RIP, Gus. I miss you. I miss New Hella's.
When I was new to Michigan in 197<mumble-something>, New Hella's was
my introduction to Greek food. My comfort envelope was beef, cooked beyond
well-done. Vegetables were to be boiled until they bounced. Or fish. And potatoes.
Fish - NOT crustaceans, NOT bivalves, NOT ... you get the drift.
A friend set me up on a blind date. She was somehow related to Gus. She
rejected my restaurant & movie suggestion as boring, and suggested Greektown.
Lamb? People eat lamb? Really? Grape leaves? Flaming cheese? YGBSM.
She promised it would be "fun." Um, okay.
Well, she was certainly known to the staff. EVERYBODY stopped by to say,
"Hello!" I'm pretty certain that she had warned Gus that I was waaay outside
my culinary envelope. He arrived moments after the hostess seated us and
promised me the "best meal you'll ever eat."
We never ordered. The food just started arriving. Full plates of things I'd never
heard of ... mooseWhat? Moose? Darlin, you never mentioned moose meat.
SaganaHuh? Isn't that a city in Japan? Now you're just pulling my chain, what
is it, really? The meal was fabulous. The check was zero, zip, zilch, nada, non,
nuthin, nyet. Trying to make an impression, I over-tipped the staff - significantly.
They certainly remembered me on subsequent visits over the years, regardess
of my dining companion.
That night was pretty fabulous too. And the next morning. And the next afternoon.
And that night. And I was late getting to work on Monday.
Gawd I miss New Hella's. Her? Not so much. Really. I'm certain that it's mutual.
If she happens to be reading this, thank you for opening my eyes ...