Near Atlanta


Naan N Curry is an Pakistani-Indian restaurant on Breckenridge Road a block or so north of the Breckenridge intersection on Pleasant Hill Road. It offers an inexpensive buffet at lunch, one very easy to get to and get into. Just pick up a plate, choose your foods, and pay once you’re done. The clientele are mixed. There are plenty of South Asians here, and watching whole families show in traditional dress is visually exciting.

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Buffet items. Top and right has cabbage curry.

Buffet items. Top and right has cabbage curry.

The buffet has perhaps 15-20 choices or so at lunch, a salad bar that contains chutneys, among other things, and slices of jalapenos that have pretty reasonable spice to them. The buffet is notably clean, not as confused as the one in Asma’s Cuisine.

There was one notable dish out of the ones served here. The cabbage curry is quite good and worth your time and effort. Other dishes were lacking something, perhaps even disappointing. I’ve never had a single solid piece of beef when I show here. All I see in the beef dishes are plenty of bones. Outside of the cabbage curry, the dishes lack spice.

Asma’s is a spicier, more interesting buffet in my opinion, nor does Naan N Curry rise to the level of the buffet in Moksha Kitchen. Now, you won’t suffer from eating here, but if you’re wanting plenty of flavor, consider alternatives.

Naan N Curry
3083 Breckinridge Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 912-9924

Naan 'N Curry on Urbanspoon

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If laid back and casual are what you want in a restaurant, you’ll love Oh! My Samgyupsal. If you like waitstaff that for the most part have flawless English, you’ll like Oh! My Samgyupsal. If you want good bbq in an atmosphere that doesn’t feel like an “after the karaoke” event, then this eatery may be good for you. All that said, if you’re a newbie to Korean BBQ, this also is a great place to start.

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If you’re wanting a fancy place to impress the relatives, this isn’t it. The tables and chairs are pretty ordinary and there is graffiti everywhere. I happen to like places with graffiti, it’s a very college thing to do, but it’s not for everyone. The drawings, however, show some artistic touches and it can be fun trying to recognize the folks they often parody.

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sprouts, kimchi, and some brisket getting "the treatment".

sprouts, kimchi, and some brisket getting “the treatment”.

I’d rate the food as good. The brisket isn’t as fine as the marinated brisket at Honey Pig but it is very thinly sliced and tastes very good if it’s well crisped. There are multiple kinds of pork belly, including the garlic pork belly that Bella Viviere likes. My family are hardly pork belly fans so we tend to eat brisket, wraps, “salad”, and cooked sprouts and kimchi.

If I haven’t suggested this so far, staff may be the best thing this restaurant has going for it. The English the staff use is mostly flawless. And therefore, if you’re one of the folks who has never had “all you can eat” BBQ in the city, this is one of the most English friendly spots you could start with.

In short, Oh! My Damgyupsal is a perfect spot for a beginner, a great spot for a casual crowd, a useful respite from the late night oriented eateries.

Oh! My Samgyupsal
3585 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096

Oh! My Samgyupsal on Urbanspoon

Miller Union is a farm-to-table restaurant, a product of a name chef (Steven Satterfield) and the boom in better eating at the  beginning of the teens of this century. Appearing roughly at the same  time as Bocado, it soon developed a group of dedicated  and worthy followers. Guys like Jimmy of Eat It Atlanta would make it a routine stop. And it’s always been on an invisible “wish list” of mine, one that wasn’t quelled a bit by the restaurant appearing on Tony Bourdain’s Atlanta show.

This was going to be my 500th review of an Atlanta restaurant. I wanted something appropriate.

I used a GPS to get here, but shouldn’t have bothered. The restaurant is on the left side of what amounts to a warehouse district, and the numbers “999” are distinct on the left as you approach. Parking is valet, cause there is none otherwise.  If you arrive early on a weekday, as we did, without a reservation, as we did, you’re likely to be seated outside. Thankfully, we had tolerable weather the day we arrived.

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Blueberry ginger soda, one of the home grown sodas at Miller Union.

The menu is small, selections are pretty straightforward. We ordered drinks, an heirloom tomato panzanella salad that we shared, an order of quail and an order of duck. The tomato salad was smallish when split in two, but went over well.

Half a tomato salad.

Half a tomato salad.

This is a pretty casual place, relatively slow paced. I think it was an hour and some minutes before we saw our entree. Staff are really good here. Excellent wouldn’t be an unfair evaluation. There is a lot of tag team waiting and multiple staff making sure everyone is comfy. But we were ready for food when it arrived.

Duck, nice and crusty. Squash was substituted for the regular corn.

Duck, nice and crusty. Squash was substituted for the regular corn.

Quail.

Quail.

I’d say we both enjoyed the meats. The duck was more solid than I’m used to, no layer of fat under crispy skin, but the crusty outside of the meat offered a pleasant contrast to the red interior. The quail was pleasing, but my partner would have been happier if the greens hadn’t been doused in balsamic-like dressing. The squash I had was excellent, grilled just enough to be tender.

Serving sizes were not large but big enough. No one felt stuffed afterwards, but felt we’d had enough food. The pace struck me, because I’ve been eating so many buffets recently. And after it all, felt it was actually worth the drive into town.

