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Expertly prepared, satisfying meals for a good price is the norm for the Lexington restaurant.
SAM DEAN | The Roanoke Times
A Gyro from Niko's in Lexington.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Located at the corner of South Main and Preston streets in Lexington, Niko’s Grille , the only Greek restaurant for miles, bustles with patrons whenever it is open. The restaurant stands apart as a diner in menu and spirit, serving breakfast all day long while expert short-order cooks also prepare an array of interesting, fresh meals for lunch and dinner. The prices respect everyone’s wallet and the Greek-Mediterranean fare is satisfying and largely healthy.
Niko Tripodianos, who owned a restaurant in Lexington called G. Willikers for 16 years, took over the vacated space almost two years ago. He completely redid the interior by painting the walls a lively mustard shade while adding dark wood booths, freestanding tables and a picture window into the kitchen. A TV tuned to the Cooking Channel and soft Greek music establish the stage for a good diner-style experience.
Niko’s menu has plenty of variety and quality. Appetizers ($6.95 to $8.95) are divided into Greek and American . The Greek list includes fried calamari, stuffed grape leaves and koukouvayia , or homemade Greek bread topped with tomato, olive oil, onions, oregano and feta cheese. Soups ($3.95 to $4.95) include chili bean, New England clam chowder, onion soup and crab soup . Grilled chicken salad ($8.50), steak salad ($9.50) and Mexican salad ($8.50) are three of the seven salads offered.
Twelve sandwiches provide variety: gyro ($6.95), Greek pork or chicken kabob ($6.95), open-faced rib-eye ($11.95) and tuna melt ($7.95). Four burgers ($6.95 to $8.95) each contain a half-pound of meat. Steaks and ribs are also available and range from a 14-ounce rib-eye ($21.95) to chopped steak with fried onions and mushroom gravy ($12.95).
Among five pasta dishes are spaghetti baked with shrimp or chicken and cheeses ($13.95), fettuccine Alfredo ($9.95 to $12.95) and veal cutlet Parmesan ($15.95). Niko’s Greek specialties highlight moussaka ($13.95), shish kebabs ($15.95 to $19.95) and pastitsio ($13.95), with sample platters priced at $11.95 to $15.95.
A kids menu ($6.95) and five vegetarian entrees ($6.95 to $8.95) round out the menu.
What I tried
I made three visits, one each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
My two grandsons, ages 11 and 13, came with me to feast on breakfast. They gave a thumbs-up to two sausage biscuits ($3.95) and fluffy scrambled eggs with crisp bacon ($5.95). Omelet Florentine ($6.95) looked beautiful and tasted delicious with warm feta cheese and spinach filling, plus a side of home fries both soft and crisp . The large, light biscuits were declared “really good”. The boys’ opinions differed on three thin, plate-size pancakes ($4.25); one preferred thicker cakes, but both agreed these were tender.
I enjoyed a well-executed Swiss cheese omelet ($6.95) with melted cheese and two homemade biscuits that were hot enough to melt butter.
For lunch, a partner and I took pleasure in a bowl of pleasantly seasoned tomato-based Navy bean soup ($4.95), followed by a sauteed mushroom and Swiss cheese-topped burger ($8.95) and Greek salad with chicken ($9.50).
For dinner, I took one look at the appetizer specials and decided to go with Mykonos ($11.95), a sampler containing a careful arrangement of six small meatballs, four good-size cubes of feta cheese, a grilled split kielbasa sausage, lettuce, cucumbers and thinly sliced tomatoes. Tzatziki, a cucumber dip, made the ingredients come together as one.
Lemon-butter sauce adorned brown, tender broiled scallops ($19.95) as well as broiled haddock ($15.95), which was as delicious as I hoped it would be.
To finish our meal, we ordered the Greek coffee ($3.50), which comes in three choices of sweetness: plain, light and heavy. The light version was perfect with the house-made Greek desserts, baklava and galaktoboureko , the latter a filo-encased custard drenched with honey sauce.
The bottom line
I recommend Niko’s Grille because of the freshness and quality of the ingredients. This is the place for expertly prepared, satisfying meals that provide good dollar value.
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