Down Home Greek Cooking at Alexander’s Grill
Jess Shaffer, Eric Prister, Genna McCabe | Monday, September 7, 2009
With its copious portion sizes, incredibly friendly owner, eager to please staff and solid Greek cuisine, Alexander’s Grill is an endearing dining experience.
One of the few South Bend area restaurants specializing in Greek cuisine, Alexander’s offers a menu not only ideally priced for college students but also particularly suited to the tastes of college students. Alexander’s is equipped to handle both American tastes and those ready to sample the common specialties of Greece.
Alexander’s, despite its label as “Grill,” is more akin to an upscale diner in atmosphere, sporting a shiny new interior, two flat screen TVs, and a steady flow of regular customers. The proprietor, who is actively running around the floor taking orders, chatting with diners, warmly greets frequenters and new comers alike, making everyone feel like part of the Alexander family.
Daily specials are on the board, but the full menu is well rounded for American and Greek fares. Portions are huge. Also, most meals come with standard Greek salad (with notably good Greek dressing), fries or Greek potatoes and also the soup of the day, typically a lemon rice soup. These sides could be a gratifying meal in and of themselves, particularly the lightly citrusy and satisfyingly creamy soup.
Appetizer options range from Hummus and fresh Pita to Spanakopita and Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). There are also the extensive Hot and Cold Appetizer Plate options. The Hot Appetizer Plate came with Tiropita and Spanakopita, Greek pastries filled with cheese and spinach, respectively. Appealing favorites, these were light but full of flavor. Also included on the Hot Plate was gyros meat, which was served in ample portions and had a somewhat salty, but still quite enjoyable flavor. The final part of the appetizer was homemade pita and gyros sauce, which capped off the dish well. A comprehensive sampling of the menu, this appetizer gets full bang for the eater’s buck.
The Pastitsio, a Greek lasagna, was not the highlight of the meal, but was nevertheless a solid entrée. The consistency was different and took getting used to, but the combination of ground beef, Greek cheese, and lasagna noodles added a unique twist on a traditionally Italian dish.
The Grecian Chicken is an entire half of a chicken prepared with lemon and oregano. While it was exceptionally moist and very well prepared, it was somewhat bland. It was served with a bed of rice also flavored with oregano. The whole meal was certainly good, but not great.
This entrée is particularly advisable for anyone who might want a taste of Greek cuisine, but is not interested in diving head first into the flavoring and often somewhat exotic ingredients of Greek cooking. This dish was certainly not what Greek cooking is all about, so it cannot be surprising that it left something to be desired.
Also the unfussy staple of casual Greek cuisine, the gyro sandwich deserves recognition. A piece of pita bread packed sky high with shaved lamb meat and assorted veggies this is a hefty and affordable Greek classic. Salty and a bit greasy, the meat is full flavored and well complimented by vegetables and Tzatziki sauce.
Alexander’s Grill is by no means a high-end establishment, but a combination of satisfying and enjoyable food with the service from an owner who wants nothing more than to make sure that each and every one of his customers is fully satisfied makes Alexander’s Grill and establishment well worth trying. And the best part, with its oversized portions you are ensured to have at least one to go box and filling meals to come.
A short drive or long walk from campus, Alexander’s is located on 1841 South Bend Avenue. Also Alexander’s can be reached by phone at 574-247-1780.