Review by Scott Cherry Photos by Matt Barnard

Steak & Bake has been around for 20 years, but unless you happened across it in the Promenade mall food court or saw its food truck at a special event, you never knew it existed.

That changed recently when owner Ali Sabbagh opened a Steak & Bake location at 101st Street and Sheridan Road.

“I always wanted a restaurant outside the mall,” Sabbagh said recently. “Malls, in general, are not like they used to be, and I felt we needed to expand.”

Many will remember the space as Fast Eddie’s Burgers, which operated for some 33 years.

“I knew the owner, and he was ready to do something else,” Sabbagh said. “We took two-and-a-half months to remodel it into a Steak & Bake.”

He said the menu at the restaurant has a little more variety than the spot in the mall but is basically the same.

It features a selection of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, gyro sandwiches, burgers, chili, chicken sandwiches and wings, loaded baked potatoes, salads and a few dinners, such as chicken-fried steak and chicken strips.

The Philly cheesesteak (6-inch $5.99, 12-inch $9.99) is the signature dish, and it was a good one. It was loaded with thin, hand-cut steak with onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and Swiss cheese, with the flavor of the peppers sneaking through the other ingredients.

I’m not so sure, however, I didn’t like the gyros sandwich even better. Again, it had a generous amount of gyros meat (beef-lamb mix) stacked with lettuce, tomato and tzatziki sauce (yogurt, cucumber and seasonings). You are going to want to order additional tzatziki sauce, which was quite tasty, and keep spooning it on with this one.

A grilled chicken dinner ($9.99) came with two large servings of chicken. We added a topping of sautéed mushrooms, which was a good idea because the chicken was just a tad dry without them.

The dinner came with a choice of two sides, and we ordered mashed potatoes and gravy and hummus. The gravy and hummus were pretty salty.

A bowl of chili ($4.99) hit the spot on a chilly night. Sabbagh, a native of Lebanon, said he never had chili before he came to the U.S. and loved it at first bite.

“I just had to learn to make it for myself,” he said.

The Steak & Bake chili was meaty and mild, and it was made even better with a layer of melted cheddar across the top.

Sabbagh has just started offering a Mediterranean platter (one-meat $10.99, two-meat $12.99) as a Friday special. I got some bites of it at the photo shoot, and I liked the tightly rolled cabbage roll and beef kabob the best.

The platter also included the aforementioned hummus, along with tabouli that was heavy on parsley, roasted tomatoes, pita bread, gyro meat and moist saffron rice. I would go back on a Friday for this platter.

Don’t overlook the fruit tarts ($2.99 each) in the dessert section. Sabbagh’s wife, Farrah, makes the bright, colorful tarts with a variety of fruits, including strawberries, kiwi and pineapple. The fruits sit on a vanilla pudding inside a flaky crust.

Sabbagh’s sister, Fatima Sabbagh, also cooks some of the menu items and helps with general duties in the restaurant.

“My sister is the reason I came to Tulsa,” Sabbagh said. “She came over here first and talked us into joining her.”

A children’s menu includes a cheeseburger, chicken strips, grilled cheese sandwich and hot dog for $4.99 each.

Sabbagh said he will continue to operate the Promenade location. He said the food truck is used primarily for catering and special events.

Steak & Bake has eight booths and four tables. A large, lighted menu fills most of one wall. A television on one wall was tuned to the local news when we were there.

“We currently are staying open until 8 p.m., but I think we probably will stay open longer in the spring and summer,” Sabbagh said.

“Just check our Facebook for any changes.”

Twitter:

@ScottCherryTW

Scott Cherry

918-581-8463

scott.cherry@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @ScottCherryTW

Scene Writer

Scott is in his second tour of duty with the Tulsa World. He was a sports writer during his first stop. Since returning to the World in 1992, he has been the food writer and now restaurant critic and wine columnist. Phone: 918-581-8463