Sunday, Dec 11, 2016
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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Memphis Pearl: New Sylvania roadhouse gets it mostly right

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    Chicken alfredo

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    Broiled orange roughy

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    Half rack of Smokey Mountain rub BBQ ribs

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    Harvest salad

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Chicken alfredo

The Blade
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Memphis-Pearl-Restaurant

Broiled orange roughy

The Blade
Enlarge | Buy This Image

A pleasant roadhouse cooking American standards, the new Memphis Pearl in Sylvania is based on the playbook of its sister South Toledo eatery.

If you've been to the Black Pearl across from the Stranahan Theater, you'll get the gist, but the Sylvania menu is larger with more meat (four steaks, two ribs) and seafood, and 10 craft beers. There are 10 sandwiches ($8.99 to $11.99), six pastas ($13.99 to $16.99), and six salads ($9.99 to $13.99).

RELATED CONTENT: Click to see more of The Blade's restaurant reviews

Memphis Pearl (download menu)
★ ★ ★
Address: 5147 Main St., Sylvania
Phone: 419-517-2199.
Category: Business casual.
Menu: American.
Hours: 3:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 3:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$-$$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Website: memphispearl.com.

Open for dinner six days a week and lunch on Sunday, it inhabits what was briefly B Gump's and previously it was SouthBriar and Someplace Else. The new palette is pale turquoise with soft lighting and framed photos of River City landmarks.

First, the swimmers.

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Half rack of Smokey Mountain rub BBQ ribs

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Salmon ($18.99) was a delicious rectangle. Orange roughy ($17.99), white, soft, and with extraordinarily mild flavor, has fallen off most menus in the last few decades due to overfishing. Even grilled with requested extra garlic and lemon, it still has little flavor. Both salmon and orange roughy are $1 more than at Black Pearl. Seven good-sized scallops ($18.99) were meaty and delicious in a buttery sauce.

Tender ribs had a respectable homemade sauce (five ribs in the half-rack, $15.99).

But the signature dish disappointed. The Memphis Pearl, 8 ounces of Angus prime sirloin ($19.99), arrived rare but medium rare had been ordered; it required more mastication than it should have. The rub was appreciated and its playmates were lovely — bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Chicken alfredo ($14.99) was a rich, creamy sauce over two large, pounded chicken breast medallions that were slightly crisp.

A deep-fried something is occasionally irresistible, and a shared appetizer is a good way to go. Little rounds of calamari ($8.99) were coated in spiced breading, served with a zippy sauce, and large enough for four to share.

Served with entrees are generous salads including spinach and Caesar. Sweet potato fries are delish but the rum/butter dip that came with was painfully sweet. Spinach and asparagus are almost universally grilled or sauteed at restaurants, but the kitchen (not swamped on either visit) complied with requests to steam them. The baby asparagus were, however, overcooked.

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Harvest salad

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A basket of hot rolls and butter is yummy, though served too late on one occasion.

Creme brulee is homemade and good with a thicker than usual glaze and it was cool. Better was the devilish four-layer mousse cake (both $5.99).

Vegetarians, there's little here for you, save a salad with walnuts and dried berries.

What I'd like to try is something the manager/chef developed: spaghetti with homemade meatballs, barbecue sauce, onions, and peppers ($13.99).

Notes: A 3:30 to 6 p.m. daily happy hour provides a discount on one's beverage, not a two-for-one. Service was fine; noise level modest; the black rug, a difficult color, in the women's room needed a sweeping. There's also a 145-seat banquet room.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com.

Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.

Click here to read more Blade restaurant reviews.

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