Dinner: Tue-Sat, 5:30-11 pm; Sun-Mon, 5:30-10 pm Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2pm; Sat-Sun, noon-2pm
6 at 28th St.; N, R at 28th St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Millesime, which opened late last year in an awkward space off the lobby of the Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue, is another mellifluously named Continental-minded restaurant (the word means “vintage” in French) with familiar throwback dishes on the menu (it’s billed as a “seafood brasserie”) and a well-traveled, even eminent, chef overseeing the kitchen. Laurent Manrique was born in Gascony, trained at Taillevent, among other legendary institutions, and ran several prominent kitchens in New York during the last salad days of French-style haute cuisine (Peacock Alley at the Waldorf-Astoria being the grandest), before decamping in the late nineties to the West Coast. He became a Michelin-starred chef in San Francisco (earning two at the seafood restaurant Aqua), and his return to the city is being treated, in dwindling Francophile circles, like the return of a great grizzled actor to the Broadway stage.
Unfortunately, the haphazard, jury-rigged space at the Carlton still feels less like a grand big-city stage than like the mezzanine dining room of a randomly upscale suburban hotel. But thanks to Manrique and his executive chef, Alan Ashkinaze, you can now get a decent rendition of pike quenelles when you visit, and a velvet chowder laced with bacon and perfectly cooked diced clams. The fish (tuna, bass, red snapper) is properly fresh and served with a minimum of frills, and if you want something slightly more racy, there are five mussels recipes to choose from, including one soaked, Creole style, in curry, coconut milk, and limes. The desserts (orange parfait, stodgy profiteroles, a lemon tart) are passable facsimiles of old-time favorites. If you have to choose one, make it the brioche, which is drenched, like an old-fashioned baba cake, in flagons of Armagnac.
Located in the Carlton hotel, this David Rockwell–designed bi-level restaurant, helmed by Laurent Manrique, can accommodate 300 for a ceremony under the lovely Tiffany stained-glass dome, with cocktails in the Champagne lounge and after-party in the rustic café. Prices upon request.Ideal Meal
Pike quenelles or clam chowder, grilled red snapper with frites, Armagnac brioche.