ALEX AND AN I
Steven Lelli's Inn On The Green
SIGNATURE EXPANDABLE WIRE BANGLES
rank Sinatra serenaded me.
Or so it seemed, with the
incomparable crooner's record-
ings providing a soundtrack for my
recent visit to Steven Lelli's Inn on the
Green. 01' Blue Eyes would have felt
relaxed dining and imbibing at this classi-
cally appointed restaurant in Farmington
Hills, situated at Copper Creek Golf
Course. I appreciated the
view from the fern-filled ter-
race, offering various config-
urations of cushioned seating
on brown outdoor wicker.
This newest incarnation
of historic Lelli's Restaurant
opened in November 2010.
Business partners and life-
long friends Mark Zarkin
and Lelli ably captured or
reinterpreted the elements
that made the original res-
taurant so popular. For some
60 years, Lelli's grandparents,
Nerio and Irene Lelli, operated their eat-
ery on Woodward at Bethune in today's
The partners began by honoring the
Lelli's slogan: "Food is king since 1939:'
Inn on the Green is a haven for well-
prepared, tender steaks and chops as well
as other staples of Italian and American
cuisine. Eating like this never really goes
out of style.
Sinatra kept me company over dinner
in the rustic Red Room, which has tradi-
tional stucco walls, old menus and strings
of lights. The Champagne and Wine
rooms are fancier semi-private spaces for
In all parts of the restaurant, sleek black
leather covers high-back upholstered
chairs and tufted banquettes. Table cover-
ings are black over white, with the Lelli's
name imprinted on the crown of folded
white cloth napkins. Two chandeliers
illuminate an arm of the main dining
room while the center section features a
larger cut-crystal chandelier. Providing
more drama are red lights outlining the
double-recessed ceiling square where the
chandelier is attached, with more red in
floor-length velvet drapes against the back
wall. Framed vintage photos of the Lelli
family and celebrities, memorabilia and
understated art are also displayed.
The sprawling bar off the main din-
ing room is underlit with green. A pri-
vate table marked "reserved" features a
pull-around, sheer black curtain.
Zarkin said Inn on the Green serves
award-winning wines from around the
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2ND FLOOR I NEAR CENTER COURT
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POSITIVELY AUTHORIZED RETAILER
September 5 • 2013
world. "And we have the best Scotch list
in the country ' he said. "No one else has
anything like it:'
Breadsticks and a great twisted garlic
roll came in a basket. Bypassing an appe-
tizer for the first course (calamari is very
popular), I had the 1939-era Lelli's salad
with house-made, creamy vinaigrette —
an original recipe.
At Zarkin's recommenda-
tion, I chose "our famous, 100
percent vegetarian minestrone
soup:' Different than others I've
tried, this minestrone is not
tomato-based. Instead, the deli-
cate soup is light-colored and
thick with minced vegetables
and tiny pasta.
Next up was house specialty
Spaghetti Bolognese. Its excep-
tionally meaty sauce comes
from prime tenderloin meat-
balls. The menu offers numer-
ous pasta and sauce options.
My filet mignon proved pleasingly
pink inside. Medium, as ordered. It came
plated with fresh green beans and twice-
baked mashed potatoes with Parmesan
crust. Everything was delicious. Veal
and lamb chops and customer favorite
Chateaubriand are other meat choices.
Zip sauce, a Lelli's secret recipe, is among
six available toppings.
Filet mignon combines with grilled
asparagus, lump crab meat and Bearnaise
sauce for Filet Oscar. Pan-fried salmon
and scallops are strictly seafood choices.
For the sake of research, I had spumoni:
distinct layers of chocolate, vanilla and
pistachio ice cream with bits of nuts and
fruit. Zarkin said favorite desserts include
carrot cake and bananas Foster, flambeed
at tableside — "everyone loves them:'
A six-course meal, including antipasto
tray, costs $10 above the regular entree
price. The "light side" option consists of
entree, vegetable accompaniments and
soup or salad.
Lunch service begins at 11 a.m.
Tuesday-Friday, but dinner only on
weekends starting at 4 p.m. The formally
dressed waiters providing great service
include Sandy Tenenbaum, who has
worked 33 years for the Lelli family.
Steven Lelli's Inn on the Green
27925 Golf Pointe Blvd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48331
$$$ out of $$$$$