The Mill NE marries two very different culinary ghosts: It’s a continuation of the old Mill City Café on the former site of Porky’s. Right out of the gate, it’s established its own living identity as a worthy destination for a fun, casual night, as well as the morning after. The everyday brunch menu revives Mill City’s heartily satisfying biscones (flaky like a biscuit, but denser like a scone) and gravy, along with Ecuadorian baked eggs with house-made salsa and an egg bake with caraway rye and halloumi cheese that achieves a savory crunch. Recommended dinner options range from a small plate of warm root vegetables sprinkled with bacon-walnut vinaigrette to a scallop entrée that mixes sweet and smoky elements. One of the kitchen’s most surprising dishes blends rice noodles with shrimp, pork belly, poached egg, and miso broth, warming the palate with ingredients in harmony rather than at war. Like its welcoming dining room, the Mill’s offerings feel studiously low-key, a menu that leans on original twists on contemporary comfort food without resorting to frippery.
Between the equally excellent brunch and dinner, it’s a tossup which time of day to recommend over the other. Perhaps we’ll put our thumb on the scales in favor of cocktail hour: There’s a solid Spanish red and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc at six bucks a glass, plus pitch-perfect and unfussy craft concoctions including a classic Sazerac and the cinnamon-honey-bourbon indulgence Crimson and Clover. (Although Northeast is the heart of taproom culture, the Mill is one of the few joints that serves craft taps along this particular stretch of Central Avenue.) One complaint: the limited size of the dining room, particularly for a morning meal. Though it’s a good sign for an eatery’s future when one feels hesitant to recommend it, lest a table become too hard to obtain.
1851 Central Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-315-2340, themillnortheast.com