Dining Review: ATL’s basement eatery upgrades to MilkWood

The Rock Shrimp Sausage at MilkWood comes bathed in carrot slaw, herb salad, and Duke's mayo.

The Rock Shrimp Sausage at MilkWood comes bathed in carrot slaw, herb salad, and Duke’s mayo.

One surprise this year for returning Humana-ites may be the conversion of ATL’s convenient-but-unexciting downstairs bar and eatery into Milkwood, a fine-but-still-fun dining establishment crafted by Executive Chef Edward Lee.

Between shows on Saturday afternoon, I stepped down into a comfortable space, brighter than its previous incarnation, with more (if tighter) seating. Reds and blacks now accent the brick-wall-dominated space, mercifully free of over-theatrics.

It was also refreshing not to have a waitress who insists that “everything’s great.” Instead, she steered me toward the Rock Shrimp Sausage ($6), which proved not particularly flavorful when forked on its own but combined with Duke’s mayo, carrot slaw, herb salad and a bit of Texas toast, it sufficiently appetized.

Bigger-plate lunch offerings include Brisket and Grill Mortadella ($14), and Miso-smothered Chicken ($13). I went with the waitress’ recommendation of an Organic Pork Burger ($10). It arrived hidden under Napa kim-chi, Havarti cheese, remoulade with a crispy chip for good measure. If all of this on a pretzel bun seems like too much, well, it is. Trying to eat at in traditionally burger style is an exercise in futility. By the forkful, though, it tasted farm fresh and full of complementary flavors. The sided Cottage Fries were smartly fried, thin sliced discs of potato with Tarentaise cheese and hints of lemon zest.

Even if you bypass a full meal at Milkwood (or if you budget has already been spent on theater tickets and Humana anthologies), consider stopping in for a pre- or post-performance dessert. It’s nice to share, and even nicer to share Sorghum and Grits Ice Cream ($7), served with pot-de-crème, an abundance of macerated berries, and a sesame cracker crusting. Bet your theater back home doesn’t serve that.

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