We went out with the whole family for my wife’s birthday dinner Saturday night. As the group is getting pretty big, it was suggested that we go to Lelli’s. I’d never heard of it, but heard that the original burned down in past, perhaps under mysterious circumstances, but I have no idea.
First impressions: The new Lelli’s is massive and in Auburn Hills, right around the corner from the Silverdome. We were in a back room with a few other big groups, and the place was maybe half full. It looks like a big Italian restaurant would, if it were trying remake its history in a new suburban building.
We were a bit late and bread was on the table when we got there. Big round rolls that were nice and crispy. We each ordered drinks, apparently the martini was good, my Maker’s & Ginger seemed to lack much Maker’s.
Lelli’s has a deal where pretty much everything comes with it (Antipasto, Salad, Soup, etc.). It is really an Italian sort of steakhouse. My wife and I after talking about it ordered the Chateaubriand, as neither had had it before and it was for two. They also had a dinner “rollback” menu that had lower prices than the regular menu, which made almost everything a good deal. After ordering the procession of food started:
Antipasto Platter: Pretty basic platter, one piece of each item for each person, cheese, salami, shrimp, olives, hot peppers. It was fine, a good little bit to snack on while waiting for the meal. They certainly don’t go overboard on this.
Salad: This was good, but pretty plain and small. Nothing that was unexpected.
Minestrone Soup: The soup was good, lots of vegetables in it and some bits of pasta. It was hot and fresh, again, nothing to write home about, but good.
Pasta: Because we got the Chateaubriand, we got a different pasta than everyone else. Everyone else got Spaghetti Bolognese, which must have been pretty good as everyone finished it. The plates were pretty small, as expected. We got something else. Penne with a tomato cream sauce, it was quite good. My mind is blank on what kind of sauce it was.
Main: And finally the prize came. It is supposedly, Prepared and Sliced, at tableside. Well, they brought out 2 pieces of Chateaubriand, poured some “Zip” sauce over it and cut it into a few pieces. It wasn’t elegant that is for sure. We ordered it Medium and were told that they cook to the rare side. Our meat was definitely to the done side of Medium, some of it might have been Medium, other bits were Well Done. It seemed this way around the table. That said, the less cooked pieces were really good. Tender, as expected, and flavorful. We got several sides, carrots (good), green beans (good), and potatoes (very good). The potatoes were mashed with cheese. They were rich and flavorful
Dessert: Spumoni comes with it. It was pretty good, but nothing special. By then we were all pretty full so not much need for it.
Overall, the food was good and the company was too. A good place for groups and pretty fair prices, especially on the rollback menu.
One note was that it definitely felt like they were trying to get us out of there as fast as possible. Plates were being cleared as soon as people were finishing their last bites of plates. We had to ask after the 3rd course to please slow down so that we could enjoy our meal. Lots of staff helping out and a few were worse about this than others. I like for all plates to be cleared when everyone is done, but maybe that’s just me.
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