On the official NYC taxi map, the Upper East Side ends at 86th Street, aside from a small sliver near Central Park, which extends up to 110th Street. The rectangle bounded by 86th, Madison, 110th, and the East River, is (supposedly) Spanish Harlem.
Those are the traditional borders, but the streets north of 86th are starting to look more like the old Upper East Side. Indeed, most sources now consider anything up to 96th Street to be part of that neighborhood. Gentrification will only accelerate as the Second Avenue Subway gets closer to completion. (The latest ever-changing due date is the end of 2016, but it is sure to move again.)
The Milton is typical of the dining and drinking establishments taking root in the upper Upper East Side, where rents are low enough to attract a younger crowd. The owner, Tomas Maher of 13th Street Entertainment, talks up the space’s “downtown vibe”. This neighborhood isn’t yet secure in its own skin, so the proprietors have to compare it to someplace else.
The chef, David Diaz, came out of the same ownership group’s Brasserie Beaumarchais in the Meatpacking District, but the two places couldn’t be less alike. The cuisine at The Milton is out of the gastropub playbook: like the owner, a fusion of Irish, English, and American styles. Appetizers and salads are $9–16, side dishes $7, mains $12–28 (but only two of them north of $18).
It’s not a particularly long menu, with just eight mains and no announced specials. It will be interesting to see if it changes seasonally. Otherwise, The Milton isn’t a gastropub. It’s just a pub: a good one.