a new era for chinese american “fast” food 

In New York City, there is no shortage of lunch spots. Whereas LA does brunch justice on a weekday at any given restaurant, NYC is definitely a city that has your dinner restaurants and your all day, lunch appropriate spots as two distinct genres. Milu is one that falls squarely into the latter category. But where genres have begun to meld is between fine and fast casual. The finesse of a Michelin restaurant made accessible and exciting in a counter service form.

Milu is just that. Co-founded by Connie Chung, who was formerly sous chef at Eleven Madison Park. Opened, rather boldly, in the middle of the pandemic, a time when there was little demand for fine dining experiences or fast casual lunch options in a neighborhood that once bustled with office workers. So you know it has to be something special in order to have still thrived.

Milu, which, according to their website, can translate both to rice road (米路) and getting lost (迷路), encompasses an amalgamation of Chinese food experiences and backgrounds and relationships. It is, in a way, a reclaiming of Chinese American food. Influenced by Cantonese cooking, with special appearances of flavors from other regional cuisines. In terms of format, it feels like your general lunch format. A main, a base, and vegetable-forward sides. It could almost be Tender Greens, except your main could be crispy duck leg, base could be duck fat rice, and side could be tofu seaweed salad. Not to mention desserts like pineapple “bolo” buns with actual pineapple or milk tea and egg tart soft serve.

the details

Address333 Park Ave S, New York
Hours11h-21h Monday – Saturday, closed Sunday
Price$-$$, pretty standard lunch prices, mostly <$15 for bowls, a bit more for entree size
Aestheticsimple and modern

good to know

Go here for: a fast meal that doesn’t feel like a compromise

Order this: mandarin duck, sichuan spiced cauliflower, chili crisp chicken

Amount of time to spend: 30 minutes is plenty

When to come: any day but Sunday (don’t make the same mistake!)

Getting here: it’s about halfway between the 23 St (4, 6 and NQRW) and 28 St (4, 6) stations.

Other things to note: 

  • For larger take out orders, they have “family style” meal sets for 2 and for 4-5. They have catering options for larger groups.
  • They have heated outdoor seating. Also great for takeout and delivery.
  • They also stock pantry items including plenty of Chinese sauces and snacks, including, of course, their obligatory entry into the chili crisp tournament (seems like every modern Chinese restaurant in the city has one). They also carry plenty of Yun Hai soy sauces and a selection of IRVINS salted egg chips.

Last visited: November 2020

Last updated: December 2021

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