Monday, January 4, 2010

Miller Union: A let down

Granted I've been very distracted from my normally rapt attention to the Atlanta food scene, but from what I can tell, Miller Union has caused quite a stir. Maybe it was just an off night, but I just wasn't that impressed. The room we sat in was decidedly lacking in atmosphere. Bare walls, and nothing much to look at.

Our melted cabbage and mushroom toast was a pleasant starter with a nice rustic, earthy taste, but it was not nearly as good as our friends' fried grits with country ham. The fried grits reminded me of arancini, one of my favorite Italian appetizers.

The rabbit dish (served with wild mushrooms and grits) I had was adequate but forgettable. Certainly it didn't taste bad, but honestly I had to look up the menu to remember what it included. Whereas the rabbit dish I had weeks before at La Petite Ferme in South Africa still sets my mouth watering. The bliss inducing latter dish came in the most remarkable mustard sauce, and the herbed polenta put Miller Union's grits to shame. At $24, I need to be impressed. That's more than just any ol' night out pricing, and I can think of many other restaurants at that price range, or even lower, I'd rather return to than this one.

Worse, we had a rather unfortunate experience with the sommelier. Our friend and I ordered two glasses of Beaujolais. It came, and upon smelling it, I thought it had gone bad. I asked Mr. AT, far more the oenophile than I, to take a sniff, and he agreed that it decidedly did NOT smell like it should. So we very nicely told our waiter that the wine was corked, and he said he'd get us a replacement.

The sommelier came out with a new bottle and poured a taste for my friend. She protested that she really didn't feel comfortable being the one to speak for the table, and yet he poured it for her anyway. I never understand when restaurants do this. Being the taster puts someone on the spot, and if they don't feel comfortable doing so, why should they be forced? We asked him to pour it for me instead and he just ignored me. So she took a taste and looked somewhat uncertain as to what to say. Upon seeing this, the guy said rather snidely, "I tasted this myself, and it's fine. If you don't like it, then you just don't like Beaujolais, and you should order something else." Whoa, snippy much?

I finally insisted he pour it for me instead, and I tasted it and told him that unlike the previous glass, this was fine. To this he replied that the initial glass was simply oxidized, implying that it too was fine. Seriously, we drink a lot of wine, and I mean A LOT. He doesn't know us from anyone, so why act so snooty as if we don't know what we're talking about? The first glass was not OK. Oxidized or corked, it's irrelevant to me. It was no good, and that's all that matters. In the end we got our wine, and all was well, but we were all left a bit shocked that he was so weird about it all.

All in all, it was really just a so so experience. Nothing was outright bad, but I can't think of a reason to go back. Bummer because I was excited for a new hot spot, but I guess I'll just have an excuse to go try some other new places rather than returning here.

Pros: Delicious appetizers, tons of buzz
Cons: Limited menu with good but not amazing results, rude sommelier

Miller Union
999 Brady Avenue NW, Atlanta, GA‎
(678) 733-8550‎

Miller Union on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

jwsobeck said...

That's ridiculous. It's not like gamay is some offensive grape that is love/hate.

For him to make a comment like that is definitely unacceptable. Even if he thought you were wrong, he should have pleasantly suggested another wine and kept the attitude to himself.

eb24389a-105e-11e4-b0ef-c3d7437ec3ab said...

Well, you obviously didn't familiarize yourself with the mission of the restaurant. Chef Satterfield wanted to showcase simple, refined classics. Too many restaurants these days hit you in the face with every possible flavor profile in every bite-- I've always found MU to be a refreshing change of pace.

As for the sommelier? I've never had a problem with a bottle there, so I cannot adequately comment on your experience. I can say that, solely based on your account, that somm was out of line and not in keeping with the Court of Master's sommelier expectations. Sorry you had that happen.

Lindsey V said...

I did understand the concept of the restaurant. I just didn't like it that much. That said this was years ago, so who knows what I'd think now!

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