Millesime – One in a Million

Millesime has been called many things. A sleeper hit. The restaurant with the best Caesar Salad in NYC. But the restaurant that made me reconsider crabcakes as the finest fish cake in the world? It has never been called that.
Until now.

Millesime, in the Carlton hotel, is a beautiful, Disney-fied version of a grand French Brasserie. It specializes in traditional seafood, including a huge selection of fresh oysters.

The bread was pleasantly sour and warm to the touch, and the unsalted butter was beautifully spread-able. Lovely.

We got quite the selection of oysters, and they were all totally wonderful. I tend to like the small, creamy oysters from Martha’s Vineyard but were all fresh, light, salty and superb with a squeeze of lemon and a peppery hit of Tabasco.

And the red wine and shallot butter with it was a total revelation. Who would ever pair red wine with oysters? But blending that deep, earthy red wine and some sweet shallots into that creamy butter, then pairing it with the hearty bread and an almost effervescent oyster gave the whole thing an amazing combination of deep and light, earth and sea. It was really a standout of the meal.

Smoked Herring Salad and Warm Fingerling Potatoes

This was another winner! The mild, smoky fillets of herring had an almost bacon-esque quality with a silky smooth texture. None of that odd fishy-ness that lesser herring sometimes has. The oil in which it was submerged was lemony and rich enough to spoon over the creamy, perfectly cooked potatoes. A truly perfect dish.

The Caesar Salad

Grilled romaine lettuce, stuffed with nutty Parmesan cheese, then dressed in a garlicky, limey dressing. The smoked cod is so thinly sliced that it is almost unnoticeable. This was good, yes, but the best Caesar salad? Hardly. It was a novelty item more than anything else – delicious, but not memorable, in my mind at least.

Pike Quenelles Jean-Louis Dumonet Style

Well, I don’t know who Jean Louis is, but I am pretty much ready to become his wife. Because this is the best fish cake I have had in my life – crabcakes, be damned! There was a slightly crisp top which gave way to a warm, velvety, pillowy interior that tasted like the world’s best hot crab dip, but with no cheese and more wine. It just had that sweet, rich, decadent taste. It didn’t taste like pike at all – and to me, that is a good thing! It was languishing in this creamy, liquor-y, shellfish-flavored sauce that was so good that my dining companions and I started unabashedly spooning it into our mouths! It was truly and totally delicious, and I could have this for my meal and call it a day.

Well, I could have 4 of these for a meal and call it a day.

The moules mariniers were excellent if not innovative- sweet, juicy, with not a bad one nor a grain of sand among them. Though I did enjoy the garlicky thyme and basil rubbed toast with which it was served, I really think moules should come with frites.

As a matter of principal, you see.

The broth was also fantastic – oh you KNOW we fought over that sauce, too.

We finished with the chocolate mousse bar with tangerine sorbet.

A perfect finish – smooth, deep, almost bitter chocolate tempered by sweet, tangy, bright sorbet. If the sorbet was just a touch hard, no one noticed or cared.

And why should we? This was a fantastic dining experience. Beautiful dining room, relaxed atmosphere, and a waiter who let us gab at the table for a good 3 hours without pressuring us to order a drink.

If he had only brought me one more quenelle, he really would have been a winner.

I jest, I jest…kinda.

Millesime on Urbanspoon


  1. I, too, loved a meal at Millesime. Agree about the quenelles, but if you haven't been to Lyon in the West Village, I think their's are truly to die for. I really loved my mussel dish – but I went with a more exotic sauce. Only minor complaint was that for a fish restaurant, the white wine listings are slim.

  2. Such a lovely dinner!! We so need to go back again for oysters and champagne xo

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Dee-Ok, consider your advice taken!!! I am absolutely going there, STAT! It was my first time having quenelles and I was just in love with them!
    @Sarah-you name the day and time and I am THERE chica!!!