Zeeland offers vintage home cooking

Zeeland Street Market on Perkins Road has all the look, feel and tastes of a comfortable, neighborhood restaurant.

The owners make the most of their large space, with plenty of comfortable booths and large tables.

It was a busy place on a recent weekday lunchtime, and first-timers walking in may feel a bit confused about how to proceed, but it’s simple.

Pick up a menu off the counter and/or study the white boards on the wall listing the lunch specials of the day, give your order at the counter and listen for your name when it’s ready.

On the printed lunch menu are sandwiches, po-boys, burgers, salads and the unusual category of “hashbrowns,” as in spicy hashbrowns, bacon cheese hashbrowns and four other delicious-sounding variations of the potato dish, which also appear on Zeeland’s breakfast menu.

Lunch specials posted on the wall this day included a vegetable plate, spaghetti, country-fried steak, a pepper-seared tuna salad plate and grilled black drum.

We chose two other of the specials, “Mama’s pot roast lunch” ($8.99) and the white beans special ($8.99), two undeniable comfort-food attractions.

The lean chuck roast was tender, the brown gravy was of a good, medium thickness, with a nice homemade flavor, decided the guest who chose it. The accompanying mashed potatoes were fluffy and delicious, especially with more of the gravy. A side salad offered leaf lettuce tossed with tomatoes, carrots, yellow squash, broccoli and purple cabbage, all quite fresh. A choice of dressings, served in plastic containers, was available at the counter.

A cornbread muffin was a nice complement to the down home meal. Only the side dish of green beans was pronounced bland and a little disappointing.

Another guest considered the white beans “vintage home cooking,” seasoned just right, not too salty and not too heavy for lunch.

A sweet potato souffle served alongside the white beans was a pleasant treat, nicely blended and not too sweet.

The lunch also came with salad and cornbread.

A third entrée, the “Tyrone” specialty sandwich ($6.99), was delicious and filling, with turkey, sprouts and tomato and the extra things we like, like avocado and cucumbers, topped with ranch dressing and served on whole wheat.

The sandwich can also be ordered as a po-boy for $8.99.

For dessert, we made our way back up to the counter, where one could pick up saucers of generous servings of bread pudding ($2.50), served with a sweet, creamy sauce on the side. We asked for it in to-go boxes and learned later that the bread pudding was moist, with an almost gingerbread-like consistency and was especially good warmed up in the microwave.

The breakfast menu has lots to choose from — breakfast specials for the roaring to the dainty appetites; omelettes, pancakes and the hashbrowns.

A feature of Zeeland’s is the original art on the wall, and on our visit we enjoyed seeing the work of Louisiana artist J. Caroline Youngblood, who works pages of magazines and newspapers into her oil paintings of people, captured in everyday scenes but with a powerful presence.