When one walks through the doors of Beef and Barley American Kitchen, the aroma of fresh-baked yeast dinner rolls is irresistible. Immediately apparent is the attention to detail given to the new eatery’s layout, design and lighting. Before opening the Flint Township restaurant in December, co-owners Najib Saab and Ghassan Saab planned out every element in order to provide the ultimate dining experience.
The word kitchen was included in the name because the food served there is made from scratch, which has helped it become popular. “People really love the food and the atmosphere!” Ghassan exclaimed. “All of our food is made in-house using fresh ingredients and local products.” And how can one not love this new bistro that serves shareable appetizers like Beef Tip-Smothered Fries, and a crispy Avocado Egg Roll stuffed with fresh avocado, sun dried tomatoes, red onions and cilantro, served with a green chili sauce? The co-owners take pride in having an exceptionally capable kitchen staff that prepares these culinary delights. “We have a team of talented chefs,” boasts Najib, “and over 30 staff members who are trained to provide a fine-dining experience.” Najib describes the restaurant theme as “upscale casual.” The goal, he explained, “is to offer a fine-dining experience for the Average Joe.”
Since the restaurant’s opening, the menu has been tweaked based on customer feedback. And both owners take time every day to chat with diners. “People are happily surprised when we take the time to talk to them,” says Najib. “We take criticism and make changes to accommodate our customers.” From those suggestions, Beef and Barley recently introduced Happy Hour from 3 to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, during which time they offer drink specials, Buy One/Get One Free Appetizers and $5 Deep Dish Pizzas. They also created a new lunch menu, which includes three daily specials.
Of course, a restaurant called Beef and Barley serves its own delicious, homemade version of the hearty soup, and Ghassan says it is hands-down a customer favorite. But the soup isn’t what inspired the establishment’s name. “It had nothing to do with the soup,” laughs Najib. “‘Beef’ refers to the high-quality steaks we serve and ‘Barley’ is about the beer!” In the bar, there are 15 Michigan craft beers on tap, and the restaurant also boasts an extensive, hand-selected international wine list. “This is not your everyday wine,” says Ghassan, adding that their list includes labels from Chile, New Zealand, Lebanon and Northern Michigan, to name a few. “But we also made a very strong effort to be price conscious,” he added.
Ghassan says at least half of the dishes on the menu have been suggested by their customers. Popular entrées include Chicken and Waffles: made-to-order scallion and bacon Belgian waffles topped with hand-dipped, crispy fried chicken breast served with bacon-infused maple syrup; Soy Ginger Glazed Ahi Tuna, Chicken Cordon Bleu Marinara and an Eggplant Napoleon, comprised of layers of grilled eggplant, sautéed Roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella baked to perfection and finished with a drizzle of pesto. Hot off the grill are Tenderloin Medallions, Filet Mignon, Balsamic Glazed Grilled Shrimp and New York Strip. Other favorites include Build Your Own Burger, Deep Dish Pizzas and a variety of pasta dishes, including Butter Poached Lobster Linguine and Chicken and Artichoke.
When you’re out to dinner, have you ever been tempted to eat dessert first? If that’s the case, Beef and Barley is the place for you, with their newest creation: Peanut Butter Cup. This decadent treat served in a coffee mug is made with an Oreo cookie base filled with peanut butter mousse and peanut butter crumble, and topped with chocolate ganache and peanut brittle. Another favorite is Cookies and Cream – your choice of an oversized chocolate chip, peanut butter, red velvet or sugar cookie, slightly under-baked-to-order, topped with vanilla or chocolate ice cream. A popular Dessert Beverage created for the 21-and-over crowd is the Bushwhacker Shake – vanilla ice cream expertly blended with absinthe, Kahlua, Crème de Cocoa and Godiva chocolate liquor.
The co-owners are also proud to offer a banquet room that is available for corporate events, birthday parties, bridal showers and other gatherings. But the main emphasis at Beef and Barley American Kitchen is the freshly prepared, high-quality food. “We designed the restaurant with that in mind,” Najib says. “It’s about the dining experience and it’s the closest you can get to home cooking without doing it yourself.”
PHOTOS BY MIKE NADDEO