Downtown grill packs on the toppings


Cali Street Grill, a newcomer to the downtown restaurant scene located at 36 N. California St., opened in July boasting a menu ranging from ribs to deep-fried Twinkies.

The main dishes, advertised both on the menu and on the restaurant’s window, are the Cali Cheese Steak sandwich and the Cali Stuffed Big Dog.

Both deserve special attention.

The Cali Cheese Steak consists of tender, juicy sirloin topped with onions, bell peppers, and cheese, with spicy peppers available as an option.
The basic sandwich is sweet and juicy, but the addition of spicy peppers lends a serious bite to the otherwise tame dish. The cheese then becomes an important part of the meal, providing relief from the burn of the peppers.

The Cali Stuffed Big Dog, on the other hand, is simply full of rich flavor.

A beef hot dog or Polish sausage, combined with bell peppers, onions, potatoes and cheddar cheese, all stuffed inside a bread pocket, the Big Dog is full of a variety of rich, hearty flavors. It’s a little spicy, but the bite is almost unnoticeable next to the richness of the potatoes and the subtle sweetness of the bread.

The Cali Stuffed Chicken Sandwich is also delicious. Based on the same principles as the Big Dog, it shares many of the same ingredients, simply substituting an excellently grilled, soft and moist chicken breast for the hot dog. Unlike the Big Dog, there is no spice to this sandwich, although a spicy variant is available at no extra cost.

All of the above entrees come with a basket of fries that are, refreshingly, not covered in grease.

The dessert options, displayed rather prominently on the menu, are a rather daunting concept.

Deep-fried Twinkies or Snickers bars topped with sugar, caramel, chocolate or berries are available. Both options are delicious, almost overpoweringly sweet, and very frightening.

While worth a try, they are not recommended for more than occasional enjoyment.

Service was average. Some order details needed to be repeated several times, but the meals came out correctly.

The staff is also very friendly and courteous.