This article made possible by a donation to our Writer’s Fund Raffle by Word Brooklyn.
Milk and Roses has always been to me the charmingly quaint little cafe situated on the end of Manhattan Avenue, the part I should explore more often.

After dark it turns discreetly into a pleasant wine bar.

Recently, the lure of both a new menu and a Saturday night Lambrusco Special gave me cause for a visit.

The deal: Buy two glasses of Lambrusco, get one free. 

Accompanied by a writer friend, we were struck by the romantic atmosphere immediately upon stepping through the door. Low lighting, candles, exposed wood and bookshelves, like WORD with a speakeasy in the basement.


It’s not the best atmosphere for a platonic business discussion, but on vibe alone it’s instantly a great date spot.

We tucked immediately into glasses of the Lambrusco of the evening, Venturini Baldini ‘Roncolo.’

Lambrusco was a gateway drug for me from cloyingly sweet stuff like Arbor Mist into the world of real wine, so it’s always held a special place in my heart.

This stuff was delicious. Not at all on the sweet side, with a slight fizz and velvety palate, it was like drinking in the Milk and Roses ambience in a glass.

We started with Arugula Lemon Salad served on Creamy Anchovy Crostini, which were really beautiful, light and fresh and reminiscent of much warmer days. Cue second glass of lambrusco.

This was followed with Pasta Carbonara. I don’t eat red meat and I neglected to inform the restaurant of this, but I enjoyed it anyway. My pig and cow-hungry friend devoured the meaty bits, declaring it delicious, while we split the noodles, which were wonderful.

The third course, a Braised Short Rib with Soft Polenta, Arugula and Lemon, proved Chef Chance Jones’ attention to all of the flavors in a dish. My friend devoured the short rib lovingly and glowed about it, while I did the same with the polenta. We were both beyond satisfied – we were giddy. The polenta was a near-perfect main on its own.

More lambrusco? Absolutely.

Dessert was a luscious Nutella Chocolate Cake with Lemon Mascarpone and Luxardo Cherries. I often argue the virtues vs. vices of Nutella because I have friends who consider it a food group, but here I’m all for it. The moist cake with Nutella and tart lemon mascarpone complimented each other well. A final downing of lambrusco to cleanse the palate.

Milk and Roses is a gorgeous date spot with wonderful service and a ridiculously competent menu that I look forward to working my way through.

Join the Conversation


    1. It’s not really about the return of the 70s/80s Lambrusco versions (cheap, sweet, fizzy and extremely low in alcohol: 3%-8.5%). The new found popularity of Lambrusco is really driven by real, authentic (secco, red, frizzante, min. 11% alc.) Lambrusco which was first introduced to the USA in 1995. Commerical Lambrusco’s “flavors” are based on the amount of residual sugar. Real Lambrusco’s aromas and flavors come from the type of Lambrusco grapes used, such as Sorbara, Grasparossa, Salamino, Marani, Maestri, Montericcio, and/or Ruberti.

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