Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top. To see previous Bill of Fare reviews on the Web, go to toledoblade.com and type "Bill of Fare" into the search box and click enter.
● Nick & Nino's Coal Fired Pizza & Sports Bar, 391 N. Telegraph Rd., Monroe, is a fun place to grab a pizza — with more than 15 to choose from — and a beer. You can see the pizza makers do their thing in the back of the restaurant, stretching dough and tossing pies. The menu has at least 80 items, so you are bound to find something you like. The ribs and recommended, as well as the never-frozen wings. $$ 3 stars.
● Sundown Cantina, 5680 Mayberry Square North, Sylvania, serves Mexican food with flair. Unique stylistic pairings such as Mexican eggrolls and pot pies sit next to traditional fare like fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos. The family-friendly restaurant isn't afraid to give its food a bit of spicy zing. $$. 3 stars.
● Epic Buffet at Hollywood Casino Toledo,1969 Miami St., is a winning bet, with a wide variety of dishes ranging from good to excellent. There’s Italian and Southern, Asian and meaty, soups and salads, and terrific desserts (don’t miss the bread pudding and creme brulee). On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when people 55 and older who have a Marquee Reward card receive a steep discount, there are long waits for lunch ($$), less so for dinner ($$$). 4 stars.
● Eddie Lee’s, 4700 Nantuckett Dr., is most known for its steaks and seafood, has a rich history, evident by the crowds of loyal customers who pour in and out of the restaurant. The entrees were tasty and the service, even better. Eddie Lee's has an old school flair about it, which its customers seem to enjoy. $$ 3 Stars
● Jominic’s Trattoria, 612 Adams St., is a little slow but it's one of downtown sandwich shops worth visiting if you're shopping local. The Primo sub has it all and the soups are homemade and worth the $3.99 price tag. $ 2 stars.
● Mister Spots, 206 N. Main St., Bowling Green, is a close as it comes in Ohio to authentic Philadelphia Cheese Steaks. The venerable sandwich shop, which is open daily until 2:30 a.m., is also known for its wings. $ 3 stars.
● Georgio’s Cafe International, 426 N. Superior St., is inarguably one of Toledo's best restaurants thanks to its consistency and high standards for fine dining. Fresh seafood offerings are presented daily and often featured with the restaurant's signature sauces. Make sure you save room for the homemade desserts and excellent chicken gumbo or French onion soups. $$$$ 5 stars.
●Irish Eyes Heavenly Pub, 3324 Secor Rd., is a large, open bar with homemade food that’s mostly off the fried/grilled grid, save for burgers and sandwiches. Lamb stew, fish and chips, and sheppards pie are stand outs as are chocolate potato cake and Irish bread-and-butter pudding. Lunch/dinner menu is the same and all meals are $9 or less. $$ 3 stars.
● Toledo Museum Cafe, 2445 Monroe St. Tucked in the museum just inside the Grove Place entrance, the museum's cafe features creative pairings that reward diners who have a sense of adventure. The menu is fairly limited but there are a few masterpieces. The salmon BLT is fantastic and the market salad is an addictive combination of flavors and textures. $$ 3 stars.
● Degage Express, 301 River Rd., Maumee. The lunch version of Degage Jazz Cafe features an expansive menu, laid-back ambiance and intriguing choices. The offerings are heavy on soups and salads, but the servings are large and the restaurant's emphasis on fresh ingredients is evident. We loved the homemade kettle chips, Degage's superb take on chicken salad, and its winning approach to a basic pulled pork sandwich. $$$ 3 stars.
● 5th Street Pub, 105 W. Fifth St., Perrysburg, cites that it is Ohio’s only certified Neapolitan pizzeria and that is good news for northwest Ohio residents. The pub, located near the city’s historic downtown, houses a handmade brick oven imported from Italy, and it is used to make some of the freshest pizzas around. Priced from $9 to $16, the pizzas are sure to attract gourmet food lovers as well as pizza enthusiasts. $$ 5 stars.
● Forrester’s on the River, at The Docks (26 Main St. in the former Navy Bistro), open since late 2012, has a long patio with superb river views of downtown and the setting sun. A sandwich menu for lunch ($5 to $12) covers the basics. Dinner emphasizes steaks ($23 to $33 - the rib-eye oozed with flavor), and six other entrees are $9 to $15. There are a few delights on the menu, including some vegetarian fare. Things weren’t perfect from the kitchen or the service side, but the place is young and the owners know the business. $$ 3 stars.
● DiBenedetto’s Italian Bistro, 121 S. Main St., Bowling Green, is a charming family-owned restaurant that belies its college town surroundings. Highly recommended is the gamberi con aglio featuring fettucine, shrimp, and bacon in a garlic cream sauce. We can also vouch for the seafood dishes, the gnocchi, and the delicious shrimp scampi. $$$ 3 stars.
● 31 Hundred, 3100 Glendale Ave., despite all the changes the hotel has undergone, 31 Hundred, the restaurant inside the Hotel at UTMC hasn't wavered from serving quality dishes. Our favorites included the black pearl pork chop ($22) and the roasted wild salmon ($20). The ghost town atmosphere makes for a lonely dining experience. $$ 3 stars.
