On a small plate, a pot of creamy feta cheese sits surrounded by three kinds of crunch. The first is tiny breakfast radishes, cut in quarters. The second is demure baby carrots, so adorable they look lifted from your childhood Peter Rabbit dinnerware. The third is watermelon radishes, sliced crosswise into chips, revealing the vegetable's vermillion burst of color in its prettiest possible aspect. The plate is attractive enough to discourage disturbance, but gobble you must, because the play on the classic use of radishes as a pre-dinner bite (usually served with butter and salt) is addictive. Here, the feta serves as salt and butter; one creamy foil to the radish's vegetal snap. This is barely a dish on Miller Union's menu, it is in fact referred to as a "snack." Nonetheless, it might be the perfect ambassador for the restaurant, representative in its humor, beauty, and simplicity of what the place is all about.
3 out of 5 stars. 999 Brady Ave. 678-733-8550. www.millerunion.com. Dinner: Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5-11 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking.
In many ways, Miller Union is a perfect storm of a restaurant. Longtime Watershed sous chef Steven Satterfield and Sotto Sotto manager Neal McCarthy have come together to deliver a personal-feeling, truly regional restaurant. Miller Union serves Southern food without shtick or embellishment, making it unlikely that the restaurant would exist anywhere outside the American South. Its industrial setting, among the warehouses and train tracks of the Westside, make it more specific still. This is an Atlanta restaurant, from its cocktails to its menu items to its talent and location.
Rather than opt for the wide-open dramatic space popular these days, Miller Union comprises a warren of rooms. These small, high-ceilinged spaces flow into each other in a line behind the bar that fronts the restaurant. They have a cozy atrium feel, particularly the middle room with its dark wood shelving and library theme. Almost everything about Miller Union walks a high-end/low-key line, at once endearing and reserved.
(Photo by James Camp)
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