For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.┬áLet the gluttony continue…


We found the most unlikely little gem of a restaurant thanks to Time Out. I had known Millesime existed for a while since I often walk by the old school, glamorous entrance on 29th Street. I even used to gawk at this building and the menu when it was Geoffrey Zakarian’s Country, but I was always intimidated by the demeanor and the price point.

When I finally worked up the courage to enter, I discovered there was a private party and the dramatic entrance to the restaurant was closed. Instead, we had to enter through the Carlton Hotel Lobby and push our way past a dark and romantic bar area and up some stairs to the dining room. Based on all the fanciness, I was expecting to enter a refined room where my sweater and blue jeans would have been drastically out of place.

Instead, this felt like a bright, happy brasserie in Paris somewhere. While most of the diners were in suits, I was perfectly comfortable sitting at this bright little table in the center of the room. This felt like a more upscale version of Balthazar or Pastis, but still with the friendly hospitable comfort of those restaurants.

Rather than focusing on steak frites and croque monsieurs, this is a seafood focused French restaurant. So in addition to the list item, we ordered the pike quenelles and the cod cooked a la plancha with a tarragon buerre rouge sauce. The quenelles were absolutely delectable, so soft and tender in a rich tomato lobster butter sauce that begged to be sopped up. The dumplings fell apart like a buttery soft matzo ball of the sea. The cod entree was also very good, although it was presented a little too simply. The fish was flaky and seasoned masterfully brought to life by another decadent butter sauce.

The list item was the Grilled Caesar salad which is what everybody seems to rave about (including our server) and once again, it was my least favorite dish. It looks nothing like a caesar salad, which excites me since this is a hint at a deconstructed classic. Thick slivers of browned (grilled, not rotted) romaine lettuce was covered with parmesan cheese and draped with slices of silky black cod. For good measure, it’s garnished with unremarkable toast points.

My major issue was the temperature. I’m not sure if we left this dish sitting for too long while we savored the quenelles or if this was the anticipated temperature. It was somewhere between lukewarm and cold. I expect caesar salads to be cold, but was thrown since this lettuce was cooked. I asked the server and she seemed to agree this was the proper temperature. It gave the lettuce a mealy texture that I didn’t really love. While most of the flavors of a caesar salad were present, I felt like it was missing a brightness. The menu said lime was present, but I didn’t get much acid and so I felt like the dish fell a little flat. Conceptually it was great, but I thought the execution on this particular night was off.

Those minor quibbles aside, everything else was fantastic and I really feel like this is an affordable, delicious restaurant that is off the beaten path. Few will walk by this elevated restaurant and decide to go inside on impulse. You have to know it’s there, hunt down the dining room, and enjoy. But I tell you, it’s worth it.

Would Millesime’s Grilled Caesar make my Top 100 of the year? Probably not based on the night I dined in and found it a little off, earning it a 6 out of 10, but the rest of the spectacular meal just might.

MILLESIME
92 Madison Avenue (between 28th and 29th Street)
Inside the Carlton Hotel
Gramercy
(212) 889-7100
millesimerestaurant.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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