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Come hungry to Syros

by jmaloni
Sat, Jan 15th 2011 07:45 am
Syros Family Restaurant.
Syros Family Restaurant.

by Joshua Maloni

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and perhaps that's true. But it's also fair to say it's the easiest meal to miss, especially when one is rushing out to get to work on time (or at least fashionably late).

The "meal" is more often a quick bowl of cereal - if we're lucky - or whatever snack pack we can grab as we take the keys and go. If we're being honest, the "most important meal" is really not a meal at all.

When Syros opened in 2008, a large part of its appeal was the owners' intent on making it a place where one could, in fact, find an actual breakfast meal. At that time, the restaurant's breakfast options were quite substantial and generally of good quality.

Last year, the restaurant was sold and a new owner elected to minimize the menu. The thought, he said, was to concentrate on more popular dishes - to master the ingredients and presentation - and not get bogged down with too many superfluous recipes.

Interestingly, as the menu shrank, the portions began to grow. Today, this writer's two preferred breakfast options at Syros are both ginormous: two eggs with meat (bacon, sausage or ham), home fries and toast ($4.99 as a 7-11 a.m. "Sunrise Special"); and the 7-ounce N.Y. strip steak with eggs, home fries and toast ($8.99).

On Saturdays, these dishes become the most important meal of the day for me - and the most enjoyable. As I partake of a sizeable collection of fluffy eggs, ample sausage or steak, a boatload of seasoned fries and toasted Italian bread, I sort of understand breakfast's potential.

While Syros' daybreak fare was pared-down, the diner still offers a large selection of early-morning items. Other breakfast options include huevos rancheros ($5.99 for two eggs topped with salsa and monterey jack cheese; $6.99 with a side of meat); saganaki ($5.99 for mixed eggs, fries, peppers and onions); french toast and pancakes (each $4.99, or $5.99 when served with a choice of meat).

Of course, man cannot live on breakfast alone. And, if we're being honest, lunch is oftentimes the highlight meal of the workday - especially when it's an opportunity to get out of the office.

Lewiston has several tried and true mid-day eateries. I was curious to see just what Syros had to offer the post-"The Price is Right" crowd.

We all know the Village of Lewiston could pride itself on it sandwich selections - which include everything from The Silo's steak and potato crisp "Haystack" to Apple Granny's bacon cheeseburger to Water Street Landing's "Sloppy José," a gourmet "Sloppy Joe."

Syros, I'm pleased to write, has something that could easily enter Lewiston's pantheon of great grinders. The restaurant has a superstar sandwich available for lunch and dinner.

And it's ... a patty melt ($6.99).

No, really.

The restaurant chefs take a juicy, third-pound beef patty and cover it with perfectly caramelized onions and gooey, gooey American cheese. The tender, savory beef and oozing toppings are delightfully balanced by two pieces of big, crunchy toast (traditional rye, white or wheat).

It's so good.

Syros is also a great place for fish (including the $12.99 "Captain's Platter" of haddock, fried shrimp and breaded scallops), and offers surprisingly good, flavorfully layered lasagna ($9.99).

A Greek-American restaurant, Syros offers Mediterranean specialties such as moussaka (baked layers of roasted eggplant, zucchini, potatoes and meat sauce covered in a béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese for $10.99); spanakopita (spinach pie served with Greek potato, Greek salad and pita bread for $11.99, or $2 more when stuffed with chicken or shrimp); and tzatziki (yogurt blended with cucumber, garlic and fresh herbs, and accompanied by warm pita bread for $4.59).

Syros Family Restaurant is located at 869 Cayuga St., directly behind Academy Park. The diner is open seven days a week. For more information, call 754-1900.

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