With no thanks to the woman in line who rudely announced “You can close that door!” as I attempted to wade into the crowd at Alameda Street’s Mille last week—which now inhabits the former Bouche location—I need everyone else to know how wildly impressive Santa Fe’s newest eatery is, especially given Marcel and Stephanie Remillieux only opened it up a scant few weeks ago. Mayhap you’ve heard it’s uncouth to review a restaurant that’s just opened its doors. True and fair enough, but the Remillieuxs clearly know what they’re doing after years running Los Alamos restaurant Fleur de Lys, which opened in 2017, so this is a special consideration. Besides, Mille (451 W Alameda St., (505) 930-5492) is, in a word, excellent.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for scientists entering the foodservice sphere as the Remillieuxs have. Just look at John Rowley over there at Rowley Farmhouse Ales, for instance; homeboy’s killing it, and the same can be said at Mille. During a recent sojourn with an old friend, we learned the fresh new eatery’s popularity has as much to do with great food as it does its newness, and it’s easy to assume things will improve.
A quick note, though, to advise those concerned with closeness that Mille’s door on Water Street leads into a bit of chaos at busy times. Counter service is never an issue for those who want a crepe or something badly enough, but at Mille it still feels a little tense standing among so many others. Chalk it up to the pandemic and the two-ish years we all just spent being terrified to get close to people, but the line and those who comprised it felt like it might bubble over at any moment. It didn’t, for what that’s worth, and such a thing is a small price to pay. Your time in said line is easily spent ogling numerous sweet treats, anyway, from mascarpone tarts and overstuffed eclairs to a colorful array of macarons the likes of which we haven’t seen since Chaine Peña moved out of her Water Street cookie establishment (though, we hear, she’s weighing options for a larger location).
Speaking of those macarons, it was hard to select the right cookies to start, but someone had to do it. After carefully observing and torturously going back and forth, we selected the salted caramel and rosé varieties ($5 for the pair). The caramel, unsurprisingly, tasted as advertised, though one can never go wrong in a marriage betwixt savory and sweet. The rosé macaron sang, however, especially in how it kind of snuck up on us. It had an almost fizzy mouth feel, like Champagne, the real stuff, and the rosy flavor unfolded satisfyingly well after the initial bite. No joke, it might have been the best macaron I’ve ever tried, and it was almost enough to make us both feel silly for having ordered sweeter brunchy items. The heart wants what it wants, I guess.
For the main event, I opted for a Nutella crepe with strawberries and fresh whipped cream ($7.50 without strawberries; an added $1.50 for the fruit), of which my dining companion noted, “I lived on those when I was in Paris.” Now, I grant you that Nutella might not be a specialty item or particularly hard to find, and that a battle raged within me over that dish, the quiche florentine ($9.25) and the di parma baguette sandwich with baby arugula, balsamic vinegar and a fig glaze (plus prosciutto without substitutions, but still doable for vegetarians; $8.90), but I was bewitched by the pastry case and my sweet tooth activated. Served hot with mountains of whipped cream, the Nutella melted into an enticing sauce-like consistency all wrapped within the crepe’s many folds. In tandem with the strawberries, it became such a brilliant range of textures and flavors that I literally whispered “Ohmygod,” to myself. My companion, meanwhile, ordered a single slice of French toast which, at $10, sounded a bit over-expensive. When served with whipped cream, plus chocolate and raspberry sauces, it revealed itself a decent value. Sadly, she said, her toast came slightly burnt—but this was during peak hours in a brand new restaurant and, she said, she’d order it again anytime.
Mille also serves fresh coffee from 35 North, a tragically underrated local company with a storefront in the Santa Fe Arcade on the Plaza. I tend to shy away from most downtown restaurant coffees as they’re often burnt varieties from the only-OK Aroma. At Mille, however, someone clearly knows the value of a robust cup, and other than requesting cream from our food runner that never arrived, it was one of the better blends I’ve had outside of the dedicated downtown coffeeshops. You’ll find a full-on coffee menu at Mille, too, and once the weather gets a little nicer, the thought of a plein aire croissant with an Americano or some such sounds divine. Mille’s patio looks gorgeous, too, though it was a little too chilly to make that commitment during our visit. Yes, the patio is ostensibly heated, though we couldn’t find a table with adequate warmth. It’s also worth noting that the find-your-own-table system is perhaps rife with tension. More than once I made uncomfortable eye contact with my fellow diners in the line as we surveyed the dining room for a flat surface; one wonders whether they’ll find themselves with an order placed for dine-in and nowhere to sit and enjoy it.
That is, of course, where the bit about whether it’s too early to review a new spot comes in, though I’m convinced Mille will only improve, especially with polite customer feedback and lessons learned from running a restaurant in Santa Fe. Remember that parking for that stretch of downtown is challenging in the best of times (though Mille does have a small lot; first come, first served) and a circle or two around the block usually yields a space. And these are surface-level issues, anyway. The main point is that the Remillieuxs seem to have something special going on, and folks looking for a cassoulet or a monte cristo -finally have a place to hang their hat.convinved Mille will only improve, especially with polite customer feedback and lessons learned from running a restaurant in Santa Fe. Remember that parking for that stretch of downtown is challenging in the best of times (though Mille does have a small lot; first come, first served) and a circle or two around the block usually yields a space. And these are surface-level issues, anyway. The main point is that the Remillieuxs seem to have something special going on, and folks looking for a cassoulet or a monte cristo -finally have a place to hang their hat.