Smile Politely

Milo’s Restaurant makes eating pretty

Milo’s Restaurant in Urbana has a lot going for it, even before you set foot in the door. The building and the grounds around it are beautifully kept. The brightly colored flowers welcome you in, and a pond beckons you for a lazy walk around it’s watery edge. Before my dining companion and I walked inside, we took a moment and just appreciated the beautiful midwest day.

After we had taken in the lovely view we headed inside. Once through the entry, complete with comfy seating for waiting guests, we came to the main dining area. We were welcomed brightly by the host, and led to a charming table in the back with a view of the pond and willow trees. We glanced at our menus and surroundings while we waited for our server. On the left was a half moon shaped bar with low pendant lighting. The walls of the dining room are painted in a warm terra cotta color and the floors are a dark wood laminate. The artwork that was hung on the walls was very intriguing and beautiful. Off to the side of the dining room there is a door that leads out onto a cozy patio overlooking the beautiful pond out back, making it the perfect place for a romantic date night.

When our server came back to take our order, I was surprised that she acted a bit solemn. Unfortunately, this did not change through out the course of the meal. She set a basket on the table containing two thickly sliced pieces of golden house-made corn bread. It was slightly sweet, incredibly moist and it had whole pieces of corn and peppers throughout. It was divine! Our specials were explained by the server without much enthusiasm. We skipped the appetizers and went straight for the main course.

A few friends had told me I must try the upside-down pizza, so I ordered one with sausage, green peppers, and five cheeses for $12. My friend ordered tilapia crusted with panko and herbs from the early bird menu, served from 5 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday. You get a choice of entree: vegetarian lasagne, fish, or chicken, served with mixed veggies and jasmine rice for $12. The food arrived at the table quickly and was served on festively colored plates.

My friend told me the fish was well seasoned and cooked perfectly. She said she could taste the herbs in the crispy panko coating. The vegetables were cooked to a nice al dente and the salad of mixed green served on the side was crisp and fresh. The aromatic jasmine rice was fluffy and tender.

Now it was time to dig into the yummy smelling pizza. It was served like a pot pie and the server turns it out onto a plate for you so the crust on the top ends up being the crust on the bottom. (It is reminiscent of the pizza pot pie from the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. in Chicago.) All of the gooey rich cheeses and piping hot toppings spill out into the crust to make for quite a delicious display. Some of the cheese ended up over to one side but, it didn’t affect the flavor at all. The crust was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The sausage was spicy and the diced green peppers were tender but not overcooked. The tomato sauce was the real star, it tasted tangy and fresh, like tomatoes had been picked from the vine that morning. I will definitely be back for the pizza. I polished off a big slice and then dove in for another.

I sat back in my chair feeling utterly satisfied, but the second slice of pizza didn’t stop me from ordering dessert. I was determined to try some of the scrumptious sounding warm rhubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream ($6).

It was brought to the table in a reddish colored bowl that matched the color of the dessert; it all sort of blended together. I picked up my spoon and dug in, knowing that taste is the most important thing. I really wanted to love this dessert, but there was no crisp about it. The consistency was pasty and floury, with no crispy crust at all. The rhubarb was extremely sour and needed more sweetness to balance it out. The vanilla ice cream however was very tasty and I ate it up.

I would have to say my experience at Milo’s garnered mixed feelings. I loved the restaurant itself and the pond out back is beautiful. Next visit I’m going to snag a table on the patio and enjoy the gorgeous view from outside. The service and dessert left something to be desired, but the early bird menu and delicious pizza were enough to bring me back again.

Milo’s Restaurant is located at 2870 S Philo Road, Urbana and is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 4 to 8 p.m.

All photos by Rebecca Wells. 

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