Updated March 9, 2021 - 7:47 am
“I have great news,” says Estiatorio Milos’ chef and owner Costas Spiliadis, who is on the phone from Montreal, where he’s been waiting out the coronavirus pandemic for the past year.
“We’re opening on the 15th of March, our new baby — our new, beautiful restaurant at The Venetian, which was always my dream.”
Spiliadis, who operates outposts of the Greek seafood restaurant in New York, Miami, Montreal, London and Athens, Greece, closed Estiatorio Milos in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in October to concentrate on building a new home for it at The Venetian and Palazzo’s restaurant row. And while COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented him from overseeing its progress in person, he’s been following it via Zoom meetings and video calls.
“I’m extremely excited and extremely happy with the way it’s turned out,” he says.
The new location encompasses over 13,000 square feet. Designed by architect Alain Carle, it incorporates marble from Mount Pentelicus outside Athens (the same marble used to build the Parthenon) and oak imported from Denmark. While it’s large enough to accommodate almost 400 people, seating will be limited to about 175, even after COVID-19 occupancy restrictions are lifted.
“I wanted it to be a more intimate experience, not just a massive restaurant with hundreds and hundreds of chairs,” Spiliadis explains.
The new spot will have several features the chef has not had before in his restaurants. They include a 35-seat raw bar with oysters, sashimi and crudo (some with a Greek twist).
“I’ve only touched on raw fish in my previous restaurants,” he says. “In this one, I want to emphasize the quality of the fish, and the characteristics of the different fish in their raw form. To do that, we’ve built a very imposing, beautiful raw bar at the entrance of the restaurant.”
Other plans include a room where authentic Greek yogurt will be made in front of customers using the traditional thickening method of straining it through cheesecloth. Alongside the restaurant’s signature seafood market will be a fruit and vegetable market where customers can choose the produce for their meal.
“As soon as you finish visiting the fish market and selecting your fish, you move to the fruit and vegetable market and pick out your vegetables. You’ll say ‘Let me have this,’ and then ask for a certain way for it to be cooked. For instance, you could say ‘I would like that steamed,’ or ‘I would like that grilled,’ or ‘I would like you to fry me some of that.’ ”
The new restaurant also will have new menu items and a program to cure and age fish on-site — after Spiliadis once again is able to travel to Las Vegas.
The heart of Milos’ menu will remain its unrivaled selection of fresh seafood. COVID-19 has resulted in some hiccups in the restaurant’s seafood supply chain, which is known for getting fish from the Mediterranean to your plate in Las Vegas within 36 hours. Once things normalize, however, that seafood pipeline will be more efficient than ever, thanks to a new packaging plant in Athens that Spiliadis had built shortly before the pandemic. He also plans to beef up the restaurant’s Greek wine program to better showcase the strides made in that nation’s vineyards over the past 30 to 40 years.
Spiliadis hopes all of these new additions will take him a step further in achieving the goal he’s had since opening the first Milos over 40 years ago.
“The reason for me ever being involved in the restaurant Milos was to undo or correct the image people had of Greek food. And I think I have done that quite a bit. There’s still a lot of room to cover, but we are on the way.”
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, the late CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which also owns The Venetian and Palazzo.