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Mrs. Brown's Kitchen and Grill

Southwestern salad is served in a tortilla bowl

Southwestern salad is served in a tortilla bowl at Mrs. Brown's Kitchen and Grill in Kings Park. (Feb. 5, 2011) Photo Credit: John Griffin

In a renovation worthy of HGTV, the owners of this friendly new diner have managed to transform a dreary dive into a sleek, attractive eatery. Capacious booths are covered in a leather-like fabric the color of Bartlett pears; the seating, like the food, is all about comfort.

Recently, executive chef Yolanda Berry added dinner to what used to be a breakfast- and-lunch-only repertoire. Smart move.

KITCHEN KARMA

Early in the day, I order a Western omelet. It's fluffy and light, served with crisp, oniony home-fried potatoes. Better still is the zesty buon appetito omelet made with pepper jack cheese, green olives, potatoes, onions and peppers, fresh salsa on the side.

An afternoon meal kicks off with a bowl of chili, which, while not fiery, has depth. And I like the dill overtones in the homey chicken soup. One time, a veritable holiday on grilled rye is the "everyday's Thanksgiving" sandwich featuring turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo. A nontraditional (but very good) Cubano (pork, ham, Swiss, pickles and multigrain mustard) comes grilled on a club roll. I savor the smoky juices oozing from a well-crusted burger that's perfectly medium-rare. Crisp, toasty hand-cut fries have that real potato taste and are totally habit forming.

In the evening, Southern fried chicken, although made from a very small bird, is crisp, moist, delectable, served with skin-on mashed potatoes. Other comforts: bacon-draped meat loaf, tender marinated sliced skirt steak and a moist double thick boneless pork chop with cornbread stuffing and gravy.

Nothing short of sumptuous are the creamy rice pudding and cinnamon-y bread pudding.

GRILL GAFFES

Inconsistency can be a problem. Pancakes and French toast are dry, flavorless. The " Oklahoma" burger (with caramelized onions), ordered medium, ends up incinerated. And that amazing "everyday's Thanksgiving" sandwich, on a revisit, is sloppily composed, featuring turkey that's been browned on the griddle. What gives?

BOTTOM LINE

Prices are gentle and you can save money by bringing your own wine at dinner.

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