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Jan 12, 1998 06:30 PM

Estiatorio Milos

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Did anyone see last weeks "Dining Around" on TVFN, where both Nina Griscom and Alan Richman couldn't stop praising Estiatorio Milos. Alan had 4 fish dishes prepared by the restaurant in front of him and claimed that 3 out of 4 were the best dishes he "had ever had." Nina then said, prepare yourself for this one, that the restaurant was comparable, in terms of quality, to Le Bernadin. She also said that the Crabcakes were the best in New York. I have never heard these two rave about a restaurant like this. In fact, they rarely agree with oneanother.

I have heard mixed reviews about the place, and before I spent $30 dollars a pound (everything is sold by weight) for my favorite fish flown in from Greece "that very day" I want to know if it is truly worth it. I would appreciate hearing from any Chowhounds about their impression of the restaurant.

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  1. I almost laughed out loud reading your post, Alex.

    I went to E.M. a few months ago with three other folks (luckily, it was a business dinner and I was being taken out). Let's put it this way: our reservation was at 8:00 P.M. on a weeknight; we did not see a morsel of food until 9:30 P.M. There were so many service problems that it became comical. We were given so many items gratis that we couldn't remember what we actually ordered, which was just as well, since they had run out of more than half the things we did order.

    I do remember excellent calamari, so-so tuna, a beautifully grilled obscure whole fish, and best of all, a dessert yogurt. Was the meal good? Yep. Was it better than Molyvos right around the corner? Yes, probably, if fish is your game. Is it worth the cost? No. Is it transcendant? Nope. Is there better Greek around? Yep.


    17 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      Thanks for your response Dave. I had a feeling that there was a good deal of hype surrounding this restaurant. While I heard that the fish was fresh and well prepared, comparisons to Le Bernadin made me suspect. I think Milos has quite a P.R. agent making the rounds. After reading your response, I think I will hold off until I can go for a business related purpose (then I won't have to take out a loan to pay for dinner).

      Speaking of getting seated long after your reservation - isn't that one of the single most annoying things about dining in NYC. In most every other city, reservations are honored to the letter - it is part of the bargain. You promise that you will show up at a given time, with a certain number of people, and in return, a table is waiting for you. In NYC, it seems common to be seated at least 30 minutes after your reservation. And often, the restaurant sees nothing wrong with this. No apology, no gratis items, no nothing. It is as if they think you are privileged merely to have the opportunity to dine in their restaurant. This practice usually ensures that I will not return to the offending restaurant. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

      1. re: Alex

        Don't get me wrong. The food was good at E.M. But I've eaten once at E.M. and once at Le Bernadin and all I can say is: Estiatorio Milos, you are no Le Bernadin.

        I know all the complaints about unhonored reservations, but for some reason, I rarely have the problem, barring the Mesa Grill.


        1. re: Dave Feldman

          I have encountered the problem (failing to honor reservations) most often in restaurants "of the moment." Those places where they think they are too cool to play by the rules of dining etiquette, where the waiters feel as if they deserve to be doing anything but waitressing; and where the manager thinks he is running Studio 54 in its heyday, not a restaurant.

          That is why I rarely venture to the hot spots. If the restaurant is good enough, it will have staying power, and I will visit once the insanity has died down. To get an idea of what I am talking about, read this weeks New York Magazine's article re: Odeon (a class act with staying power).

          1. re: Alex

            I avoid hot places like the plague. Of course, the fact that I can never get a reservation in them helps reinforce that decision .


            1. re: Dave Feldman

              I ate dinner at Estatiatorio Milos Saturday night
              5/16/99 at 10:00pm -- er, actually, I should say I
              arrived at 10:00, as per my reservation; I wasn't
              seated until after 10:30. I have eaten at many NYC
              restaurants and I have never been subjected to poorer
              service or a more "Cafe Boeuf" attitude (apologies to
              Garrison Keillor). The food was OK, sure, but not all
              that outstanding (how difficult is it to grill a fish?)
              and not nearly worth the ridiculous prices charged.
              Overall, an extremely frustrating and annoying
              experience that almost ruined a birthday night out.



              1. re: Mark Melnick

                Only a half-hour, Mark. Consider yourself a piker!
                We were delayed more than an hour (and this for a
                business meeting at which the host was a regular
                customer). I haven't been back.
                Did you have the yogurt dessert? That was the only
                thing that knocked my socks off at E.M.

                1. re: Dave Feldman
                  Ross Grimsley

                  I waited one hour and a half just to get a table.
                  Very slow service, the food was good but very over-priced. I think this place is over-rated, what I mean is you can find fresh food anywhere in NY and pay much less than EM.

