Eat Like a Lady on location in Carrboro, North Carolina
Milltown is my favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, North Carolina. It’s not that it has the best food in the area, but it was the first restaurant pre-New York, that I thought was just cool, offering up an extensive craft beer list with solid gastropub fare. One of the funniest things about returning though, is the fact that back in college I considered this place a splurge. The beers are pricey for North Carolina standards, though probably on par with New York prices; however, the most expensive food item on the menu is $14. You can’t beat that. Though all the food on the menu is pretty great, I order the same dish every time: the Steak Frites. In this recent visit, however, it appears the recipe has changed; though I still think it’s one of the highlights of the menu. Chapel Hill/Carrboro has a surprisingly good selection of restaurants, but Milltown has a laid-back cool factor that charms me every time.
Nachos: These were some good, standard nachos. They were covered in cheddar cheese, black beans, jalapenos, salsa and sour cream. I thought this was a great starter with some beers.
Mac n’ Cheese: This mac n’ cheese is freaking good and really addictive, and it’s interesting because it comes with leeks and broccoli and you can add any number of toppings. This specific order included the works. There are tomatoes, onions and mushrooms along with smoked ham, bacon and chorizo. This was a thin cream-based cheese sauce that was really flavorful, and while it wasn’t necessary to get all the toppings, I specifically liked the broccoli and chorizo combination most. This visit was the first time trying the mac n’ cheese, and I definitely anticipate having it on the table in the future.
Tilapia Tostadas: This was pan-fried tilapia topped with grilled corn and poblano salsa, chile-lime crema, queso fresco, and fresh avocado all over fried corn tortillas, shredded romaine and Spanish rice. I loved the freshness and flavor going on here. The tilapia was cooked right and seasoned nicely and complemented the fresh avocado slices and salsa. This might have been my favorite order of the night.
Steak Frites: This is normally my go-to dish. But since they seem to have changed the recipe, I’m not as impressed. The old recipe had a not-so-heavy dark brown sauce with gorgonzola crumbles that would partially melt atop the hot steak. Now it’s covered in a thick gravy-like sauce made from stilton cream, Belgian red ale and caramelized shallots. Though I really like the flavor and the onions in this, it just wasn’t as unique and sophisticated as the previous recipe. What I do like though, which was also done in the preceding version, is that the steak is cut up and covered in the sauce and placed over the fries. A lot of times steak frites is steak and fries, and here the experience most certainly comes together. Even the side salad wasn’t as good. It now has nuts and berries, which to me just interferes with the simplicity of what it once was. It also doesn’t help that my fries were cold and the dish was room temperature once served. Though a disappointment on this trip, I’ll probably still end up ordering it next time. I think no matter what, this will always be my Milltown dish.
Prime Rib: House roasted prime rib on a baguette with caramelized onions, gruyere, roasted garlic aioli and a cup of beef-mushroom jus. This dish is great. The bread is fresh, the prime rib is flavorful and cut thin, it’s covered in cheese and the side jus just brings it all together. This is a great option if that’s what you’re into.
Pesto Goat Cheese Pasta: This was a pasta dish on the specials. The pesto was tasty and the goat cheese was nice, but there was nothing particularly special or mind-blowing about the dish. I think the other dishes were better choices.
Milltown: 307 E Main St Carrboro, NC ($-$$)
Don Antonio, a Neapolitan pizza locale located in Hell’s Kitchen, is the creation of Kesté’s Robert Caporuscio and his old mentor Antonio Starita, the owner of one of Naples’ oldest pizza places. The atmosphere in Don Antonio is really vibrant, and with a bar at the front, it is far more livelier than its West Village sister restaurant Kesté (previously reviewed). Though both need to be kept in the pizza rolodex, there are far more pizza options at Don Antonio, and most specifically they offer up the Antonio Starita Specialty the Montanara (Neapolitan fried pizza), which is the pizza that is not to be missed here! Though I’d probably say Kesté wins out with a slightly more flavorful hot crust, and maybe even slightly fresher ingredients, there are certain pizzas that you can only get at Don Antonio. Plus the openness of the kitchen, as well as friendly manager and staff, give Don Antonio the edge in ambiance.
Pistacchio E Salsiccia: With fresh pistachio pesto, sausage, homemade mozzarella, pecorino romano, basil and extra virgin olive oil, it is one of the most unique pizzas I’ve ever tried, and I loved it. The pesto has such a great nutty flavor and everything comes together to make for a flavor combination that is spot-on.
Burrata Roberto: This pizza is like the one at Kesté that I’m obsessed with. It is topped with homemade burrata, grape tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil. While I’d probably think it was awesome, had I never tried the one at Kesté, this was our least favorite pizza of the three. It was good, but the one at Kesté is just better. It just didn’t give me the same “OMG this is the best thing I’ve ever had in my mouth” moment.
Antonio Starita’s Specialty: This is the Montanara (Neapolitan fried pizza). It is lightly fried pizza dough topped with signature starita tomato sauce and imported smoked buffalo mozzarella finished in their wood burning oven. This is one of the greatest creations ever. Think of it as the original Pizza Hut pan pizza—not as greasy with fresh cheese and all the fried goodness. This is the pizza you want to make sure is on the table. SO GOOD!
Don Antonio: 309 W 50th Street New York, NY ($$)