New York Strip steak with breaded shrimp ($23.99) at Ahmed's Steakhouse.
Where some restaurants try to entice customers by attempting to appear upscale or sophisticated, Ahmed’s Steakhouse wins you over with the genuine feel of small town eatery you didn’t know you missed until you stepped through the doors.
Nestled among apartments and other businesses on West Alexis Road, the restaurant is decorated in a warm, comfortable manner with a light touch of oldies music playing throughout. Like the decor, this isn’t a place for frilly dish adornments, but all the food comes out fresh. And, as my grandfather would say, “If you leave hungry, it’s your fault.”
Seated in perfect dim lighting with an atmosphere that welcomes talk and laughter, our group started with a light appetizer of a half-pound of onion rings ($5.99), which is a terrific low-cost option for those like me with small children. Our waitress wasted no time bringing the onion rings out. Again, nothing frilly, but they were perfect.
★ ★ ★ ★½
Address: 1923 West Alexis Rd.
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Average price: $$
Credit Cards: MC, V, D
However, no one comes to a steakhouse for onion rings. This writer then got to the meat of the matter — ordering the New York Strip steak ($23.99) with a side of breaded shrimp and mixed veggies. I ordered the steak cooked medium, curious to see if the chef would over or under cook it. Anyone who has grilled steak trying to get that even amount of pink all the way through the middle knows it's not always easy.
But our chef was no amateur. The New York Strip was perfectly pink throughout. The steak's juicy, delicious flavor also wasn't encumbered by a lot of seasoning. I couldn't tell if the chef used much, if any. Its taste stood alone, without the need for any sauce.
I managed to look up from my meal long enough to see others in our party enjoying their meals as well. Another in our party opted for one of the burgers (a steal at $6.99). These are the “choose your own adventure” type of burgers where the restaurant gives you a large piece of fresh ground beef and you pick what goes on top — with the choice of a side. As with the steak, the burger was cooked medium to perfection.
The two children, meanwhile, were fed for only $4.99 each with good sized chicken fingers and fries, despite my attempts to have them try steak or seafood. Some things are just too good for kids, anyway.
One surprise at our table was an order of a double chicken kabob served with cooked veggies and rice ($13.99). Thinking it was going to be a small serving of chicken and veggies skewered on a stick, we were all amazed to see huge, juicy chunks of chicken. It was a meal that, while delicious, could not be finished and had to be taken home.
To top everything off, we ordered brownie a la mode ($7) for dessert. It was a good choice; the only caveat being that it would have been better had the brownie been heated with the ice cream then placed on top. Ask the server to do this when ordering.
On our second trip, I decided to see if the chef would be consistent with the steaks by ordering the center-cut sirloin ($15.99) while my companion ordered the Delmonico ribeye ($17.99). Both were cooked perfectly, as well as two more burgers.
For those who don’t care for red meat or chicken, our party also ordered the broiled tilapia ($10.99), which was tasty and filling.
The kids again opted for the brownie and ice cream for dessert, but the better option was what the adults ordered: the chocolate cake ($7). It was just the right amount of fluffy moistness complemented by the rich chocolate taste. It can’t be eaten without making a sound of enjoyment.
Bottom line: Ahmed’s Steakhouse might be the best small-town secret in Toledo, a place where the wait staff treat you like family and the steaks stand on their own.
Contact Bill of Fare at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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