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I grew up not far from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where the South begins, feasting on crabs and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay estuaries. My father is a politician, and each summer my family traveled to a different state for the annual Southern Legislative Conference. I inhaled New Orleans beignets in a swirl of powdered sugar. I learned that North Carolinians eat tangy pork barbecue and that Texans prefer beef brisket. In 1995 I moved to Atlanta, excited to taste the city’s singular brand of Southern cooking.
The swag bags are all stuffed for tonight's launch party celebrating Atlanta author Mary Kay Andrews' ninth novel, "Spring Fever" (St. Martin's Press, $25.99). The juicy, North Carolina-set beach read (that will no doubt have readers reconsidering the romantic implications of a burst appendix) makes its debut in Decatur Monday night when the former AJC reporter greets friends and fans at the Harbour Bar & Fish House from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In honor of its one-year anniversary, Miller Union is celebrating with an inaugural Grand Harvest Dinner on Wednesday, November 10.
Miller Union chef and co-owner Steven Satterfield had an immediate response when asked about his West Midtown eatery being named as one of Esquire magazine food critic John Mariani's "Best New Restaurants of 2010" Monday.
The braised rabbit at Miller Union looks homely, as many of the South's finest dishes do. Shredded meat, sauteed mushrooms, russet-colored gravy, and a moat of grits make for an unglamorous collage of earth tones. But, oh, the taste. Bite after bite, this entree reminds me of Nat King Cole’s voice: velvety, soothing, timeless. The rabbit is cooked for two hours with carrots, celery, and fennel in chicken stock and red wine before being pulled from the bone—a step that helps squeamish eaters disassociate their meal from the cuteness of bunnies. No fancy seasonings mar the Logan Turnpike grits from North Georgia. They are simmered in water and milk and finished with salt, pepper, cream, and butter. The mushrooms add pleasant murkiness, and the braising liquid, acting as gravy, curtails the richness. This is food in high definition, a vivid sequence of flavors that reflects the agrarian roots and ingenuity of our region’s cooking.
Tonight is Miller Union’s third night open to the public. The westside partnership of executive chef Steven Satterfield (long of Watershed, pictured right) and general manager Neal McCarthy (long of Sotto Sotto) is one of the restaurants I’ve most anticipated opening this year. Satterfield has a simple, clean take on American/Southern cooking, and the space, a sly twining of rustic and modern, looks like a beautiful place to spend the evening.
ATL Food Chatter: August 3, 2009 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)Ever since John Kessler’s scoop announcement in spring that two highly regarded Atlanta restaurant stalwarts—Steven Satterfield, executive sous chef of Watershed and Sotto Sotto general manager Neal McCarthy—were teaming up to open a westside venture to be called Miller Union, anticipation has been building throughout Atlanta’s food community. Here a few additional morsels from the two owners to nibble on until this fall’s planned opening.