Off The Eaten Path: Milon
The food and the mood. The meal and the feel. It’s important to remember both of these factors when choosing a restaurant — especially in New York City, where the number of dining options is seemingly endless.
If you’re willing to sacrifice the former for the latter, consider visting Milon, an intimate Indian restaurant on the Lower East Side.
I’ll readily admit that Indian food is rarely (read: never) my cuisine of choice. Having an aversion to all things spicy means I’ll seldom opt to eat at any establishment where curry is one of the most common ingredients on the menu. That being said, I’ve tried enough Indian dishes — various group gatherings have forced me to branch out — to at least marginally distinguish between mediocre versus fine fare.
Milon is certainly no culinary gem — the food is average (though I was personally very content with my bland nan bread and mild Chicken Pakora fritters), and the service is choppy and unimpressive. Instead, the beauty of this restaurant lies, quite literally, in its atmosphere.
image via: yelp
Walk into the space, which measures no more than 15 feet wide, and you’re actually assaulted (no understatement) by light. A canopy of chili pepper string lights, haphazardly hung Christmas ornaments, and miniature pendants promoting various international soccer teams hangs from the ceiling. The lights dangle so low that guests have to duck when getting up, lest their hair get tangled in the electric cloud twinkling above. With just a single, narrow aisle down the middle of the room and tables squeezed no more than one or two feet away from each other, the effect is overwhelmingly claustrophobic … but in a good way.
After a few minutes your senses will acclimate, but don’t get too comfortable. Because of its eccentric décor (and economical BYOB policy), Milon is hotspot for celebratory dinners: anniversaries, holidays, and, of course, birthdays. At some point throughout the evening the staff will inevitably play the “birthday song,” which involves earsplitting Indian music and flashing laser lights. Be warned. Words don’t do it justice.
image via: yelp
The bottom line: For those seeking a memorable, unconventional, and somewhat crazy eating experience, Milon is a must. Otherwise, you’re better off staying in.
93 1st Avenue
2nd Fl. (Up the stairs to the left)
New York, NY 10003