One of my favorite assignments in recent times came via Jared Flesher, the new editor of Edible Jersey. My mandate was to locate and interview a career waiter – someone for whom serving in restaurants is a lifetime passion and profession. I was delighted to find Bill Meyer, a captain at Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank. He’s been plying his trade in NJ restaurants for 40-plus years and counts Frank Sinatra and Phil Rizzuto among his past regulars. Not to mention the goodfella who held a knife to his throat when lunch didn’t arrive fast enough.
You’ll find the complete story starting on page 59 of this digital version of the Summer 2013 issue of Edible Jersey. (If you’re pressed for time, I suggest starting at the back of the issue and flipping forward.)
Border Crossing: Bargain Lunch @ Estiatorio Milos
After snagging a ticket to a matinee performance at City Center on West 55th Street, I decided at the last minute to have lunch first. I chose Estiatorio Milos, the Greek restaurant with branches in Athens, Montreal, Las Vegas, and Miami, mostly because it was so darn convenient – just steps away. But also because it offers a 3-course lunch for only $25.
I also liked the look of the place. Plus, I could dine at the white marble bar, where the floor-to-ceiling corner windows allow a view of the street scene. (In good weather, there’s sidewalk seating out there.)
The fare is traditional in the best sense: authentic, simple, made with fresh, first-rate ingredients. I was tempted to start with two grilled scallops with an orange and mint salad, but chose instead the Mediterranean meze platter, which includes above-average versions of the usual spreads (hummus, tzatziki, taramosalata) and a 2-bite spinach pie. While waiting for the platter, I sipped a glass of Greek rose (Biblia, $14) and made good use of a basket of country bread and saucer of excellent Greek olive oil that had appeared.
For my main course I feasted on grilled, expertly filleted loup de mer (this particular sea bass hailing from the island of Kephalonia) drizzled with ladolemono (olive oil and lemon sauce). It was moist, tender, and delicate. Other choices that beckoned: charbroiled lamb chop and shrimp Saganaki with couscous, tomato, and feta.
At dessert I bypassed the simple fresh fruit and sorbet options and went straight for karidopita: an ample wedge of moist, rich, dense walnut cake served with honey-lavender ice cream.