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Published: Thursday, 6/14/2007

Restaurant review: Sammy's Restaurant & Lounge ***

"This is going to be the best meat loaf sandwich you've ever had," the owner of Sammy's Restaurant & Lounge at West Central Avenue and Centennial Road announced confidently as he headed for the kitchen to create the promised masterpiece.

The sandwich turned out to be somewhat less grand than I anticipated, but it was definitely above average - a thick slice of juicy homemade meat loaf served on grilled rye bread with a side of four potato "logs," so-called because of their sequoia-like size and intense potato flavor.

Sam Khalil, the proprietor, is slowly spreading his wings with the purchase of two other restaurants, the White Tower on Sylvania Avenue in West Toledo two years ago, and Sammy's Too, the former Albon Inn Again on Airport Highway in Holland, which is due to open any day now.

The original Sammy's is a modestly appointed eatery with a bar, a couple of dining areas, rather too-bright lighting, a patio, reasonable prices, and a good-sized menu with a dozen categories, from appetizers to desserts. Included are a full page of sandwiches, 30 dinners with fixings, and several Mediterranean entrees and salads.

Our lunch starters were cups of meaty ham gumbo ($1.50/$2.25) and chili ($1.95/$2.95), followed by a dandy gyro salad ($4.25/$5.95) loaded with vegetables, cheese, and strips of grilled lamb and beef gyro meat. The meat loaf sandwich ($3.99) was, as mentioned, good enough to order again.

We would also return for the chili mac ($6.99), one of six pasta entrees, which came with a choice of sides and thick garlic bread. Dinner one evening brought a fairly digestible 10-ounce filet mignon, a bargain at $13.99 including two sides. Another of our choices was a humdrum entre of three deep-fried lake perch pieces ($12.99) that suffered from too-thick breading.

One menu item I couldn't resist ordering should have carried a surgeon general's warning. It was the monster BLT ($5.99), which combined lettuce and tomato with a pound - one pound! - of bacon. A week later, my guilt is surpassed only by the full sensation that lingers still. Consider yourself apprised.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com

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