When I was recently invited for an evening of tapas, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. Even a somewhat svelte guy like me finds tapas to be, well, not exactly filling. I think a lot of steak lovers in Atlanta‘s suburbs agree with me. That explains why great tapas restaurants haven’t quite made it here in the “lily white ‘burbs”. Little Alley in Roswell, Georgia proved me wrong, though. This cute tapas bar and restaurant tucked away in a shopping center off Holcomb Bridge Road is easy to miss. “We’re working on that with the city. They don’t want huge ugly signs all over the road,” said chef Richard Wilt. “We have the faithful locals in the area who support us, but I know we can get more people who pass by.”
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While I agree with Roswell’s politicians that ugly neon signs are the last additions that Holcomb Bridge Road needs, too many motorists, including myself, don’t realize that Little Alley is something that shouldn’t be passed up.
On the particular night I visited Little Alley, I was spoiled. The Coquille St. Jacques tapas is beyond succulent. This dish has seared sea scallops with a parsnip puree that is one of the creamiest concoctions I have tasted in years. “The Coquille” was followed up by their Brochettes De Bavettes, a seared marinated skirt steak on skewers. The garlic herb frites makes this red meat collection on sticks a bold original.
As I was getting full from these two tapas, I was curious about Little Alley’s full selection. So I sampled the Duck Spring Rolls, Maple Glazed Smoked Duck, Thai Style Braised Beef Short Ribs and Duo of New Zealand Lamb Chops. All these samples resonated with me, but it was the Smoked Chicken that made an impact, perhaps because I love the simplicity of chicken with a candied fig compote and my favorite item from the dairy section – goat cheese.
If you are visiting Little Alley with a vegetarian, do not fear. Their Pissaladlere (pizza), Keftegle (pumpkin, tomato, chilies, potatoes, onions and garlic) and Butternut Squash Ravioli will leave little room for dessert. Speaking of dessert, try their Dark Chocolate Break Pudding and Warm Tapioca Cake. It features Tuaca mandarin orange; the cake contains maple sugar ice cream and coconut sauce – a must.
Cocktails, martinis and wines are plentiful. The standout here is the Pama-Jito, a mixture of Pama liqueur, Finlandia Vodka topped with limes and oranges. Service is excellent. Everyone on the staff is knowledgeable about each dish and drink.
Little Alley also has a full bar with comfortable couches where business folks can sit back, relax and mull over the day after fighting Atlanta’s horrific traffic. The dining room is elegant. It welcomes couples, singles and families. If you are in the Atlanta metropolitan area, travel Georgia 400 north to the Holcomb Bridge Road Roswell exit and turn left. Travel Holcomb Bridge Road until you see a Wolf Camera and Video store. Little Alley is in the shopping center behind the camera store.