A meal at Julep Kitchen, 500 Highway 246 in Dillard, Georgia, is a fitting celebration of the lifting of quarantine restrictions.
Call (706) 960-9600 or visit julep.farm for reservations or more information.
Are you like me?
Has your outlook brightened by a factor of eight with the return of that supremely gratifying experience of Dining Out?
Not that plating a takeout dinner in the comfort of home didn’t have its own subtle charm, but the restaurant experience is singularly indulgent, with its own nonpareil suite of pleasures.
All of these blessings were served up during our visit to Julep Kitchen, the fine dining experience at the heart of Julep Farms in Dillard, Georgia.
It’s the beautifully-appointed creation of Rick and Lauren Weaver, a pair of dynamos who’ve arrived on the local scene and developed the beguiling Julep Farms into a luxury-rustic resort destination.
That’s Rick in the kitchen, preparing your meal. He and his Lead Chef James focus on seasonal cooking with high-quality, fresh ingredients.
That’s Rick, coming out to chat with you about your meal and the state of affairs of the Farm and the world in general.
At the moment, Lauren’s somewhere in the office, making sure that everything comes together. But her presence is felt through the enterprise.
The pristine elegance of the shop and dining room, with its bold color scheme of navy blue and blinding white accents? That’s her, showing off her talents built over a career as an interior designer.
Or, if she’s not to be found in the office, she’s pruning her perfect gardens, on the mower touching up a corner of the property, baking delicious treats, making sure the numbers are working, or greeting guests in Julep Market.
They’re clearly a perfectly paired couple.
We chose to dine on the expansive umbrella’d patio.
Our server Tina was bright, and attentive, and at the top of her game. Her timing was impeccable and her touch was light and unobtrusive.
And the food? Well, that’s where Julep Farms (and Rick) really shone.
I ordered the Julep Chicken Tender Platter.
Now you may be saying, “Luke, with a complete menu of Lunch Savories, why would you settle on something as mundane as Chicken Tenders?”
It’s a strategy I’ve developed over the course of the years writing these reviews. Sometimes, with no planning, I’ll casually order something you’d find on the menus of a half-dozen restaurants within a seven-mile radius. It’s a good test of the kitchen’s creativity and attention to detail. A clever chef will always find a way to make the ordinary into something memorable and magic.
OK, Chef Rick, if you’re reading this, stand up and take a bow.
Your plump chicken tenders, which you’d marinated overnight, dredged in a light tempura/pancake batter, and fried with precision, were astounding.
Go ahead, take another bow! You earned it.
Here’s how my companion described her Crab Cakes, “So much crabmeat! Huge tasty lumps, perfectly seasoned and cooked – I could not stop eating the freshness.”
But there was more to her meal than a generous serving of crabmeat, “the unsung hero of the dish was the creative corn remoulade sauce – just what you would dream of from a meal at a working farm!”
As you can see, Julep Kitchen at Julep Farms is a full-blown celebration of the unalloyed pleasures of Dining Out.
We’ve all been waiting for this!
by Luke Osteen