FoodBlog: TED’S MONTANA GRILL (Cumberland Mall, Atlanta, GA)

Yesterday my hot date and I found ourselves in Atlanta, GA… by found I mean, of course, that we drove ourselves there lol. Hubby wanted a mountain bike,  and I wanted food.

Yelp to the rescue! One of the recommendations by fellow Yelpers was Ted’s Montana Grill. There are several locations in the Atlanta area, but this one just happened to be less than a mile from where we were getting his bike. I read the restaurant’s history on their website and was curious to learn that Ted’s Montana Grill was eponymous to Ted Turner, one of its two founders, along with restaurateur George McKerrow Jr.

The location was great, on the far side of the Cumberland mall, nestled between The Cheesecake Factory and and the shopping center itself. Directly across was clothing store H &M and popular eatery PF Chang’s.

Though it was a Sunday and the mall was already closed, there were a lot of people hanging out by the restaurant area. The parking was okay, fairly expected from Atlanta, but valet parking was offered curbside to diners before 3p.m. In any case, we found adequate parking and walked hand in hand to the restaurant.

First thing I noticed was the small outside seating area, which was clean and inviting.  Martin wanted to sit in the a/c (it was a very hot drive), so we opted to sit inside instead. We were led to a booth on the far right corner. There were six tops and eight tops and two tops as well as bar seating as well. The booth felt warm and intimate, and within seconds our server was there to take drink orders.

When our drinks were delivered, she had also brought along complimentary fresh pickles (the curiosity about which was really the main reason I chose this restaurant). They were rustic, crunchy and super fresh. There was a slight tang from the pickling juice but none of the pickled dill goodness that I was used to. It was delicious though, and DH said, “They’re just like cucumbers.” And me :-/. Of course they are my darling! They’re cucumbers on their way to becoming full fledged pickles!

Anyway… I had chosen this restaurant especially because I knew they were serving bison, which I have never tasted. Bison, the biggest part of part of the Native American tribes’ meat diet in the plains, has been largely forgotten in mainstream America. There were no casual eateries that offered this meat, and even I have never had it in all the years I was exposed to the NY and New Jersey gastronomical worlds. We were in a new city and I will try something different. This had been my reasoning and I was willing to see it through.

We started our meal with the Bison nachos, perhaps the only appetizer on offer meant to be shared, and an order of the St. Philips Island Crab Cake.
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The nachos came in a generous portion, loaded with bison chili and
Pepper Jack cheese, fresh lettuce, tomato and spring onions, along with a dollop of sour cream. It was delicious but not memorable. To be honest bison in chili form was not recognizable as bison. It just tasted like beef to me. The upside is that there was so much that we had asked for a doggie bag, which I am sure our dogs will appreciate.

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The crab cake was a welcome surprise, however. Filled with jumbo lump crab meat with guacamole and fresh coleslaw on the side, I was really happy with this selection. Once the crab cake was opened, you can see the crab meat. That was an indication of things to come. I am extremely wary of restaurants that serve crab cakes where you can’t discern any crab. The crab cake itself tasted clean, the meat still so fresh that I was still able to appreciate the natural sweetness of crab. The guacamole was delicious and I wanted more, and so was the coleslaw.

For our mains, DH ordered Ted’s Bacon Cheeseburger (Bison, 14) and after much deliberation, I went with the 14 Oz Delmonico Ribeye (Bison, 29).

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Martin’s entree came with hand cut french fries and lettuce, tomato and onions. The burger itself came with cheddar cheese, smoky bacon and grilled onions. I was able to sneak a taste of the burger, and it was very much like regular beef, but the meat itself was softer and more tender. Hubby said it was delicious and that he would order it again.

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My entree came with asparagus (one of the many vegetable side options they offered) and a baked potato with sour cream and butter. The asparagus was lovely, as was the baker potato, but the main star had been the meat, for sure. It was fork tender, luscious and melts in the mouth, which is my definition of a great steak. Finished with lemon butter, it added just enough oomph to make the meat shine. It was a large steak and I barely finished half, but this was the perfect selection for me. I had the rest packed up to be enjoyed again today 🙂

The service itself was great, our server attentive and polite. She refilled our drinks without prompting and was very knowledgeable about the menu. Overall it had been a great dining experience and I would go again if I found myself within its vicinity.

The only disappointment had been the fairly limited dessert menu for me. I ordered the scratch made cookies in snickerdoodle and chocolate chip (2). After being disappointed that it’s just ONE cookie per serving, I went ahead and ordered two. Both exceptionally light and buttery, I was happy when I ate both. I just wish that they made the serving size bigger or that they included an option for a few of the cookies.

Ted’s Montana Grill is located in fifteen restaurants in the United States, most of them on the East Coast. Should you find yourself near one and you’re a meat eater, I suggest you give it a try!

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