How do you breathe new life into a classic? I am not sure you can, but at least we can remind everyone they are still there. Coral Gables sits on Grand River like an aging Grande Dame. She offers a solid menu and banquet halls (something to keep in mind as the holidays approach) and she offers history. One menu on the wall from the 1920’s wanted a whole quarter for a salad and another had a steak for $2.50. How cool would that be today? If we can’t go retro with the pricing, we can with the ambiance.
Let me tell you about my first experience at this sweet old gem. I walked in to have a drink with my swank and stylin’ hairdresser. My day had not been the best, and I was suddenly embraced by a bevy of regulars. The bartender, to lift my spirits, made me a Flaming Lamborghini. Don’t ask. But it was on fire and was 2 feet tall. My hair almost burned off, but I was back in a festive mood.
I was hungry, and even though it was bar time, I was encouraged to order the Greek Sampler platter. I am sorry. What? I had no idea that an authentic Greek meal could be found in these hallowed walls. I went with it. The Greek salad was excellent. The spices they sprinkled on top really took it to a new level. The grape leaves were smothered in a lovely lemon sauce and the spinach pie was flakey and full of feta. The pastitiso and moussaka were both robust with a creamy and dreamy béchamel sauce. All in all I loved my Greek feast. The hunky osso bucco behind the bar wasn’t bad either. Oh wait. That’s Italian.
Anyway, after my positive experience at Coral Gables, I decided to make Editor Emily experience it as well. We went for lunch but both of us expressed surprise that they served breakfast. Apparently they have an extensive Sunday brunch. Everything on the menu was a classic. There were turkey and fried chicken dinners, lots of pasta options, steaks, ribs, burgers, and of course, pizza. Emily and I started with Greek Fries. They were fresh cut potatoes covered with feta, lemon, oregano and other spices. I never thought to describe fries as light and fresh, but somehow this flavor combination nailed it. Emily had a rich bacon and cheese soup, and I stuck to my Greek Sampler.
Emily and I decided it was mandatory to have dessert. Come to find out Coral Gables believes in home -made pie. Emily had the tart and tangy cherry. I loved the crust, and I am not a crust person. I, as a registered chocoholic, had the brownie sundae. God love them, they piled on the ice cream and the hot fudge. Also, the brownie was hot and fresh and practically not cooked, as all good brownies should be.
Coral Gables is a classic, a true beauty in her ability to take us back to simple times and great food. Make sure you pay her a visit. If you end up in the bar with my pile of new friends, don’t wear a lot of hairspray. Or stick to said classics.
2838 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing