January 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm , by Serina Patrick
What could be better on a snowy winter’s night than rustic, organic comfort food? Miller Union delivers as the Westside’s newest darling. The much-anticipated project from Neal McCarthy, former Sotto Sotto manager, and Steven Satterfield, former sous chef at Watershed, serves up locally sourced veggies and proteins, giving the dishes an automatic Southern appeal, with a modern twist.
Of course, I had already checked out the menu in advance. Several magic words appeared…..rabbit, brussel sprouts, bread pudding. B agreed to join me despite the slick driving conditions. We each warmed up with a spicy glass of Maurodos Prima Tinto de Toro from Spain.
The restaurant is divided into several sections, each with a farmhouse decor and simple seating. Our table was one of four in a secluded alcove, with minimal embellishment and dark walls. Even on this wintery night, the place was packed.
Neal himself brought out a snack of feta cheese and three different varieties of radish to dip. B and I settled on three appetizers. Funny how we always agree on what to order! We both wanted to try the melted cabbage and mushroom toast and the Sapelo Island clams with bacon, fennel and parsley. I insisted, mostly due to the rave reviews, on ordering the farm egg baked in celery cream. Our server finally delivered some bread which we demolished while casually chatting about sex and plastic surgery.
Along came the melted cabbage and mushroom toast, which became unfortunately mushy due to its toppings. Nice flavor but no contest next to the clams. Bacon and fennel created a memorable combination. But damn! The egg baked in celery cream was some serious culinary genius. Served with crunchy toasted rustic bread for dipping, the yolk was soft and creamy, not runny. Don’t even think about not ordering it.
Rabbit. Need I say more? Slow braised and served atop wild mushrooms and grits. Slightly stringy and a bit gamey, B and I loved the braised bunny. I can’t imagine how much cream and butter were in the grits but suffice it to say, they were rich.
We also shared the White Oak beef ribeye, medium rare, which was juicy and tender. The creamed turnips provided a pleasantly bitter compliment paired with the sweet grilled vidalias. Plus a side of, you guessed it, brussels sprouts, which I believe were sauteed in bacon drippings.
More wine. Time for desserts. Yes, plural, because we had three! A rustic pear tart was simple and good, served with sugar and spice ice cream. But the aforementioned rum raisin bread pudding stole the show! Dense and rich. B wanted to try the trio of herb ice creams….thyme, rosemary, and sage. Interesting. I liked the sage the best but thought the other two were overpowering.
B and I made our ways home on the treacherous icy streets, stuffed with Satterfield’s comfort food, ready for a long winter’s nap.
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