitas and other normal entrees. Curiously, the fajitas here come with a squeeze bottle of Parkay, which I don't normally use.
They also have a very affordable lunch menu. If you stick to water for your beverage, lunch here can be just as cheap as at a fast-food joint, but with the quality you expect from a sit-down restaurant.
El Charro has two locations in Covington now. The main difference is the one out by Wal-Mart is larger and newer, but the food and menus are identical. Decor is the expected Mexican theme; both have paintings of guitar players, since El Charro is Spanish for a type of musician.
Check it out, and support your local custard.
3165 Elm St.
9148 Covington Bypass
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
If the events that brought my wife and me together were a Truman Capote novel, it would be called Breakfast at Mamie's. We have probably had more Saturday morning breakfasts together here than anywhere else. While Mamie's does serve lunch too (but no dinner), it's their breakfast that is their biggest draw. Most of the foods are typical Southern greasy spoon fare - grits, pancakes, fresh-made biscuits, eggs, and sweet tea. As one of the signs at their Brown Bridge location says, "It ain't healthy, but it sure tastes good!"
Perhaps one of the most amazing items on the menu is their chicken biscuit. They take a huge piece of chicken breast - no processed and ground stuff here - and fry it in a light, fluffy breading. The chicken slice dwarfs the biscuit that they serve it on. There's so much meat, grease, and goodness here that if you eat it all for breakfast, you might not need lunch. Seriously.
11245 Brown Bridge Rd.
Covington, GA 30016
1295 N. Main St.
Conyers, GA 30012
2821 Evans Mill Rd.
Lithonia, GA 30058
7121 Highway 278
Covington, GA 30014