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Cowtippers: Still the place to meet for meat 

The smell of grilled steaks sears into the air and the porch at Cowtippers, an institution in Midtown for more than a decade.

Grub and gossip: Cowtippers still provides a pleasant combination of ease with an edge. The same retro disco plays on the stereo, and it's always happy hour for someone at the bar, where people belly up for fishbowl margaritas (there are 25 different types) or $6 Smirnoff martinis. But a new attraction for business folk and the everyman includes $5 lunch specials and weeknight specials for $10 or less.

Lunch punch: Before 4 p.m. on weekdays and all day long on Mondays, diners can order one of the restaurant's gigantic black Angus beef burgers plus a side for only $5. I was delighted to find I could still order a quality burger with a side of sauteed mushrooms for far less than comparable fast-food fare. A friend in the mood for a lighter lunch ordered a grilled beef tenderloin pita platter. Two pitas were stuffed full of tender steak kabobs, feta cheese and cucumber sour cream. Her accompanying side salad was exceptional -- a plentiful mix of greens topped with fresh grated cheese and miniature flash-fried onions. For $10.95, the pita plate provided a full meal with enough leftovers for dinner.

Other lunch specials include a sun-dried-tomato hummus platter, Cajun chicken pasta, Southern fried-chicken salad and a Southwestern chicken wrap (all $5). Dinner specials include the aforementioned $5 burgers on Mondays, $10 steaks on Tuesdays, free kids' meals on Wednesdays and $10 seafood on Thursdays.

More than meat: Regular-priced favorites are also reasonable. Of course, the steaks are the most popular entrees. An 8-ounce filet with a side is $17.95. The BBQ salmon is always a good deal at $11.95 and is delicately cooked, brushed with Asian sauce and topped with mango salsa. Fried shrimp, homemade meatloaf, rib, chicken and pasta dishes make this more than just a steakhouse. The service is attentive and well-accessorized to boot, and then there are those disco tunes playing in the background. Where else can you eat to that beat?

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