One of the greatest ignominies of the New York fine dining world is how a handful of ultra-expensive restaurants try to mask the nature of how expensive they are. At Cut by Wolfgang Puck, the “market price” designation is a favored way to hide the price of wagyu, while Masa’s website prefers to omit supplement beef and truffle prices, which can push up the omakase by over $200 per person. Cosme, where the cost of dinner has risen dramatically in recent years, has stripped its entire online presence of food and cocktail prices, a technique that the Grill and others have employed.
And then there’s Estiatorio Milos, which manages to outdo them all.
The second Manhattan location of the Greek seafood spot opened up last week at the slick billionaire’s playground that is Hudson Yards. How much will dinner actually cost here? Well, that’s complicated. The original flagship struck most of its online prices long ago, a practice that the sequel adopted as well.
But the new Milos also employs an even more nefarious technique: It doesn’t even publish prices on the physical display menus outside the restaurant. Perhaps this doesn’t matter to the tony audience that Milos is trying to attract. It’s one of the splashiest spaces in the development; Gisele Bündchen and her husband Tom reportedly hung out there on opening night, presumably enjoying partially obstructed views of the Hudson.
A display menu without prices, though, is a heck of a thing for a shopping mall restaurant with ample availability for last-minute diners. Even someone who made a reservation a week out might have no idea what they’re up against until they sit down at a table with, say, three other patrons and realize they’re about to drop $800 on dinner. Or more!
In the interest of saving anyone from that embarrassment, here are a few Suttonomics-style notes on pricing:
- A collection of Greek spreads, taramosalata, hummus, and htipiti, which would collectively run about $15 to $20 in a gourmet mart, costs $39 at Milos.
- A side of fava beans is $17.50
- A single appetizer of ceviche costs $42.
- Oysters are a whopping $4.75 each. That’s $57 for a dozen.
- Carabinero prawns are priced at $118 per pound, though are ordered by the piece and then weighed. So a single crustacean tends to fall in the $30 range, per a host. By comparison, La Vara, arguably the city’s best Spanish restaurant, charges $25 for two of these heralded prawns.
- None of this might help very much since Milos doesn’t actually print most of its whole fish or crustacean prices; they’re listed as MP. Those offerings range from about $61 per pound (bonito) to $70 per pound (fagri) to $124 per pound (stone crab).
The following hypothetical meal for two — one dozen oysters, one ceviche, two Carabineros, a one-pound salt-baked fagri, a side of greens, baklava, and two glasses of wine per person — will run about $416 after tax and tip. Again, we’re not talking about a tasting menu here; this is a simple two course meal plus dessert. Will some patrons find that to be a value? Surely, and I’ll have more to say about that during the review process.
But Milos could do everyone a favor to be just a little bit more transparent about what it costs to dine here.
For now, the better deal remains the set $32 lunch or $49 pre-theater and late night menus (limited selection), or the downstairs wine bar, a separate concept offering more affordable Greek share plates.