Millers All Day is great any time of day (Charleston City Paper) May02


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Millers All Day is great any time of day (Charleston City Paper)

Sometime in the last decade, large groups of strangers began standing in line on Sunday mornings. Gathering in hordes that often snake around city blocks, these spontaneous societies don’t congregate for religious or political reasons, but for access to bottomless mimosas and a variety of egg bennies. Suffice to say, brunch is having a moment, and Millers All Day is all over it. As a result, breakfunch is no longer limited to Sunday Funday hours, as M.A.D., as I’ve dubbed it, is here to help you get day drunk with a side of bacon ($4), seven days a week.

Whatever the occasion, there’s a veritable rainbow of Bloody Marys — classic red ($7), roasted corn-infused yellow ($11), and a green variation ($9) made with tomatillos and tequila — along with ‘breakfast martinis’ ($10) or a carafe of mimosas ($25).

But it’s not all about getting your Hemingway on. Millers All Day offers a menu from Chef Madison Tessener that aims to appeal to current trends, plus a polished, mid-century modern, straight-outta-Mad Men interior. The decor could be a movie set and everything about it is appealing: From the bright retro lighting, to the illuminated ‘Prescriptions’ sign over the kitchen, it’s an homage to carefully crafted nostalgia.

The menu has a similar air of updated sentimentality. With its Southern classics-meets-hot trends approach, most likely everyone will find at least one item that speaks to their palate. The traditional-minded can’t go wrong with the fried chicken biscuit ($7).

You know how your grandma always said to wait an hour after eating before going swimming? If you’ve just had one of Millers’ outstanding biscuits, make that more like four hours. Deceptively light and fluffy, with an appealing texture and great flavor, this heavily buttered morsel will make itself at home in your digestive system: Put your feet up. It’s here to stay a while. Paired with sweet whole grain mustard and crisp bread and butter pickles, the perfectly fried, yet tender chicken breast makes it a more-than-satisfying meal.

I don’t know how I got this far in life without learning a Salisbury steak ($16) is essentially a hamburger, but well, I guess it just never came up. That stated, the Millers All Day version finds a generous portion of ground beef deceptively formed into the shape of an actual steak and seared to a juicy medium rare. Topped with some caramelized onions and a fresh thyme-infused mushroom gravy, it’s simple and satisfying. The accompanying home fry potatoes have clearly been boiled or steamed beforehand, then lightly battered and fried. The juxtaposition of the crunchy seasoned outside and mushy nothingness inside did not do it for me, but to each his own.

The shrimp and grits ($16.50) also features unexpected touches. Made with heirloom guinea flint grits, the coarsely ground corn is toothy and even a bit gravelly. Millers All Day has also forgone any cheese or heavy butter, resulting in a light, soupy consistency. Topped with chunks of tomato and onion, plus eight plump, flavorful shrimp, it’s a spring-timey take on the classic, with the cornbread croutons on top adding a rich, nutty flavor and a welcome crunch.

There’s a coffee bar serving cold press and espresso drinks, plus fresh baked cookies and scones. Overall service is efficient, if a little distracted, but not enough to detract from the experience.

Meanwhile, the chicken salad sandwich ($10.5) seems plucked from childhood memories. It has the look and mayo level of egg salad, but the flavor is all curry powder. Inspired by Country Captain, the old school curried chicken stew, it forgoes bell peppers but includes the requisite currants. Made on squishy soft potato bread with a slice of heirloom tomato and some lettuce, there’s a spicy finish that lingers on your lips for a while.

The backbone of the club sandwich ($11) is comprised of three slices of the same potato bread, this time lightly toasted. Thin sliced, tender turkey and juicy roasted tomatoes elevate the familiar sammy. However, the flinchingly salty, crispy country ham subbing for bacon could sustain a deer though the winter with a few licks.

If all of this sounds too heavy, the farro salad ($10) is looking at you, granola child. Roasted beets, lightly pickled mushrooms and thin-sliced radishes are served on a bed of arugula. Topped with toothy, warm farro, balsamic, and a dusting of shredded Parmesan cheese, it tastes… Healthy. Feel free to look down your nose at anyone with a chicken biscuit should you find yourself sitting in front of one of these.

The BLT salad ($12) bridges the gap between hedonistic and wholesome. Essentially a shrimp salad with BLT sensibilities, warm greens are tossed with a light sherry vinaigrette, bacon crumbles, and three chunks of ripe, fresh heirloom tomatoes. Finished with eight sweet, tail-off shrimp and some sunflower seeds, it’s the perfect light meal.

Between it’s stylish decor, accessible menu, and expansive cocktail options, Millers All Day is bound to be an instant favorite with the brunch crowd. And even those who are not impassioned breakfast aficionados, nitro coffee drinkers, or Architectural Digest subscribers will be hard-pressed not to appreciate the thoughtful care that went into creating it all.