                  1. re: Ross Grimsley
                    Kieth Hamilton

                    Talk about over-rated, EM is far from what the papers have said about it. The food is really over priced along with the slow service, this place is just your ordinary greek restaurant.

                    1. re: Kieth Hamilton

                      I agree that the service is slow, and the prices high - but the fish is deliciously fresh (I love the artic char) and the olive oil delectable. The food is fresher, more carefully prepared and lighter than at an "ordinary greek restaurant." I wouldn't go there for dinner - too pricy, dull 'hood, but it's a great business lunch place.

                      1. re: Elaine
                        Lawrence Taylor

                        I went there for a business lunch and the service was slow and half the fish on the menu was not available on that day. The large white walls make the place look like a hospital and the prices are ridiculous, even for me LT.

                        1. re: Lawrence Taylor

                          I too believe that Estiatorio Milos is an over-hyped insiutitutionj, which probbbaly owuld fold wirthout na strong tourist base.

                          Let me recommend Avra on East 48th St. The fish is always quite fresh and the preparation simple --grilled with olive oil and herbs. Appetizers are a knock-out, particulalry the barbecued octopus and stuffed calamari.

                          The waitstaff actually make you feel that they are glad to serve you, none of the smarmy bootlicking that is so prevalent.

                          1. re: JayGeeBee
                            Dave Feldman

                            Me three on Estiatorio Milos.

                            An obvious alternative, because it is both Greek and within easy walking distance of E.M., is Molyvos. The simple grilled fish there is on a par with E.M. at a cheaper price, but I almost always prefer the special fish, which is smaller in portion but larger in taste.

                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                              Milos was out of 3 dishes on a Sat. night at 9:00pm. The fish took one hour and a half to get to our table and the waiter argued with us when he brought us the wrong dessert! I'll never set foot there again!

                      2. re: Kieth Hamilton

                        How sad to read from all thsese people whose tastes seem to run a pedestrian coridor.
                        I've been there. I paid. Yes, its a bit pricey but the old adage applies. You get what you pay for.
                        Everything I had was simply and perfectly prepared; very fresh and impeccable. Nothing was camouflaged with sauces or other cover-ups.
                        A Greek restaurant? Yes, it is. Do not forget that Greek cuisine has developed over the last two thousand years and covers a wide range in all aspects.
                        Remember though, as I have found out, Greek Cuisine is a complement to nature and Milos reaches a peak to that complement.

                        1. re: Kieth Hamilton

                          I couldn't agree more. Although a beautiful space, the prices are out of sight, and last time we went (12/03)the food was worse than ordinary. Definitely a downer. We brought guests, who were appropriately unimpressed.

            2. re: Alex

              Awesome restaurant, lots of action!!!
              Check it out.
              When I went there last night, Donald Trump was there
              and so was Steven Spielberg, along with Tom Hanks and
              Phil Simms.

              1. re: bob canon
                John N. Knoesel

                But how was the chow ?

          2. In terms of quality and freshness of the fish, I can
            believe it may be comparable to Le Bernadin. If I
            were to spend that that kind of money, I would much
            prefer to eat at Le Bernardin. Or at an awesome sushi

            1. The food is excellent and the service is great!!

              1. I dined there ONCE.
                That said, the food was boring, at best.
                It was April, 1998.
                A while ago, but I haven't heard of any "changes".
                I had Black Sea Bass, the ONLY fresh thing not rotting on the newly iced table. "Imported" fish was slim pickings, the excuse was about Airlines or some other lame excuse for the rotting $55 a pound pickings. Service was as good as my corner burger joint (if that good). The fish was prepared ok, at best, but I was not asked if I would like half my fish thrown out. The filleting of cooked fish NOT TABLESIDE is terrible. I would have liked to have been asked if I needed my fish filleted and most of the fish thrown out. An educated diner would never opt for the filleted fish, a choice not offered by the "restaurant". An appetiser of fried eggplant and zucchini with, so-called, tzatziki was a tasteless pile of eggplant and zucchini fried as thin and crisp as potato chips, minus the salt, and on a mound of bland way-too-thick "yogurt". It was a Sunday afternoon, rainy, we had no reservations and were the first to enter the restaurant at 5pm. Asking to be seated we were treated poorly at first and then handed over to a waiter that hadn't a clue what food service is all about. A good view of Morgan Freeman seated in a corner facing the wall was all that was worth this place. A bottle of wine, appetizers, a la carte entrees and nothing else, nothing.
                I have not been back since and make no plans to return.