Even carnivores will crave MILO Restaurant’s fresh, vibrant deliciousness.
On one hand I don’t want to start off my review with something negative but on the other: it’s the glaring truth and it sums up exactly how I feel about chef Craig Wilson’s MILO Restaurant on Conrad. In fact, maybe I should address this review to him:
Dude! No offense but what are you doing here? You’re serving 5-star restaurant food in this unassuming little neighborhood joint, for like ten bucks a plate. I’m not complaining, I’m thrilled! But every time I order, I wonder how long we can be so lucky to have this unicorn in our midst…
A lil dramatic, but what do you expect when my first dining experience at MILO was like a scene outta Backdraft? Makes for a great story, but hard to focus on anything else the rest of the afternoon. This review, then, is a culmination of several dining and take-out experiences since MILO opened last October.
Let’s start with ambiance, which frankly seems rather meh for such exciting food. As an eat-in establishment, the place feels a little unfinished – raw wood, exposed pvc, strung lighting. Both times I ate here, I gravitated towards the bench seating along the wall. In retrospect, though, I think I prefer how the bar-style seating by the window is farther from the counter/kitchen and plus there’s a nice street view.
Whatever — you seat yourself and then someone comes to take your order from the overhead menu board offering creative choices like portabella pho, veggie burgers, bulgogi tacos – even a chef’s antipasti. For this review, my dining companions and I choose three dishes we especially enjoyed to highlight.
Tandoori Tacos ($10) Potato, cauliflower, Vidalia onion, avocado with seared panier or tofu with microgreens.
I love all the texture in this dish – check out the pepitas and all those fresh herbs. Assertive spices, too: chef Craig does not puss out with the heat, and it’s lovely. Very well-balanced and well-seasoned, not just hot. I went with the seared panier and it was as filling a meal as I’ve ever eaten.
Ko Curry ($11) Thai yellow curry & kaffir-infused seitan with yam, pineapple, rice dumplings and toasted peanut over sticky rice.
A peanutty/coconutty curry studded with the most wonderfully toothsome rice dumplings. The yams, too, had a unique chewiness that was a real revelation for Steve. He doesn’t remember much about the seitan, but says he totally forgot the dish was meatless. “Very satisfying,” he added.
Jungle Pad Thai ($12) Tamarind & jungle peanut-spiced tofu, broccoli, water chestnuts, roasted corn, Thai chili, mung bean salad over rice noodles.
Ding, ding, ding. My new favorite thing. Since discovering it, my exploration of MILO’s menu has stalled right here. This Pad thai is so freakin’ flavorful! Clean flavors, too – everything in this bowl sings its own special note, and they all come together beautifully. Some spice, some heat, and all the texture you can hope for in a Pad thai. I’m not usually a fan of tofu, either, but this dish is perfect, chef Craig shouldn’t change a thing. Don’t blame me, though, if you swear off Pad thai anywhere else after tasting this.
MILO Restaurant — Five Quick Takeaways:
#1: Chef Craig’s food is super addictive His global approach to vegetarian cooking has crunch and zing and nom and heat. Balanced and comforting, with little unexpected flourishes of flavor and texture. I find myself thinking about his food a lot, which leads to ordering it (a vicious cycle).
#2: The place is BYOB but also – they have kombucha on tap! A choice of locally-produced, seasonal varieties by Inspired Brews in the City. Technically there’s a tiny bit of alcohol in brewed kombucha, but not enough to need an LCB license. (Kombucha tastes like a mild sour ale and has loads of health benefits, including weight loss and improved digestion.)
#3: Fancy drinks for here & to go They blend creative smoothies like “Choconut” and “Peaches & Dreams” as well as specialty chais and coffees.
#4: Leave room for dessert Bodacious baked goods from the badass babes of Crust Vegan Bakery in Roxborough. All natural and sustainability-driven.
#5: Opens 7am Breakfast menu offers eggs, sammies, fritattas, pancakes, avocado toast. Tempeh bacon and some vegan cheese options.
To recap: Top Chef food at Conrad Street prices. Get it while it’s here.
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3426 Conrad Street
Open Tues-Sun 7am – 4pm
Open Thurs/Fri/Sat 6pm – 9pm