To quote a recent article from New York Times food critic Pete Wells, "You go to Milos for creatures that circulate in the Mediterranean and the eastern Atlantic and generally migrate to New York only when somebody buys them a plane ticket." Well, the same applies to the Miami outpost of Estiatorio Milos where the seafood selection is one of the most expansive and exotic in town.
But enjoying fish that's been flown in from Greece mere hours before it hits your plate comes at a hefty price, meaning few can have a meal here and still pay their rent. That is of course unless you were to come to Milos on a Sunday evening, or between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the rest of the week so you could partake in the restaurant's four course "Sunset Menu" at $49 a person. The quality and quantity of food easily makes this prix fixe one of the city's best deals. However, for the 2015 summer season the upscale Greek eatery has decided to shake things up by launching their "Summer Tasting Menu," also for $49.
In contrast to its predecessor, the summer menu is offered between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday (that's one extra hour) and all evening Sunday. Rest assured Milos staples like the grilled octopus, Mediterranean sea bream, Colorado lamb chops, and the Greek salad are still included in the new prix fixe. These dishes have been hits since owner Costas Spiliadis opened the first Milos in Montreal decades ago, so why mess with a winning formula? But under the direction of executive chef Joshua Wahler, never before seen items are now available as part of the deal, and they're worth getting excited over.
Miami New Times was recently invited to sample the new menu and below are some highlights.
The loup de mer (Mediterranean sea bass) sashimi is studded with wild herbs, gigante beans and feta cheese, and is offered exclusively as part of the summer tasting menu. On the à la carte menu there's a ceviche version of this dish which Wahler developed for the Miami market, but which is now available at all six Milos locations due to its popularity. And it's obvious why: the fish is impossibly fresh and the saltiness of the feta cheese adds a pronounced kick to the delicate sea bass. Before landing the top job at Milos six months after its opening, New Jersey born Wahler worked at major restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern, Spice Market and Nobu.
At Milos, the fish selection sits on a bed of ice in front of the open kitchen. Here, you don't have to ask if the seafood is fresh —- you can see for yourself. Chef Wahler says if fish tastes "too fishy" that means it's not fresh, and his salmon tartare is on point. He livens up the starter with Fresno chilli, shallots and micro cilantro and plates it with wafer crackers and a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil pressed from the owners' sister's personal olives. Oh it's fancy, and if you were to order the tartar off the regular menu it would cost you $26.
Another addition to the list of starters is an appetizer of gently battered and fried zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese. Like a lot of the fare at Milos, it's a dish that's elegant in its simplicity; the ingredients are the real stars here. As for mains, they arrive with a Greek salad for the table (à la carte it's $29) and the new options are a honjake sustainably farmed Scottish salmon with steamed vegetables and a grilled vegetable plate. The latter includes eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, baby fennel, cipollini onion, Greek yogourt, haloumi cheese and couscous. We didn't get to taste it, but we're told it's a vegetable lovers dream. The cheese doesn't hurt either.
While the salmon entrée is pretty good, the sea bream and Colorado lamb chops are superior in taste and more challenging to make yourself. Wahler told us the sea bream literally landed in Miami a couple of hours before we sat down to eat. It was flawless. Plus, the hand cut fries that are proffered with the lamb are always a good idea.
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Dessert is Greek yogourt and baklava. The former is the Ferrari of Greek yogurts, as it's far creamier than any store bought brand. It's also made from goat milk so the taste is somewhat more bold. The sweet and savory treat arrives in a pool of Kythira thyme honey, i.e., honey derived from bees that only feast on thyme nectar on the Greek island of Kythira. Intense, right? The baklava meanwhile comes with a side of baklava ice cream which turns out to be the perfect pairing for the nutty phyllo pastry.
An evening at Milos is a glamorous affair —- from the service to the impressive decor, and of course the top notch cuisine. In fact, it can be argued the only thing better than dining at Milos is doing so for $49.