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Critic: Montreal Greek Maven Milos Isn’t Worth It

Maybe restaurants shouldn’t fly in fish from across the Atlantic Ocean every day, says La Presse’s critic.

Randall Brodeur/Eater Montreal

A notable review has cropped up for ultra high-end Greek icon Milos this week: Marie-Claude Lortie visited the Mile End restaurant recently, and was seriously unimpressed. It’s quite the turnaround from the critic’s last review in 2016, when she declared it to be one of the “grandes tables classiques” of the city.

But first, some context for the latest review: Milos has spread its wings well beyond Montreal in its four decades in business, with Costas Spiliadis opening restaurants in New York, Miami, and London (all with the Milos name). Most recently, a second New York Milos opened in mega-development Hudson Yards, and the first review of it was brutal. Eater NY’s Ryan Sutton gave it zero stars, dubbing it “one of the last big restaurant scams in New York”, reserving particular criticism for the heavy use of “market price” labels on the menu, labelling the restaurant a “shakedown”.

Lortie noticed the review and subsequently revisited the Montreal doyen, finding some of the same issues. The critic is upsold to a more expensive grilled fish since the more affordable one (still $45 per pound) isn’t available for a table of two, with the odd note from a server that British Airways had flown the fish direct from Portugal. It’s not worth the $108 price tag: “did this fish have exceptional finesse or taste? No,” she writes.

The restaurant still has highlights, with Lortie reserving compliments for the octopus, taramasalata, and dandelion. But it’s not the quality that’s the issue, says the critic, but the entire premise of Milos.

“This restaurant is built on the idea that flying in food from the other side of the ocean is the ultimate luxury,” Lortie writes. She goes on to note that flying everything in fresh comes at a big cost — at 10 p.m. on the night of one of her visits, some 15 fish are still on ice. If the restaurant is insisting that its fish is freshly flown in daily, that’s a huge waste, she suggests.

And the kicker? Despite the “staggering” prices (and the elegance that they would imply), one server suggested that the critic empty her first glass of wine into the second one, which he had just brought to the table. The critic would not go back, she writes. [La Presse]

It hasn’t exactly been a week of glowing reviews — in Quebec City, Italian darling Battuto gets a tepid response from Le Devoir critic Catherine Ferland. Despite winning enRoute magazine’s esteemed Best New Restaurant in Canada title for 2017, it doesn’t meet expectations.

It’s not all bad — appetizers like perfectly crispy arancini impress Ferland, as do scallop crudos and an oven-baked polenta dish.

But given the lofty reputation, there are too many disappointments for the critic: Bellinis fall flat (quite literally, it seems the drink was somewhat flat), the restaurant’s sound level and temperature are both far too high and, carbonara casarecce is “drowned” in sauce and far too salty, and ravioli with celeriac, mascarpone, and rosemary doesn’t meet expectations. Two and a half stars. [Le Devoir]


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