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.
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:
Last visited: November 2020
Last updated: December 2021