Miller Union is a spare graceful dining experience, not quite like any other I’ve had in town. It’s akin to the graceful relative who slips into town, shows you 3-4 hours of a great time, and then leaves, none the worse for wear. If you want food fast and enormous servings, this isn’t the spot for you. If you want to savor and relish the flavors you are exposed to, then this place will do you just fine.

Miller Union
999 Brady Ave NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(678) 733-8550

Miller Union on Urbanspoon

The dish is called, modestly, mejillones, Spanish for “mussels”. But it isn’t just mussels. They toss in Spanish sausage, and bathe it in a tomato beer creole sauce. The sauce is chunky and a little spicy. It is delivered in a cast iron skillet, piping hot. Alongside the dish are strips of bread, to take this goodness and scoop. The result is one of the best servings of mussels – well, food of any kind – that I’ve had in the city.

Mejillones. Really excellent.

Mejillones. Really excellent.

Armando’s Caribe is a restaurant that serves largely two cuisines, Mexican and Cuban. There are hints of other cuisines here and there, a jerk chicken wing, but it’s mostly Mexican and Cuban, aiming for a tropical atmosphere. The staff are clearly Latin, and the restaurant collectively gives you the feeling that it’s the real deal.

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I also had the ropa vieja that day, a Cuban dish. Good, but not the mind blowing delight of their mussels. In any event, a restaurant that can put out a great dish and otherwise some good ones is worth keeping on the radar (for example, the old Checkered Parrot’s nachos). And with the mejillones at Armando’s, it absolutely qualifies.

Armando’s Caribe
3170 Peachtree Industrial
Duluth, GA 30097
(770) 232-9848

Armando's Caribe on Urbanspoon

Morocco Grill is a newcomer to the Duluth area, a small eatery whose menu is on a whiteboard behind a counter top. It is clean, the look inside rather pretty. The smells on entering are wonderful. The meats are delicious.

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Grilled lamb plate. Very tasty meats.

Grilled lamb plate. Very tasty meats.

I spoke a little with the man behind the counter afterwards. There isn’t much Mediterranean on the north side outside of Roswell Road and the Sandy Springs area. The one I remember is Dalia’s on Peachtree Parkway. There may be an eatery or two on Pleasant Hill Road up around St Johns as well. But there are not many, and this one is convenient to those of us who have easy access to the Duluth area.

I have not tried, but want to try their rotisserie chicken. It comes in a porcelain container with a conical lid. I saw it served from a distance and it looked good.

I have to admit a certain delight at having this kind of eating (and this authentic) so close to where I live. The smell, the music, the ambiance, the flavors. No, it’s not a fancy eatery. A lot of their business is going to be catering and take out, but convenience does count when you’re hungry.

Morocco Grill
3083 Breckinridge Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 381-3615

Morocco Grill on Urbanspoon

Buffets are among the toughest things to critique, and even when you get it right, the character of buffets is prone to change quickly. That great little find in January turns into the mediocre deal in May and turns into “g’bye-see ya!” in October. If a food blogger says a buffet is good, you need to get there soon.

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Chloe recently raised the “it’s good!” flag on Moksha Kitchen and I thought it was appropriate to try it. We came at lunch during the week and some first impressions are: small, clean, unusually tasty, and unusually easy to eat from, even if you’re not a fan of milk and butter. My wife loves things like tandoori chicken and breads. She doesn’t handle foods with lots of milk, yogurt, butter, or cheese well, with a few notable exceptions (e.g. she loves certain kinds of dal makhani, but it has to be spiced just so).

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This was a buffet that could feed my whole family. The breads are good. The foods are well spiced. There is plenty of naan. They had a smoky tandoori chicken the day we showed, just excellent. The goat jalfrezi, the masalas, the mix pakora (a collection of breaded vegetables), the chickpea dishes, were hits at our table. They had a breaded pepper that was just spicy enough. The restaurant is clean and neat, the service is excellent.

So, go now. Eat. Do it before the demands of providing a superior buffet wear on this restaurant and it goes away.

Moksha Kitchen
294 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 473-9288

Moksha Kitchen on Urbanspoon

For dim-sum, East Pearl is remarkably efficient, getting as much done in 2-3 carts as others get done in 6-7 carts. They’re fast. The carts arrive quickly. The upshot is you can start and finish a meal as fast here as any place in town I’ve encountered. The quality is nothing to sneeze at, either.

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tasty, fatty duck.

tasty, fatty duck.

It’s on a side road off Shackleford, a bit north of the Nam De Mun farmer’s market (the former Gwinnett International Farmer’s Market), across the street from the new Hibachi Buffet. The building is modest, and gives no hints of the quality of the dim-sum they serve.

fried tofu.

fried tofu.

Sweet bean paste inside. Delicious.

Sweet bean paste inside. Delicious.

I’ve been for dinner (never seen anyone else review their dinners), which focuses on seafood, and found it to be a hit or miss affair. The ones doing best with dinner are large Chinese families with an intimate understanding of the menu. I know that many Chinese like it for dinner. I’ve had glowing recommendations from Chinese staff at other restaurants for East Pearl. But unless you can read Chinese and navigate a complex menu, then I’d suggest trying dim-sum, and saving dinner for a time when you have a Chinese friend to assist.

East Pearl
1810 Liddell Lane
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 380-0899

East Pearl on Urbanspoon

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