Eating At Milu: Upscale, Fast Casual Chinese Cuisine

By on Monday, August 14th, 2023 at 8:09 pm

Milu in Williamsburg

I first heard of the new Chinese restaurant opening in Williamsburg by way of a press invitation. I was out of town on the night of the soft opening, but it looked good enough I wanted to try it anyway.

Fast-forward to mid-July when my wife had a Monday off from work for her birthday and I had a sick baby at the doctor. We met up at the waterfront for a late lunch. My favorite kind of meal is eating when everyone else is off doing something productive. The baby had fallen asleep in his stroller, and we sailed smoothly through the meal.

The restaurant is more casual than I expected. We ordered at a counter and are given numbers for a table. The food is brought to us, but I could see how this would be anxiety inducing during a busier time. As it was, only one other table was occupied.

We decided on the family style option since there were two of us, and the basic option had a nice selection for 2 to 3. We also added dumplings because I’ve never been sorry about extra dumplings.

I was surprised when the food all came out at once such is the trend these days to have dishes come out as they are ready. Perhaps it was inevitable since the place was empty. I would be curious to see it at a busier time. The food laid out across two tables before us like a feast.

And it was no exaggeration to suggest this was a feast. Three people could have easily filled themselves on the food, especially since we had an extra order of dumplings.

Mandarin Duck and cucumber salad from Milu

The hoisin sauce served alongside the duck was the right balance of tangy, sweet, and spicy. Each of those flavors came through.

The duck itself had a crispy skin and the rest of the meat was delicate without being dry. The slices of duck fell apart in the mouth with a crispy skin adding the crunch. The butchering was well done too, removing any tendons that sometimes add an undesirable bite to the dish.

Cucumber salad paired with Mandarin duck

Paired with the mandarin duck, the cucumbers brought freshness to the dish. I particularly liked the way the cucumbers were sliced partly through increasing the surface area that absorbed the flavor of the dressing.

cauliflower and tofu slaw from Milu

The second entree was the spicy cauliflower. These were crispy. The spice came from Sichuan pepper leaving a little tingle on the tongue. The texture was good with enough rigidity to taste the vegetable. The chili Sichuan sauce had just a touch of heat, and to be honest I could have gone a bit spicier, but overall it was a safe level.

The slaw was creamy but light and fresh. Paired with the Sichuan cauliflower, it cooled the peppery bite in a nice balance of flavors.

watercress salad from Milu

This was a nice light addition to the meal that made it feel more well rounded even if it wasn’t a standout. It was a great way to make the other dishes shine.

The complete family style meal from Milu

The white rice was a great way to extend the meal for three people but was not exceptionally noteworthy in anyway. The duck fat rice, however, was dynamic and delicious.

The seasonal cookies were ginger and lemon flavored, and they hit the spot, cleansing the palate and helping the digestion after the meal.

Pork dumplings, an extra side dish from Milu

We also added on an extra side of dumplings. We probably didn’t need it, but after the duck I enjoyed these most of all. I expected the bright red wonton sauce to have a but more heat, but the steamed wontons were nevertheless flavorful with herb and pork.

jarred sauces available from Milu

The restaurant also had a variety of sauces for dumplings and chili crisp for sale in tastefully decorated jars.

235 Kent Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn


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