Many restaurants tout menus with locally sourced ingredients—but how many of them actually grow their own fare? Garden-to-table dining is what you’ll encounter at Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails, which boasts its very own one-acre garden. Located in historic downtown Crabapple, the 155-year-old farmhouse and 1930s cottage were preserved and restored, now serving as the home of Milton’s, which cooks up contemporary southern cuisine in a charming setting. Here are five reasons you should check them out.
1. Southern eats
Southern food is the ultimate in comfort food. If you’re a fan, the menu at Milton’s should tickle your fancy. For appetizers, choose from southern favorites like deviled farm eggs, southern fried pickles, pimento cheese “dip” or, our favorite, the fried green tomatoes. Stuffed with a chive-spiked goat cheese and served atop piquillo pepper coulis (think sweet, not hot) with drizzles of basil oil and balsamic glaze, these savory creations are crispy and light (not overly greasy, heavy or soggy, like can often happen). For entrees, the usual suspects of fried chicken and shrimp & grits are options (as well as a host of aged steaks on the Prime menu), but don’t miss the jumbo lump crab cakes, which are extra-meaty and tender, accompanied by meyer-lemon goat cheese grits, grilled asparagus and cracked mustard butter sauce. For sides, try the low-country boil risotto loaded with southern staples like crawfish and Andouille sausage; or off the Prime menu, the charred Brussels sprouts and apples in a tangy, rich bacon vinaigrette is an uber-crave-worthy dish.
2. The garden
The “Milton’s Acre” garden grows about 90 different varieties of heirloom fruits, vegetables and herbs right out back. Chef Derek Dollar decides what produce is planted in the garden and determines how to incorporate the harvested crops each night for an ultra-fresh menu. The picturesque garden is also home to Milton’s annual Garden Dinner Series, which invites patrons to dine al fresco right in the middle of the garden. The evenings begin with passed hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and a tour of Milton’s Acre. Then enjoy live music and a four-course meal of comfort foods served family-style and accompanied by wine pairings. The next Garden Dinners are scheduled for Sept. 24, Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 (tickets will run you $125 a pop).
3. The patio
If you can’t make it our for a Garden Dinner at Milton’s, you can still relish dining under the stars thanks to their pretty patio. On a recent Sunday evening visit, cooler temps and the setting sun made for a striking night to dine outdoors. A talented local musician set the mood with his vocals and guitar while couples and families enjoyed a casual but sophisticated meal and conversation. There’s an outdoor deck, too. (Note: Don’t be scared of a few flies—they’re easily shoo-ed away with the wave of a hand and once you light the special candle in the middle of the table. The relaxed vibes of the patio are still worth it.)
4. Chocolate mousse cake
We almost didn’t order the chocolate mousse cake—but our knowledgeable and friendly server suggested it would go nicely with the Katherine Goldschmidt cabernet we were sipping. Boy am I glad we followed his recommendation. The smooth and rich dark chocolate in the mousse cake makes for a decadent treat that complements a bold, full-bodied red exceptionally well. Make sure you save space—and some wine—for it.
5. The wine list
While Milton’s shakes up some solid cocktails (they should, considered it’s part of their name), the extensive wine list offers a great variety and plenty of gems (I was excited to see one of my favorites, The Prisoner). If you’re not a wine connoisseur—and even if you are—the wine menu makes it easier to decipher what to order depending on your preferences or mood. Divided into categories like Light & Crisp, Rich & Floral, Lush & Full, Big & Bold, etc., it’s easy to navigate the plethora of choices.