The ambience of MilkBoy’s new South Street location is lively and hip—a bar aesthetic with a coffee shop vibe. The outside of the restaurant is chalky black with the name painted on in milk–white boldface type. The monochrome is a welcome beacon of modernity in an otherwise dated neighborhood.
We take a look at the menu as chef Chris Beyer greets us. He may be down to earth, but make no mistake, he has trained with the renowned chef Jose Garces, and the MilkBoy menu is his latest personal masterpiece.
We start off with small plates, though that could easily be considered a misnomer. The portion sizes are generous to say the least. There are few greater pleasures in the culinary world than bacon, but when the much hyped Bacon Bowl ($9) was set before me, I was wary. A slathering of bacon is appealing in the morning, or maybe at midnight, but at 4 p.m. I wasn’t so sure. Serving bacon on its own is a bold statement, especially when it is infused with flavor that cannot be explained by its pairing.
My reservations proved unfounded. The bacon was crisp at the edges but un–charred. Glazed with honey, the texture was a beautiful wedding of sweet and savory. For added decadence, the dish is accompanied by a light yet creamy buttermilk ranch, though I preferred the bacon on its own.
Biting into the habanero chicken wings ($11), I was pleasantly surprised to find the intense heat nicely offset by a hint of honey. The wings are made in confit with 50% duck fat, giving them a juiciness that complemented their perfect, golden crunch and an intense flavor. The soft flesh underneath is delicious in and of itself, but the combination of habanero and honey brought an interesting kick. If you’re into the more mainstream flavors, the buffalo flavored wings were just as good and more basic in case you’re still reeling from the orgasmic bacon.
The main dishes here come with fries that are somewhere between the skinny fries served at high end restaurants and the soft doughy fries you get at diners. They come with a variety of dipping sauces: a vinegar soy vinaigrette, a cactus dijon, a thousand island sauce and, my favorite, the house specialty Tommy Sauce. Don’t ask, just dip, savor and repeat.
As for the entrées themselves, the Chicken Cheesesteak is better in theory than in execution: A bit dry, but easily improved by a dunk in the Tommy Sauce.