Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Michael’s Italian Restaurant – Niagara Falls, NY

When my friend MO, who now lives in Niagara Falls, discovered she was going to be out of town the weekend I was in Niagara Falls, she redeemed herself by sending me a list of 15-20 restaurants I should eat at. MO has never steered me wrong when it comes to food, so I truest her judgment - we ate some mind-blowing food in Sicily when I went to visit her in 2009. THIS recommendation was a little weird, I must confess.

She told me to go to Michael’s (an Italian restaurant) and order the Greek Wings. Really, MO? Is this is a trick?

A talked DorkyBarb into going with me and we drove to Little Italy. It’s true. There is a Little Italy in Niagara Falls, NY. We found the place pretty easily, as it’s on a main thoroughfare.

When we got inside, we realized we were the youngest people there, by about 40 years. It’s got a family diner sort of feel to it that had my suspicions on edge. But I owed it to MO to follow through with it. I was suspicious this was even the right Michael’s since nothing about it looked Greek NOR Italian.

They did, however, have Greek wings on the menu. We ordered those while we determined what to order for lunch. I’m a major fan of calzones, so I opted for a sausage calzone. DorkyBarb went traditional Italian and got a pepperoni pizza. They brought out some nice Italian bread for us, which was pretty tasty. Can’t complain about that.

We had stalled long enough for the Greek wings to arrive. They looked pretty unsuspecting upon first look. It looked like they had put some crumbly cheese on some regular wings and put a bowl of tzatziki sauce with it. We were only partially right. …and VERY wrong about how good they were. They were absolutely delicious. I’m not sure what sauce was on the chicken itself, but it was fantastic. The feta cheese they had crumbled on it had a great flavor to it and was just at the edge of being melty. Then the dip was a sort of special blue cheese sauce that tasted like it was made with greek yogurt. Just the right amount of awesome sour to complement the tang of the blue cheese. DorkBarb and I had to control ourselves from fighting over these wings. It wasn’t easy. We polished these suckers off REALLY quickly and almost ordered more. Thank you for the recommendation, MO. I will never doubt you again (at least for a month or two).

The pizza and calzone came out as we finished up our wings. The pizza was pretty standard size (large standard size). It was also standard tasting. Just a little bit greasier than I usually like, and surprisingly thicker than I’m used to for NY-style pizza. I’m a big fan of floppy NY pizza that you can fold up and wolf down. This was a little more thick and bready than I expected it to be. It was a decent pizza, though. No complaints on it. Just average, sadly.
The calzone, on the other hand, was serious. Dead serious. In the photo, it’s a platter it’s sitting on, not a plate. It covers the whole thing. Thankfully, it was also delicious. The crust was better than most calzones I’ve had (I’ve had a LOT of calzones) and didn’t taste like a Pizza Hut P’Zone, thankfully. There was a LOT of mozzarella and ricotta inside and a generous helping of crumbled Italian sausage on the inside. They didn’t skimp on the ingredients. The thing was massive and about 2 inches thick. In fact, I could only eat half of the thing before I was stuffed. I’m usually a contender when it comes to eating, but I had to take the other half home and eat it the next morning for breakfast. It even re-heated well, which was nice.

I’m a fan of Michael’s. I’d highly recommend the Greek wings and the calzone. They appear to be known for many “famous” items on their menu, but they’re weird things like chef salads and pasta and spaghetti sauce. Not sure what makes them famous, but I’ve never heard anyone else talk about them. Now, those Greek wings could put you on the map, Michael. Stick with those!

Top 5 things about Michael’s Italian Restaurant
1. Greek Wings
2. Sausage Calzone
3. Portions are enormous
4. Friendly staff
5. It isn’t expensive

Bottom 5 things
1. Felt REALLY young
2. The American diner-feel was a little odd
3. DorkyBarb was unable to get anything with white sauce aside from chicken alfredo – an adamant NO
4. Wish the pepperoni pizza were better
5. They have weird “famous” things on the menu

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