If there’s a time of year when a splurge is called for, this certainly is it. What better way to mark the holidays than by treating one’s significant other to a luxurious dinner at an upscale restaurant? For those thinking about it as the clock clicks closer to Dec. 25, the only question is: Which restaurant?
Among many across the metro area that can provide a festive evening, Steven Lelli’s on the Green has something special that sets it apart. It provides a getaway feeling without leaving town.
As diners sink into one of the plush black leather banquettes at the Farmington Hills restaurant, waiters in black tie are there to pamper them. Setting the scene are red velvet draperies on tall windows, crystal chandeliers twinkling overhead and tables swathed in white linen. The atmosphere is as classic as the background music by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.
The place exudes old-school glamour, including a few tables sheltered by sheer curtains and tucked into alcoves and corners.
Many dishes, such as Chateaubriand for two, Dover sole, Caesar salad and bananas Foster, have the luxurious touch of tableside presentation.
The menu of red meat, seafood and pastas is the time-honored list that defines an Italian steakhouse. Portions are more than generous. The Lelli’s way is to serve the complete spread, from the creamy minestrone that is one of the house specialties, right down to spumoni for dessert, although it is certainly possible to have a lighter dinner.
However, if you do go whole hog, the chosen main course is amplified by trimmings that include an antipasto tray of meats and cheeses, a fresh green salad, a side dish of spaghetti Bolognese, the au gratin style potato called potato Lelli and the evening’s vegetable, for an additional $10 beyond the entrée price.
Notable dishes include filet mignon, available in three sizes, from petite to extra cut, and it is the choice of many diners. Other red meat options include bone-in filet as well as New York strip and ribeye, and the grandaddy of them all, a mixed grill of New York strip, jumbo shrimp and scallops. Among other favorites are shrimp Lelli, lightly breaded and served with garlic lemon butter sauce, and such pastas as fettuccine Alfredo, baked lasagna and ravioli.
The Lelli’s name dates back to 1939, when proprietor Steven Lelli’s grandfather opened the family’s first restaurant in Midtown Detroit. After a run of 59 years, it moved to Auburn Hills. The Farmington offshoot opened six years ago, and its location on a golf course did not change the classic Italian steakhouse direction.
Relatively new in the kitchen is chef John Somerville, longtime chef at The Lark who joined Lelli’s when itclosed last year. Steven Lelli’s business partner Mark Zarkin keeps the operation running smoothly and the atmosphere in tune with Sinatra and Bennett.
Steven Lelli’s Inn on the Green
27925 Golf Pointe Blvd.
Call: (248) 994-1111
Hours: Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tues.-Fri., dinner 4-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 4-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 4-9 p.m. Sun. Closed Mon.
Prices: Lunch appetizers $7-$24, entrees, including pasta and soup or salad, $18-$42, pastas $16-$22, including soup or salad; dinner appetizers $10-$30, entrees, including soup or salad and potato and vegetable, $21-$69, pastas, including soup or salad, $16-$30, desserts $4-$12.
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: Moderate
Parking: Valet or self
Wheelchair access: No barriers
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good
★★1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent
★★★★ — outstanding