The long anticipated Estiatorio Milos debuted this week on at 730 First Street on South Beach (305-604-6800) and wow, it's a stunner. The 200-seater is clad in white marble and polished woods of various tints, with virtually every inch of the space vying for visual attention. The seafood display features amazing fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean glistening over ice. It's easily the most impressive layout I've seen in this town, and also the priciest, with many of the species going for $50-plus dollars per pound. Owner Costas Spiliadis has ridden this formula -- beautiful setting, top quality ingredients, high prices -- to enormous success thus far in New York, Montreal, Las Vegas and Athens. South Beach? We shall see.
Sean Bernal, the chef in charge, knows something about serving imported seafoods to a large dining room; he was executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room for many years. I don't want to say the restaurant and market are overstaffed, but I'm fairly certain there are more workers at Estiatorio Milos than were needed to build The Greek Colosseum.One of the chefs was standing by the seafood display while I was ogling the fish. "Olive oil, lemon, oregano, salt and that's it," he said to me. "You don't want to cover these up with anything more."
For our initial visit, we stuck to the "low budget" (in this case a very relative term) Marketa that takes up one side of the expansive space. It, too, is gorgeous, with a lengthy wood communal table running nearly the length of the area, parallel to a counter stocked with Mediterranean spreads, seafood salads, imported cheeses and other delicacies. Tom Sofianopolos, the Marketa manager, graciously showed us around and explained some of the foods. He is also in charge of catered events in the private dining room (yes, it is also lovely).
Lots of photos after the jump...