The best-kept dining secret in NYC is really no secret at all – like leaks out of the White House, everyone seems to know the scoop: the best way to enjoy snazzy Manhattan restaurants is to skip the exorbitant dinner tab and instead, drop in for the stellar prix fixe lunch menu. We found four of them, each one worthy of a return trip. Let’s begin with a good bet if you’re in Midtown:
Estiatorio Milos $29 per person/3 courses (125 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues) 212.245.7400 lunch served 12-2:30 p.m.
You can drop someone’s college tuition on dinner at Milos in NYC or Las Vegas but the prix fixe lunch is, by comparison, an incredible value. Seafood forward and perhaps the lightest of our four dining experiences, but satisfying and almost healthy. The best tomato salad in recent memory! Our waiter told us that they source their tomatoes from farms in New Jersey in the summer and from hothouses in Canada during the winter. He could have told me that they fly them in daily from Greece and I would have believed him; they tasted that good!
The dining room at Milos is capacious by NYC standards and inspires daydreams of a trip to a Greek isle. There are a few tables outside but based on the gritty Midtown view and serenade by an orchestra of jackhammers – definite buzz kills for the Greek isle daydream – we decided to sit inside.
The restaurant is currently remodeling so there is a bit of aesthetic disruption but nothing that detracted from our dining experience. For a main course, I ordered the crab cake and grilled shrimp, and the CE had grilled branzino:
Dessert was a platter of fresh fruit with a taste of baklava and what looked like walnut cake. It took all of my willpower not to sample it…
Location: Just steps away from New York City Center, so it’s a perfect place for lunch before a matinée. Also walkably close to Bergdorf Goodman and the flagship Nordstrom store set to open in 2018-19. If you prefer the High Line over shopping, another Milos location is slated to open at the behemoth Hudson Yards development in 2018.
High points: Those tomatoes! That baklava!
Quirky: A small pot of oregano on the table from which the waiter snips a few leaves to garnish your meal.
If I’m being fussy: Service was a bit slow – took forever for the drinks to arrive.
Dress code: Business casual, and for lunch you could probably stretch this to casual as long as you aren’t sloppy.
Reservations: In the summer, at least, it was easy to get a last minute reservation for two. The spacious dining room can easily accommodate groups, although a credit card is required for parties of six or more. Reservations by phone or on OpenTable.
The last word: Excellent value. We hope to be familiar faces here for lunch in the future!
Next up: A prix fixe lunch where you may least expect it…