Thursday, January 08, 2009

All my favorite restaurants need to come to me

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Sorry about not posting more often; I could give you a bunch of excuses, many of them reasonable, but let's just say I've been flaking and leave it at that.

As most of you know, Lopez and I just came back from a two-week stay in New York City, and it was fun, incredible, beautiful and grimy, exhilarating and exhausting. I'll put together a better report later, but for now let me tell you about the most fun restaurant I've probably ever been to.

A few blocks from where we were staying, on the hazy borderland between the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village, there are four tiny Indian restaurants side-by-side and stacked on top of each other, so there are two on the basement floor and two on top of them. The person we were renting an apartment from told us to ignore the guys trying to usher you through their particular door and recommended the top-left. That turned out to be Milon.

Glancing in the windows later, I'm guessing the other three eateries are similar, but I can tell you Milon is maybe about six and a half feet wide and maybe 15 feet long (not including the kitchen). Tables are crammed along the sides, leaving a narrow strip that is like a runway for the waiters that need as much poise and flexibility as your average model. And the ceiling - my God, the ceiling - is low and covered with red chili pepper lights, garland, twinkle lights and every other gaudy doodad ever strung on a wire. Going hand-in-hand with the disco fever dream is Indian dance music blaring non-stop from unseen speakers hidden somewhere in the tangle overhead.

It was completely awesome.

I'm a big guy, and my overcoat itself is a monstrous beast to be tamed, so you can imagine what settling in to our table was like. But once we were sitting it was comfortable, cozy even, and the service was attentive and top-notch. And the food itself was delicious, fresh and flavorful.

Eating at Milon is definitely an experience, an event as much as a meal. Lately it seems that whenever me and Lopez travel we end up finding one restaurant that we fall in love with and wish we could go to on a regular basis, dragging our friends there so we can spend hours eating and talking and hanging out. In New York, Milon was that restaurant.

OK, before I go completely into my old restaurant review mode, here are some pictures. Keep in mind that I took these, 1. without a flash, and, 2. pretty much at eye-level and from the very rear of the place. I had to duck when I walked through the place, so I'm not exaggerting when I say it was small. But again, it was cozy, not claustrophobic (shit, there I go again - pictures!).