Las Vegas Restaurant: Estiatorio Milos

Grilled octopus

[Biting Commentary is in Vegas for a magazine conference and returns Wednesday. This is the second post on dining highlights in Honolulu's unofficial sister city.]

In Vegas it's easy to gravitate to the shiny and new. I find myself eating mostly at The Cosmopolitan, the Strip's newest (and very shiny) hotel. In the case of Estiatorio Milos, though, it's not The Cosmpolitan's polished chrome and sparkly chandeliers that are the lure, or even some celebrity chef's name, but the $20.12 prix fixe lunch. Deals are few on The Strip; when you hear of one, you try it just as sure as you split aces in blackjack.

Estiatorio's prix fixe is a better bet than any roulette wheel in Vegas, especially since you can choose your appetizer, entree and dessert.

Our party was large enough to order just about every option on offer. Here's what you should get: the Greek mezze plate, which comes with a trio of creamy dips: tarama (made with fish roe), tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt) and htipiti (a blend of feta and roasted red pepper, the color and taste of pimiento cheese), as well a wedge of manouri cheese, soft and mild.

Mediterranean bass

The entire table loved the grilled octopus appetizer; we savored tender slices seasoned in Greek fashion with olive oil and lemon, while lamenting the tako shortage back in Honolulu. What Estiatorio does best is fresh seafood (yes, even in the middle of the desert), so choose the Mediterranean bass for your entree. It is again, simple: a grilled whole fish, tender and flaky.

In Vegas, the city of excess, the minimalist preparations certainly feel stark, and yet no less satisfying than a brisket-on-bacon-on-hamburger concoction in a restaurant nearby.

Left: walnut cake with kaimaki ice cream, right: 

For dessert: walnut cake with kaimaki ice cream (more like a milky sorbet made with mastic, a popular Greek product that tastes sweet and piney) and a thick, rich Greek yogurt topped with orange marmalade. I could eat this for breakfast everyday. Except maybe while in Vegas. No one wakes up for breakfast in Vegas.