by Kat Robinson
I've been watching with interest for the opening of Khalil's Pub and Grill, the eatery going into the spot left vacant by the closing of the venerable Julie's last year. After all, with a name like Khalil's, no telling what sort of food they offer.
Well, it's an eclectic mix, that's for sure. Menu options range from pub grub (Beer Battered Fish & Chips for $7.75) to German (Saurbraten for $12.85 or Bierocks for $5.95), Tex Mex (Baja Chicken Salad, Chicken Nachos, Quesadillas), Cajun (Shrimp Po'Boys and Crab Cakes), and Greek-esque (Gada Eata Chicken Pita). I'll share what I chose, on the jump.Tried the Prime Rib of Beef Sandwich ($7.95) and was pleasantly satisfied with butter soft beef, creamy Provolone and sweet grilled red onions on a rather plump roll that soaked up all that juice. The stoned ground mustard was even good on it, though I'm not a big mustard fan.
The surprise for me, though -- good mashed potatoes and gravy. I know, starch and fat, how cruel and horrible, eh? No. Not at all. The potatoes were rich, slightly skin on endeavors that were topped with this really really good gravy with a tinge of ale to it. I'm tellin' ya, comfort food above envy or reproach.
Crazy thing is, whole time I was there, the non-smoking dining area was vacant. That "Under 21" sign out front probably has folks convinced it's a smokers' only facility (like so many of the other eateries that have chosen to allow smoking). Fortunately, Khalil's has ample smoke-free seating, though if you want to sit at the bar you'll have to brave the fumes in the cordoned off "sports bar" section.
And good news for Julie's fans who frequented the place for years... the new owners kept the semi-circular booths.
It'll be interesting to see what happens with this place. For those who need directions, look for the green sign on the west side of Shackleford just south of Markham. (501) 224-0224. Opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 2am (and there you go -- another place to dine after 10pm).