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Saffron Grill is a "Mediterranean" restaurant, which could mean a lot of different things.

In this case, you're getting some Greek, some Middle Eastern, some Italian and a few nods to local appetites, like hot dogs, fry sauce and lime rickey-flavored gelato.

All in all, it's a good place to stop for reasonably priced, nicely prepared food that is a step away from the usual.

In fact, I ate something at Saffron Grill that I've never eaten before, which doesn't happen a lot these days.

When we visited Saffron Grill for dinner on a recent weeknight, our kids were thrilled that the big-screen TV over the restaurant's corner fireplace was showing one of our favorite shows.

And my picky eater was glad for the hot dog, though the other kids stuck to the "Mediterranean" side of the menu.

Not that that's difficult — the beautifully grilled chicken kabobs with basmati rice and pita wedges were eminently kid-friendly. The more adventurous kids dipped their pitas in the accompanying tzatziki-style yogurt dip with lots of dill, but no one would touch the roasted whole tomato.

I was glad to see them, though: A year living in Great Britain during my college days made me a fan of grilled tomatoes, which are often served there for breakfast, alongside eggs, beans, bacon and British chips. Mmmm.

But I digress. We're talking about the food at Saffron Grill, which also made me say, "Mmmm."

My husband had the mixed kabob plate, one stick of chicken and one of steak, with rice, roasted tomato, pitas, tzatziki and a green salad with a delicious Italian-style dressing.

The chicken, as I've said, was nicely browned and juicy, but the steak was the biggest surprise, mainly for its high quality and lack of gristle, which I couldn't help but expect for the price. It, too, was well seared and moist.

I had the kotlet plate, which at first glance looked like a gyro. But he first taste revealed something similar, but different: the gyro's more tender, mellow cousin. Inside a pita stuffed with lettuce, tomato and tzatziki was a patty of finely ground beef mixed with potato, onion and spices into a sort of Middle Eastern meatloaf.

The meat and spices were the dominant flavors, with the potato providing body and moisture. It was less greasy and more subtly flavored than gyro meat but just as satisfying.

With it I had thick-cut fries sprinkled with lemon pepper, a nice little twist on traditional Mediterranean flavors that really added sparkle to the fries, even when I dipped them in fry sauce.

For dessert we had gelato, picking from the day's selections (which did not include lime rickey; otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to resist it) for cups of Dutch chocolate, pistachio, chocolate almond and peach mango.

There seems to be a slight problem at Saffron Grill with keeping the gelato at a constant temperature. While the selections closest to the front of the case (in its coldest part) were firm, creamy and uniform in texture, those in the back near the doors seemed to have melted a bit on the top and re-frozen, leaving a thin rubbery layer that didn't make for very good eating until we excavated below it.

Having said that, everything we had was excellent, the pistachio earthy and flavored with rosewater, and the peach mango bright and tangy. We also liked the sweet and mellow Dutch chocolate, but our favorite was the chocolate almond, strongly flavored with dark, fruity chocolate and lashings of ground almonds.

Lunch specials $3.95-$6.55, sandwiches $2.95-$5.95, platters $3.95-$12.95, salad and soup $1.99-$2.99, kids' meals $3.95, sides 95 cents-$4.95, gelato and sorbeto $2.49-$4.99.

Stacey Kratz reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.

Saffron Grill

Rating: ★★1/2

Where: 2778 W. 12600 South, Riverton

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Closed Sunday

Payment: Major credit cards accepted; cash preferred

Phone: 801-302-1001

Wheelchair access: Easy

Also: Kids eat free on Tuesdays with adult purchase

e-mail: skratz@desnews.com