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  • Reservations Recommended

    Restaurant Review ~ Millie’s Spring Valley / 4866 Mass. Ave., NW

    For suburbanites, exploring the uptown streets of DC can take folks to such areas as Howard University, Columbia Heights, Shaw, and Spring Valley. These underscore how diverse is DC life, its street scenes, and its eateries. Great restaurant destinations fill up each area, and depending on your culinary whim, you can select just about any cuisine.

    Regardless of where you are coming from — and especially if you are in the mood for some casual yet upscale eats in a casual, upscale setting — put Millie’s in Spring Valley on your eating-out map. Yes, the setting is casual with patio seating, and a sprawling open dining area with a bar, barstool seating, and open vistas for laid-back dining.

    And the menu is just as laid-back, if a bit pricey. Landing here midday presents patrons with a menu chockfull of a range of flavors, from California-style quesadillas and tacos to East Coast eats with a California vibe: seared scallops (in flour tortillas), Maine lobster in a buttered roll with lettuce, chives, and a scoop of coleslaw; to buttermilk fried chicken salad with baby kale, avocado, and a creamy garlic ranch dressing.

    Note: The Millie’s namesake comes from the original Millie’s in Nantucket; and Millie’s has opened up elsewhere too.

    Luncheon starters include blue crab fried rice with a fried egg, raw oysters, grilled swordfish kebob, and a traditional lobster bisque sparked with chunks of lobster. But to keep in a casual mood, start with the ceviche of the day, salsa with chips, and/or guacamole. Or order all three, though you won’t have much appetite for entrées…unless you are lunching with friends.

    True, the entrée selections are a mix of Nantucket dishes with California flavors. A few winning suggestions include the Brant Point quesadilla is packed full of large, tender shrimp; the pineapple-mango salsa; zucchini; and loads of gooey Monterey jack cheese. You get a side, and the mound of fries go well with this. (Brant Point is the site of a lighthouse in Nantucket.)

    For taco fans, the Hither Creek option includes a pair of corn tortillas wrapped around grilled rockfish with a side of sweet corn salad and avocado. The tortillas, even though doubled, do spill out the yummy filling — this is also a treat. (Hither Creek is a stream in Nantucket.)

    The dinner menu offers most of the same starters, but entrées go in a different direction. Yes, the chef has added tacos and quesadillas, but for patrons looking for the bigger splurge, consider a fried shrimp dinner, pan-fried trout, or crispy salmon on wild rice. Kids have their own lunch and dinner menus, so this can be a family outing for sure.

    The brunch menu more or less mimics the same appetizers, but now’s the time to dig into pancakes or roasted turkey hash and fried eggs or brioche French toast. Patrons can also opt for a salami scramble with eggs and herbs served with hash brown potatoes. They can also find one or two tacos and burritos.

    Sweets for lunch and dinner are the same: warm blueberry bread pudding; chocolate cake with chocolate ganache; and ice cream choices of one, two, or three scoops. For tipplers, check out the drinks menu filled with tempting cocktails (probably not a good idea midday), beers, and wines — a good place to cheer up.

    Millie’s Spring Valley / lunch & dinner: Sun.-Wed., 11am-9:30pm; Thu.-Sat., 11am-10pm; brunch: Sat. & Sun., 11am-3pm. Takeout windows open daily 11am-10pm. / 202-733-5789.

     

    Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Click here to visit her website.