The city has never eaten so well in its wee hours. Nhan Le, owner of East Atlanta pho joint So Ba, and Angus Brown, a chef who previously worked at Miller Union, devised a brilliant spin-off: Brown, assisted by Le, takes over So Ba’s stoves at 10 p.m. every night except Sunday and cooks until 2:30 in the morning. Customers congregate on the restaurant’s enclosed patio, with its red lights and graffitied walls, nursing potent cocktails, sake, or offbeat wine varietals like minerally Muller-Thurgau from Germany or plummy Château Coupe Roses from Minervois, France.
Brown and Le tune the menu—about two dozen dishes of mostly small plates—to the tastes of chefs and other restaurant workers just kicking off work. That means intense ingredients like uni (sea urchin) perched atop Kumamoto oysters or tossed in silky housemade tagliatelle with chile flakes and lemon. Salt-and-pepper shrimp arrive whole in a tempura-thin batter, to be eaten with shell and head on. More delicate palates will appreciate the sublime farm eggs, softly scrambled with goat cheese and chives and laid atop thick grilled toast.
Brown leaves this winter for several months of culinary immersion in Vietnam and other Asian countries. Le will man the kitchen in his absence, and the two are actively looking for a space to move Octopus Bar out of So Ba in 2013. I’m not normally a late-night eater, but I’m willing to lose some shut-eye over this pop-up and its continuing evolution. 560 Gresham Avenue, 404-627-9911