REVIEW: The Diner at Sugar Hill, Buford, Gwinnett
I had left the office late Wednesday night. I needed to be near the Mall of Georgia to meet someone and as we drove by we all called out names of the restaurants we saw flying by but not one seemed to really call anyone’s name. Before long, I had driven clear past the mall, over 985 and was on my way to a moonlight view of Lake Lanier when I recalled The Diner at Sugar Hill. It’s not often that we get out that way, but it’s a sure bet when we’re in the neighborhood.
Once seated, we were greeted promptly by our server. Let me tell you – our service was absolutely fantastic. She knew the menu and had all the answers, because you know… we ask a lot of questions when we order.
We started off with an appetizer of Potato Skins that came with cheddar cheese, diced bacon and scallions. Good LORD in heaven, they hit the spot. It was a great appetizer followed quickly by the salads. The salads were rather plain, but I really liked the spring mix that had no iceberg lettuce at all. The dressings were rich and tasted wonderful. Lacking was any cheese, croutons or other amenities. There was one slice of cucumber, a tomato wedge and some sliced red onions – simple, but effective.
One thing that is a pet peeve of ours is when food comes from the kitchen right on top of one another. Melanie eats slower than I do (ex-Marine… I tend to eat quickly) so she’s always fighting this battle. She will send food back rather than not finish her salad. I, on the other hand, will push my salad to the side and save it for later rather than send hot food back to the kitchen.
I bring all of this up because we had the appropriate amount of time before our meal arrived and that alone is refreshing! Kudos to The Diner at Sugar Hill for being sensitive to that.
I had order the Surf and Turf, which came with a 6oz Filet and 2 stuffed shrimp. In addition to the mushroom glaze, I had requested horseradish sauce too (a favorite of mine). I also had garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. I thought the mushroom glaze was a bit much. I prefer that sauces complement rather than overpower the flavor of the meat and I think this was overpowering. Still, the taste was pleasant and the filet was prepared medium just as I had ordered. I think there should have been at least two more shrimp plated, if not an additional four. The Surf and Turf was priced under $20 so even if they were to raise the price to add the additional shrimp, it would still be a fair offering.
Melanie and I both had the garlic mashed potatoes, but she really didn’t care for hers. She found them to have a vinegar or sour flavor. I didn’t pick up on that with mine and I liked the chunky bits found throughout, further indicating the homemade pedigree.
Melanie enjoyed the shrimp thoroughly. I was concerned when the server answered there were only five or six shrimp but these shrimp were huge! They were lightly breaded and cooked to perfection. Far too often, fried foods are cooked in grease that has been overused and not changed. If you’ve ever had fried foods that are brown yet not overcooked, you know what I mean. Occasionally, you can pickup the flavor of other items that have previously been cooked in the same grease. This was NOT the case however with this meal, so I really admire the kitchen staff for running a tight ship even this late at night.
Melanie really liked my seasonal vegetables and by that time I was getting full so I just let her continue to enjoy them off of my plate. Our young guest enjoyed her Penne Primavera. The grilled chicken was prepared properly. The mushrooms, broccoli and sun dried tomatoes complimented one another perfectly. A sprinkling of shaved asiago cheese topped this dish off nicely.
When you enter The Diner at Sugar Hill, you walk by the dessert case as if you don’t notice it. It’s a strong tradition, if you don’t normally get dessert with a meal, you’ll want to get dessert here. We had another guest join us for dessert and coffee . After the meal, our server offered to meet us at the dessert case to explain in detail the selections. We chose to remain seated and listen to her descriptions, and we ended up ordering two pieces of cake to share between the four of us. Even still, we could NOT polish off the HUGE pieces of cake! Melanie and I chose the Triple Chocolate Cake and other guest selected the Carrot Cake. The word “awesome” is somehow weak to describe just how good these desserts were.
When you visit The Diner at Sugar Hill, you can expect great food, exemplary service and a dessert that is absolutely spectacular. Guten appetit.