● Gradkowski's, 1440 Secor Rd., is a new restaurant on the campus of the University of Toledo that will be a draw for non-student dollars for some time to come. The establishment, owned by former UT football star Bruce Gradkowski, boasts a classy atmosphere and several unusual menu items such as scallop and bacon pizza, maple-glazed donut, fried lasagna, and a $20 burger. $$ 4 stars.
● Tasty Thai, 1515 S. Byrne Rd., offers those same qualities you love about your favorite Chinese place, but with a kick of heat and a touch of exotic flavors. Recommended dishes include the Tom kha soup and the seafood clay pot. You'll fill your belly here without breaking the bank. $$ 4 stars.
● Miss Lily’s, 24174 Front St., Grand Rapids, cooks delicious vittles (a la the Grandma we dream of), breakfast all day, and emphasizes local food. Mom and Pop do it right at this worth-the-drive cafe in a charming river village. Soups, pies, barbeque, sandwiches, and pastas are scrumptious and reasonable value. Open for breakfast and lunch Sun.-Weds.; dinner is served Thurs.-Sun. $$ 4 stars.
● Sidelines Maumee, 1430 Holland Rd., Maumee, The fourth in a chain of locally owned sports bars, Sidelines Maumee offers typical bar food in a lively atmosphere. Appetizers, including the garbage fries ($7.99) and fowl bowls ($7.99) were the standouts during our meals. Weekly specials attract crowds most week nights. Service was sketchy and our waitresses weren't very familiar with menu items. $$ 2 stars.
● The Village Inn, 4984 Holland Sylvania Rd., Sylvania, is a neighborhood institution that features basic bar food, a low-key environment, and bands on the weekends. The food is solid, and if you're a fan of big hearty burgers, calzones, and po boys washed down with a cold beverage, this is your kind of place. It's nothing fancy, but it works. $$ 3 stars.
● QQ Kitchen, 3324 Secor Rd., delivers on its promise of authentic Asian cuisine. Korean-inspired bulgogi, General Tsao chicken, hot and sour soup are among the many can't-miss menu items that are cooked right in front of you. There are only five tables and a counter, but QQ Kitchen is great for takeout orders, and it also delivers. $ 4 stars.
● The London Chop House, 155 W. Congress in the heart of downtown Detroit, opened in 2012 after being shuttered for 21 years. It’s been returned to its former glory as a dimly lit, masculine den with a 1950s supper-club feel, where rich food (excellent aged steaks and seafood, terrific desserts, a vast wine menu, and top-shelf cocktails) is created. Live entertainment begins at 6 p.m. Figure about $30 for lunch and $60 for dinner; more with alcohol. Note: It is not wheelchair accessible. $$$$ 4 stars.
● The Bistro at Maumee Wines, 2556 Parkway Plaza, Maumee, is an upscale restaurant that isn't afraid to bring some complexity to its signature dishes. Tucked in the back of a wine shop, the establishment offers classy dining and a menu that changes with the seasons. We were impressed by the tuna piccata and duck and mushrooms madeira, rich, savory choices that were worth raving about. Make sure you ask about the house-made desserts as well. $$$$ 4 stars.
● Fat Fish Blue, 6140 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. Now in it's fifth year, Fat Fish Blue in Perrysburg has proved it has staying power. The restaurant serves up Creole cuisine in a fun atmosphere and prices are reasonable. The big pot creations, big daddy's gumbo ($5.59 small) and the mumbo jambalaya ($5.59 small), aren't truly New Orleans style, but are still good. The less complicated choices were the real winners during our meals. We loved Sister Mofo's mac n cheese ($2.99 as a side) and the sweet potato fries were a welcomed change. $$-$$$ 3 stars.
● Tea Tree Asian Bistro, 4100 Chappel Dr., is a high class restaurant that seems to have lost its edge. Average wok-prepared dishes and superb sushi established a hit-and-miss pattern of food. Satisfactory fare, a few top notch dishes, and elegant décor, although much appreciated, do not justify the extravagant price tags. Still an enjoyable experience and not to be pushed aside, the menu at Tea Tree is broad and offers an excellent and tantalizing array of choices. $$$ 3 stars.
● Chuck’s on Monroe, 4477 Monroe St., has a homey neighborhood feel and serves some not-so-ordinary bar-food selections to sample while you’re hanging out and watching the big game with your friends. The 50/50 burger, grilled chicken wrap, chicken quesadilla, chicken skewers, and mac and cheese are some of our favorites. $ 3 stars.
● Te’kela Mexican Cocina y Cantina, 25481 N. Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg (in the former Maggie’s Family Restaurant), gives Tex-Mex an upscale spin. Steak, chicken, shrimp, and fish are grilled or sauteed. Everything we tried was good to very good, but some dishes (chili rellenos), have a real kick so if you don’t like the burn, ask your server. The bar carries dozens of tequilas, and a 3 to 6 p.m. daily happy hour sells half-price alcohol and appetizers. The place is packed and loud on Friday and Saturday nights. $$ 3 stars.
● Balance Pan-Asian Grille, 5860 W. Central Ave., features inexpensive, high-quality Asian food served fast and with a minimum of fuss. The menu is relatively simple, but it’s flexible with a range of protein, starch, and sauce choices along with a variety of specials, including Ramen noodles, shrimp tacos, and a vegan taco. The BangBang Balls are highly recommended. $ 4 stars.