The Milling Room

446 Columbus Avenue

(Between 81st & 82nd Streets)

New York, NY

(212) 595-0380 


Hamachi Tartare; avocado, cucumber, chives, yuzu

Grilled Octopus; charred eggplant, arugula, smoked paprika oil

Crisp Sweetbreads; capers, pickled fennel, tarragon

Rabbit Pappardelle; porcini, aromatic vegetables, orange

Long Island Duck Breast; parsnip purée, shaved brussel sprouts, brandy jus


2001 Karthäuserhof Riesling Spätlese Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg 



1988 Chave Hermitage Blanc



2002 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru Les Baudes



1982 L’Église-Clinet



2007 Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères



Although I’ve lived on the west coast for the past five years, New York City still feels like home. It’s where the majority of my friends reside, and it still ranks as my favorite place in the world to eat and drink. On this last trip, I met up with two of my favorite people for dinner—a mentor and a dear friend, both of whom have ties to Veritas, my former place of employment and my first job as a sommelier. Both avid wine collectors, they booked us for dinner at The Milling Room on the Upper West Side, a choice based as much on its relaxed corkage policy and the quality of its cuisine as its relative proximity to Westchester, where they both live.

The chef at The Milling Room is Scott Bryan, an underground New York legend who is perhaps best known as the founding chef of Veritas. Although I came on board well after Bryan had left, regulars often reminisced about the unpretentious though high quality nature of his cuisine, and how well it paired with pedigreed wines. Indeed, that compatibility was another draw on this night, as the wines my friends brought to share were extraordinary, and demanded a position on center stage.

Upon arriving, I was led past a bustling bar area and into the enormous dining room, which features a lofty vaulted ceiling that recalls an old train station. Chef Bryan was out that evening, but he had already created a tasting menu that was perfectly executed by his kitchen staff and expertly served by the front of the house. Sommelier Tim Gemelli was very accommodating, graciously preparing the wines to our exacting specifications.

Hamachi tartare with avocado, cucumber, chives, and yuzu

The opening course was a delicious Hamachi tartare, which was extremely fresh and lemony with the perfect amount of crunch from the cucumbers. Happily, our first wine was its ideal companion—a 2001 Karthäuserhof Riesling Spätlese from the Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg vineyard. This was a magical wine of incredible depth and complexity. Scents of oyster shell, lemon oil, honeysuckle, torn spearmint, green tea, and gunpowder converged on the nose. Texturally, it was beyond vibrant, with an otherworldly acidity snaking through the wine’s gentle, subtly oily flesh. The mineral quality was profound, and joined with the smart acidity to form an endless finish. A superb, and unforgettable wine.

The extraordinary and rare 1988 Chave Hermitage Blanc

The Chave came next, which we had decanted upon arrival. This is a wine of special emotional significance to me, as I had access to a phenomenal vertical of Hermitage Blanc while at Veritas, and have had little occasion to enjoy the wine since. As my first few experiences with Chave Blanc were with exceptionally honeyed and earthy vintages, it took me a while to ‘get it’, but when I finally did, I fell in love hard. As enthusiasts know, this wine is a singular animal; it behaves and evolves like no other white wine on the planet. When you catch a perfect bottle at a perfect moment, like this 1988 a few weeks ago, it resonates through your body as if a tuning fork tuned to your very bones had been struck. This particular bottle was flawless, offering scents of honey, straw, almond skin, baked golden apples, graham crackers, crushed white flowers, and human sweat and tears. The texture was waxy and rich, with a slow-building mineral presence, low-toned fruits and a lightly astringent finish redolent of aspirin. As it was so unique, it was tricky with the food, being too honeyed for the rich sweetbreads, but it sang with the earthy rabbit.

Rabbit pappardelle with porcini, aromatic vegetables, and orange

The aforementioned sweetbread dish was decadent and interesting, with a rich sauce made lively by the smattering of capers. Though the Chave didn’t work so well, the Riesling was a delightful match, at least for those of us who still had some left to savor. The papperdelle was another hit, prepared perfectly and in a classic mien. The Chave was beautiful with it, but so was the Barthod Les Baudes, making for an interesting comparison. The Barthod was in a particularly lovely place in its drinking arc, and accented the basil in the rabbit dish. Simultaneously muscular and finessed, the Barthod impressed with its heady nose of sweet earth, rich cherries, and blood.

There’s nothing like well-aged Burgundy and Bordeaux

The 1982 L’Église-Clinet was a real treat, as there isn’t enough aged Bordeaux in my life. Well within its peak drinking window, this wine offered a delightful, roasted nose of espresso, black truffles, dried leaves, and iodine (also an uncanny note of wallpaper paste, as one of my dining companions pointed out). The palate was turbid and mature, with an integrated structure and a dusty, chalky finish. It was excellent with the duck, whose subtle gaminess coaxed a sweet black cherry note from the wine.

Usseglio’s luxurious Réserve des Deux Frères

We ended the evening with the youngest of the wines, a 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères from Usseglio. We had this wine without food, which I think was appropriate, as it was a massive, powerful, and opulently styled red of great proportions. The sweetly expressive nose offered up scents of cherry sauce, brown baking spices, chalkboard, violets, and espresso. The palate was rich to the point of feeling thick, with waves of dark succulent fruit proceeding full-throttle into the warm and subtly oaky finish. Intense in personality and hard to ignore, the 2007 Réserve des Deux Frères is a wine I look forward to revisiting in several years. As it was, it served as an impressive grand finale to a wonderful evening.

The Milling Room delivered a terrific dining experience, with classic, expertly rendered dishes, an energetic setting and warm hospitality. Although the wine list is well-priced and offers impressive depth for its modest size, The Milling Room’s accommodating corkage policy ($30/bottle, free on Tuesdays, no restrictions on number of wines) makes it an especially attractive choice for collectors who want to drink wines from their cellars.

--Kelli White