The East Cobb dining landscape continues to expand. Once a vast wasteland, it now seems to be a hotbed of activity. Two new restaurants have just opened, Common Quarter and Zeal. They join the (in our opinion) overrated Seed (Date Night #55, 12/28/2012) as foodie destinations close to Date Night headquarters. We will visit Zeal soon, but for now, let’s see what we have in common with the Common Quarter.
After reading a blurb in the local paper, we made our reservation two weeks ago. This location was a Carrabas, a Scalini’s and a short-lived Mexican place among others. Common Quarter is owned by the same people who bring us Muss & Turner’s (Date Night #50, 11/23/12) as well as Local Three (Date Night #46, 10/12/12), two places we absolutely adore. They have been open for three weeks. We have a feeling this is going to be good.
You can sit outside on the patio, or inside in the dining room.
The decor is Georgia coastal, with large shutters hanging over the bar. It gets loud at times, with the Date Night decibel meter hitting about 90 dB. The crowd is young, hip, and happening, and the families with children clear out by 7:30.
Let’s start off with some beer. Muss and Turner’s has a great beer list, and we are expecting it here as well. There are only six beers on draft, but they do have 25 in bottles.
Eve goes with the Terrapin Pumpkinfest on draft and I get a bottle of O’Dempsey’s Russian Imperial Stout. O’Dempsey’s is in Georgia, but they brew their beer (as many do) at Thomas Creek Brewing in South Carolina. The stout has a lot of coffee in it, but is surprisingly smooth for a beer that is over 80 IBU. The Pumpkinfest hits you with clove and nutmeg. It’s a good beer for this time of year.
The menu has a section called “today”, which has things only available as you read it. Today’s “today” section includes fried okra, tomato soup, skate cheeks and a double burger. Our server, Jesse, who is knowledgeable about the menu and has tasted everything in the “today” section, patiently walks us through the entire menu. Appetizers run from soups to duck meatballs to cheese and ham samplers. We decide to skip the appetizer tonight so that we can each sample an entree.
Eve goes for the seared Georgia mountain trout, as I knew she would. It comes with celery root puree as well as Brussels sprouts, apple and bacon. The outside is crispy and the inside is moist and tender. The Brussels are almost as good as our faves from the Happy Belly food truck.
I want comfort food and order the grass-fed meatloaf. It is delivered with some of the best grits and collard greens that I have ever tasted. The grits are incredibly creamy and the collards don’t taste like there is any fatback in there at all. There is only one problem with my dish. You can’t tell it from the picture, but there is hardly any meatloaf on the plate. It’s just the scraps from the end of a meatloaf pan. What to do–eat it or send it back? Date Night rarely sends things back, but for $17.50, this reporter feels that he should have gotten a piece of meatloaf on the plate. Jesse is very apologetic and promises to make it right, which she does. While I wait for round 2 on the meatloaf, the manager comes over and apologizes as well.
A few minutes later, another portion comes out with a nice chunk of loaf. It’s excellent, but wish I had gotten this one first as the plate I sent back tempered the joy of my meatloaf experience.
Since we didn’t have an appetizer, we might be able to order a dessert. Tonight’s dessert is called “Fall”.
“Fall” is a wonderful seasonal dessert, featuring a ginger spice cake, pumpkin gelato, and a cranberry-caramel glaze. This is worth it for the gelato alone, which tastes like a frozen pumpkin pie. Combine that with the spice cake and the last of Eve’s pumpkin beer, and you have a dessert that will make you “fall over” with joy.
The bottom line on Common Quarter: The food is right up there with Muss and Turner’s and Local Three. Our advice is to wait a few weeks while they go through their “growing pains” with problems like the meatloaf. After that, go here. It’s a welcome addition to our local dining scene and worthy competition for Seed. We think they will do well in our neighborhood.