EMP Chef Connie Chung Opens Chinese language Quick Informal Spot Milu in Gramercy

After practically a decade-long stint working at one of many metropolis’s prime nice eating locations, former Eleven Madison Park sous chef Connie Chung is making a foray into quick informal. Her breakout restaurant, a Chinese language counter-service spot referred to as Milu, opens right this moment in Gramercy, at 333 Park Avenue South, between East twenty fourth and East twenty fifth.

Chung spent 9 of the final 10 years working at Make It Good, the heavy-hitting hospitality group behind Eleven Madison Park, most lately as the corporate’s director of culinary tasks, and earlier than that, as a sous chef on the three-Michelin starred restaurant. At Milu, Chung is serving the sorts of dishes she realized to make at Eleven Madison Park — not as a part of the restaurant’s elaborate $335 tasting menu, however those who had been made after-hours, as comforting family-style meals for kitchen employees.

“I received into cooking as a result of I actually take pleasure in making scrumptious meals for folks,” she says. “It’s corny, however that’s the center of it.” Milu could also be a step away from nice eating, however for Chung, that’s a transfer in the suitable route.

Two people pose for a camera while sitting at a booth in a dining room with black and white tiled floors. To their right, a third person leans against a wall with hands in their jean pockets.

From left to proper: Milan Sekluic, Connie Chung, and Vincent Chao

The brand new restaurant serves Chinese language dishes in a counter-service format. Hearty mains like Sichuan-spiced cauliflower, fiery brisket, and ginger scallion salmon seem atop bowls of rice and blended grains. There’s additionally a half-dozen sides that may be ordered a la carte or added onto any bowl, together with chile- and garlic-marinated cucumbers, pork and fennel dumplings, and an herby cilantro salad, constructed from a mixture of celery, fennel, and scallions.

If served at every other restaurant, these dishes would possible fall into that thorny category of food often known as “quick informal,” however Milu isn’t one for labels. “Quick informal is a loaded time period,” says Vincent Chao, a former director of enterprise improvement at Make It Good and a accomplice on the new restaurant. “The place I grew up [in Hong Kong], a rice bowl is only a rice bowl. It’s what folks eat each day. That’s our meals, and we’re very pleased with it.”

Milu “isn’t attempting to be fancy,” Chao says. Along with its rice and grain bowls, the restaurant serves an array of desserts which might be extra playful than pretentious. Mushy serve ice lotions can be found in milk tea and egg tart flavors, whereas its dessert buns are stuffed with vanilla custard and cubes of candy pineapple, the type one may anticipate finding suspended in sugar water in an elementary college lunch.

The showstopper at Milu is its slow-cooked duck, a dish that Chung refers to as “duck confit,” nodding to her previous at Eleven Madison Park. It seems on the restaurant’s menu as “mandarin duck.” The dish consists of a large leg of meat that’s been stewed in its personal fats for a number of hours and, no matter what one calls it, it’s a should order, says Chung.

In September, Chung debuted the dish as a part of a “family and friends” dinner sequence at Park Slope cafe Winner. The dish — served over duck fats rice that’s been seasoned with garlic, onion, and ginger — bought out in just some days.

Mandarin duck at Milu

Throughout town, restaurant homeowners have scaled back their plans at newly opened eating places, or pivoted to extra informal types of service like takeout, supply, and make-at-home meal kits. Chung supposed Milu to be an informal, counter-service spot from the beginning, however that doesn’t imply the restaurant hasn’t needed to make changes.

The restaurant was initially geared to the workplace crowds within the space, however with many individuals working from dwelling, Milu is providing its bowls as larger-portioned entrees or as household meals serving two or 4. Its sides might be bought a la carte in bulk. A collection of pantry staples, together with chile oil, dumpling sauce, and soy paste, are additionally on the market.

The menu at Milu barely dearer than a few of its informal friends within the neighborhood — the restaurant’s mains vary in worth from $11 to $24 (earlier than including sides), relying on the meat and portion measurement ordered — but it surely’s additionally one of many solely spots within the neighborhood serving fall-apart duck for takeout and supply.

Milu is open for takeout, supply, and reduced-capacity indoor eating from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Closed Sundays.

The doorway to Milu
Evan Sung/Milu

Sets of white tables and chairs sit in an empty cafeteria-style dining room. At the back of the room, there’s a counter where customers can order fast-casual-style bowls.

Milu will open its eating room at 25 % capability to begin
Milu/Evan Sung

333 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010

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