I’ve had the pleasure of vacationing in Greece on several occasions. And among the most memorable things about it was the pristine freshness of the fishermen’s catch. It didn’t smell like fish; it smelled like the ocean. That was the “driver” when I created THE OCEANAIRE SEAFOOD ROOM– that and the utter simplicity of the Greeks’ preparations: simply grilled or broiled, or quickly sautéed.
You can imagine my pleasure, then, when I was in New York with Joanne and several PARASOLE colleagues, and discovered this great Greek seafood restaurant…ESTIATORIO MILOS on West 55th street…..rated 27 by Zagat.
My dinner there began with our server escorting Joanne and me to a gigantic bed of crushed ice displaying a huge variety of the day’s catch. The drill here is, you select your fish, they weigh it, tell you how much it will cost, and suggest preparation options.
I guess that this is the time to tell you that Milos is hellishly expensive. (But stay tuned….I’ve got a solution for you).
Back at our table, our server arrived with a basket of crusty bread accompanied by a potted plant of oregano, a scissors and a bottle of olive oil. Following several snips with the scissors, oregano leaves landed in a little bowl into which he poured the olive oil for bread dipping. (You should know that oregano is the national herb of Greece; it grows wild all over the place, and when walking in the countryside, you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by the aroma).
Okay…..I said that I have a solution to the expense of this place. At the New York location, they feature a three-course PRE-THEATER menu for $49.95, and at their Miami location it’s similar, though called the TWILIGHT menu and offered at $39.95. I don’t know about their Vegas, London, Montreal or Athens early-bird offerings, but I recall that the New York and Miami locations offer them from 5:30 – 7:00 PM every night.
The PRIX FIXE TWILIGHT MENU includes an appetizer section with four choices (we’ve tried them all), including a small but delicious GREEK SALAD……CRISPY CALAMARI……CRUDO (varies daily with the catch)…and a grilled OCTOPUS SALAD…..all good.
Main courses include four offerings as well……Whole fish – perhaps DORADO (or sometimes SEA BASS) simply grilled……GRILLED ORGANIC SALMON…CHAR-BROILED LAMB CHOPS…and a GRILLED VEGETABLE PLATE. All the preparations are simple. In the Greek tradition, quality ingredients are allowed to speak for themselves.
Dessert features two choices: a small FRUIT PLATE (don’t bother), or a big THICK SCOOP of REAL GREEK YOGURT with THYME HONEY and WALNUTS (Do bother).
So that’s the PRIX FIXE EARLY BIRD special, and it’s really good.
If you want to enhance the experience, order a pre-appetizer of TZATZIKI (yogurt, cucumber and garlic, $10), SKORDALIA (a puree of almonds, pureed potatoes, garlic and olive oil, also $10), or a tower of CRISPY ZUCCHINI for $9.00.
Now, if you want to splurge, go ahead and order à la carte. You may feel that it’s worth every penny. But be prepared to spend $29.00 for fried CALAMARI and $32.00 for a GREEK SALAD, and anywhere between $75 and $100 for your whole fish off the bed of crushed ice.
Me? I’ll go for the TWILIGHT DINNER….over and over.