Gimmie more Greek


As a self-proclaimed and proud Lansing townie, I love old Lansing lore. Case in point, the dining room at our new house — hello, Groesbeck — is decorated with 12 framed pencil drawings that I sweet-talked Igor Jurkovic into selling me when he closed Mediterranean restaurant and broke my heart. This town is my home, and I love people who love Lansing.

When I walked into Steakhouse Philly Bar & Grill and saw local high school sports memorabilia everywhere I looked, I knew that I was in the presence of another hardcore Lansingite. Sports really aren’t my jam, but the Big Reds of J.W. Sexton High School most certainly are.

On that first visit, we started with an order of Tater Tots ($8.99).

Yes, the old-school lunchroom standby appears on the menu, and we ordered ranch seasoning as our tot flavor. Several bites in, we realized that we had mistakenly been given Cajun tots, but they sure were going down smoothly with our fizzy club sodas. When they said “Cajun,” they meant it. The tots could also have stood to be two minutes less blackened than they were.

As novices, we decided to order the namesake dishes from the menu. My Chicken Philly ($8.99) was stuffed with grilled chicken and loaded with melted provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions. The bread was thick and hearty enough to stand up to the formidable toppings — something that’s important in a heavy sandwich.

His Steakhouse Philly ($8.59) was similar to mine, with the addition of onions and subtraction of other vegetables.

It was a bit dry and could benefit from a hearty hit of au jus or another sauce. Our favorite part of the evening, aside from reading about the Eastern vs. Central High School football game, were the Greek fries ($6.99) which were well-seasoned, and topped with lots of crumbled feta cheese and oregano. Greek flavors are something that aren’t typically used in non-Greek food, but that’s a crying shame because they are flat-out delicious.

With that in mind, on our next visit we started with the Greek wings ($8.99).

The moment I got them, I remembered my love for this flavor combo. My first thrill came from the fact that this is the entire chicken wing, not just the wimpy half that most places give you. Instead of either the drumette or the part with two parallel bones in it, the wingette, this is both pieces connected. The wings were slightly crispy, but oven-roasted and not fried. My second joy came from their seasoning. Oregano instead of buffalo sauce — I predict a food trend.

Again, Mr. She Ate and I chose to be dinner twins, this time switching from Phillys to gyros. To be fair, you could present me with a piece of sandpaper slathered with tzatziki sauce, and I would get four bites down of that cool, cucumbery nectar, before I noticed something was off. Tzatziki is a favorite of mine, and it solved the earlier issue of dry sandwiches beautifully.

I met a colleague for a weekday lunch, and we split a starter of Buffalo Greek wings ($9.49). If I thought I was in love before, these sent me into heart palpitations with the addition of buffalo sauce, but with the same hint of Greek flavors. I ate more than my share of these.

My colleague and I both ordered the Half Moon Hash ($11.99), and I bet you can’t guess what it is from the item’s name. Imagine an omelet made of hash browns. Instead of an egg wrap, crispy hash browns are nestled around green pepper, grilled onions, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fried eggs and a choice of meat; gyro meat in my case. The dish is huge, the meat was perfect and I love a restaurant that puts its own spin on something made with classic ingredients. Baby She Ate, expected to join us at the end of December, is turning me into a lunch monster, and I was close to joining the Clean Plate Club before I put my fork down and took a breath. Thankfully, I took the rest home and prevented myself from a surefire afternoon food coma.

I’m lusting after the souvlaki ($12.99), the saganaki ($7.99), and more Greek fries and wings. I love the local pride, the motley lunch crew and the location. Steakhouse Philly might just be one of my new favorite things about my old favorite town.

Steakhouse Philly Bar & Grill 11 a.m.

- Midnight, Monday-Saturday.

Noon-11 p.m., Sundays 3020 Kalamazoo St.,