Restaurant: Milkflower – 34-12 31st ave, Astoria New York
Astoria welcomed its latest pizzeria, Milkflower, to the neighborhood last week and all I can say is WOW. With so many great choices already – Sac’s Place, Antika, etc. – Milkflower has come and elbowed its way in to compete with the best of them. Milkflower only has a week under its belt, but is doing one hell of a job at shining bright on 31st Avenue and showcasing its own character to set it apart.
Milkflower has completely transformed the space it’s in with reclaimed wood and exposed brick. Light bulbs jut out from sockets in the ceiling and walls to provide just enough light. One of the tables, made of police crossing barricades, immediately drew my attention as a nice New York City touch. Additionally, Milkflower honors the previous tenant in the space, a dry cleaner, with a mural on the back wall. Everything is intricately designed and you can tell a lot of time and effort was put forth to deliver a well packaged atmosphere and interior.
The highlight of the restaurant that all eyes seem to be fixated on is the enormous pizza oven situated behind an open kitchen where pizzas are prepared as quickly as they are eaten.
Milkflower’s menu isn’t online yet and I foolishly forgot to take a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say they have some incredible sounding pizzas, salads and small plates, many of which are seasonal. We decided to pig out on the following:
- Toast Plate: Four pieces of a toasted baguette served up with (you get one of each)
- Ramp pudding, charred onion and broccoli rabe
- Avocado and tomato with balsamic
- Crushed pea, ricotta and topped with lavender
- Grated egg, fava bean and onion
- Brussels Sprouts and Egg Pie with Truffle Oil
- Spicy Soppressata Pie with Thyme Honey
First up, the toast plate. Each piece of toast had its own unique personality and I loved each and every one of them. There were some surprises, such as the crushed peas topped with lavender, but these were pleasant surprises. I didn’t expect to be eating flowers when I arrived at Milkflower but the lavender was refreshing and did a great job complementing the crushed peas and ricotta. The highlight was definitely the ramp pudding, charred onion and broccoli rabe. This was full of garlic and salt and I didn’t want it to end!
Now the main event… pizza!
Brussels sprouts are my latest addiction (weird, right?) so when I saw a Brussels sprout pizza I just had to order it. Brussels sprout leaves are scattered across the pie topped with fresh cheese and an egg. This was delicious at night and I immediately envisioned this as the perfect daytime pie. It’s colorful, light, refreshing and would be perfect for brunching over while recapping a late night out with friends. The one question I have is how do they prevent the whole restaurant from smelling like Brussels sprouts?!
The spicy soppressata pizza was a perfect combination of spicy and sweet. The soppressata was definitely spicy and gave this pizza a nice kick. The edges of the meat were curled up and charred from the heat of the oven, giving off a nice burnt flavor as I made my way through this pizza. This would have been your everyday pepperoni pizza had it not been drizzled with honey. The honey contrasted with the spiciness of the soppressata, hitting your mouth with two drastically different flavors. I was in heaven and couldn’t get enough of it.
The pies at Milkflower aren’t the enormous pies you get at your regular pizza place. These pies are medium-sized and not perfectly round in shape. These irregularities give them a feeling of authenticity and fit perfectly with the seasonal toppings scattered throughout the menu. The dough is light, chewy and doesn’t weigh down the pizza, allowing the other ingredients to really shine through.
It was opening week at Milkflower when I checked them out so it was very busy. However, they were all over it. The wait was about 15 minutes but I was offered the opportunity to order a beer while waiting which I gladly said yes to. The service was extremely friendly and very accommodating. The staff gladly took time to walk diners through the menu, answer any questions and just chitchat.
The toast plate cost $12 and the pizzas were around $15 each. Based on the quality of ingredients and overall experience, this is a great value. The pizzas aren’t huge – we ordered two of them for two of us – but we basically had to roll out of the restaurant after consuming all this food.
After writing this, I wish I was heading to Milkflower tonight! This may just be my new favorite pizza place in Astoria. From start to finish, everything at this restaurant impressed me. It delivers on a unique and intriguing interior with similarly unique and intriguing pizzas to follow suit. Visit Milkflower, now.