On Columbus Avenue, just north of 81st Street, Chef Scott Bryan’s “The Milling Room” offers casual yet delicious American fare in a large and beautiful space on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The grand space housing the restaurant comes out of nowhere as you make your way up Columbus Avenue. For New York City, a large chunk of real estate like this forces you to take note. Inside, area residents and others from throughout the city belly-up to the well-stocked bar or sit at one of the cozy tables to enjoy an evening of American food with an interesting twist.
Servers are young with good, upbeat energy here. It somehow matches the ambiance of candlelight, colorful murals and wooden tables. Sitting-down you peer around the room to spot patrons enjoying happy hour, tavern snacks and full dinners from the well-curated menu. Items like hamachi tartare with fresh avocado, roasted beet salad or grilled octopus keep things light and flavorful. Pastas offer something different with options like rabbit pappardelle or squid ink spaghetti. My favorite entree was the exquisite porcini crusted cod fish on celery root puree. For those craving something a little more hearty, grilled skirt steak with glazed heirloom carrots or Long Island duck breast with shaved brussel sprouts make excellent options.
This room is cozy, and full of atmosphere. For how large the space and high the ceilings, I was shocked at how good the acoustics were (no yelling needed). Come, sit, stay a while – there’s no rush or being forced-out after an hour here. This is a neighborhood joint with cosmopolitan offerings. The Milling Room is absolutely a dining room to make note of.