Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mike's Chili & Gyros (Hamilton, OH)

Generally speaking chili seems popular with the older crowd, those whom aren’t afraid or embarrassed to eat a dinner consisting predominantly of beans.  It’s rare to see a teenager on a date say, “I’ll take the chili”; but I guess it does happen on occasion.   If you’ve never had a gyro then you’ve either been living under a rock, or, doing your taste buds a severe injustice.  Our mysterious benefactor Mike apparently specializes in both, that’s what led us to sample his cuisine one brisk day last October.

On my side of town, the “East Side”, we’ve been graced with the presence of a Mike’s Chili & Gyros for nearly a decade.  It’s in a relatively small building that used to be a Gold Star Chili.  It’s got a lot of charm, though; a nice or unique atmosphere goes a long way in making a restaurant memorable.  The Mike’s Chili & Gyros we’re reviewing is on the “West Side”, just opening last year, moving into a reasonably new building that was once a Great Steak & Potato Co.  The interior is much more modern than its sister store, and in terms of design, I can say from experience that it’s nearly the exact same as it was when Great Steak was in business there.

Here we are, Amanda and I, on a break in-between classes.  I was sporting a much shaggier hairstyle then, one I hope to surpass in the future.

Amanda was particularly saucy that afternoon – she’s capable of extreme sauciness on occasion, predominantly when she’s had red wine, or, discussing art history.

I took the picture on the left randomly, as kind of a memento of the burgeoning fall.  It makes the dining experience seem more poetic, which I can assure you, it wasn’t.  I had Pepsi; but, since it’s been nearly six months, I can’t recall if I enjoyed it very much.  I’m going to guess I did, because, were it horrible, that’d likely leave a lasting impression.

Here’s the food!  I had the classic lamb gyro, with delicious feta cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber sauce.  Amanda had a similar meal, except she substituted chicken for lamb.  The gyros here are top-notch – I’ve eaten gyros at a least a half-dozen places, and these are easily some of the tastiest I’ve had.  Gyros can be a bit pricey, but the quality of the ingredients and overall satisfaction usually warrant the cost.  Their fries are really good, too; the photos don’t really show it, but they sprinkle a seasoning on them that’s really yummy, and something you just don’t get anywhere else.

As you can tell, we were pleased with our choices and experience.  I do like the food at Mike’s Chili & Gyros.  I know a lot of people locally who have never given the restaurants a chance, and they’re definitely missing out.  They also serve burgers, chilidogs, and more.  While I’d hate to see the building on the “West Side” end up vacant again, I honestly don’t see myself going there too terribly often, as I’m just not over on that side of town much.  The “East Side” location is nearby, and, I think inside, both atmosphere and ambiance, is much more satisfactory.  I look forward to frequenting Mike’s in the future, giving a smaller business more patronage, and immensely enjoying gyros.

Overall Grade: B 

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