Perrysburg family restaurant worth getting a seat at the table.
“Family restaurant” conjures certain images: meatloaf, retirees, no alcohol, restless squawkers in high chairs, scant seasoning, standards, reasonable prices, and perky servers: All are fine things, mind you, except perhaps the squawkers who’d be happier on a playground or snuggled in a blankie.
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Such places are run by hardworking, often immigrant families and draw a neighborhood clientele but vary in the amount of menu that’s homemade, portion size, sides, and the grease factor. American Table Family Restaurant is a standard-bearer in this category.
★ ★ ★ ★
Menu: Click here to view
Address: 580 Craig Dr., Perrysburg, (off Rt. 25, across Rt. 25 RiverPlace shopping center). Four other are locations.
Menu: American, Greek, and Italian.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average price: $
Credit cards: Dis., MC, V.
Web site: n/a
First, an explanation. Five eateries share this name in Greater Toledo, including two that opened this month. Al and Frances Elmazi, who established the first American Table 14 years ago, own and operate the Perrysburg restaurant and just opened another in Fostoria.
One of their daughters and her husband own one on South Wheeling Street in Oregon across from Mercy St. Charles Hospital. (Another daughter owns the Red Star Diner on Lewis Avenue in Temperance.) The Elmazis sold their Lambertville American Table to friends and permitted other friends to open an American Table recently on Glendale Avenue (in the former Star Diner), where it will compete with the popular Glendale Garden Cafe. All have nearly identical menus featuring American, Greek, and Italian foods, and share Mr. Elmazi’s recipes.
The menu at the Oregon restaurant I lunched at is a little less expensive than the Perrysburg version at which I supped last week. My companions and I fell in love with the soups at the Oregon place: a tomato-based chicken tortilla with killer chips (even better with sour cream), a good-for-what-ails-ye rosemary chicken with pearls of acini pasta, and a stuffed green pepper soup that tasted exactly like a delicious stuffed green pepper.
Fried perch ($10.99, can also be baked) was a good portion of moist, white pieces in a light, seasoned batter. Tender chunks of chicken kabobs ($8.29) were marinated in Greek seasonings, skewered, and broiled with thick slices of onion, green pepper, and tomato, served on a bed of rice with pita bread and a nice yogurt sauce. Delicious spinach pie ($8.29, try it with fresh-squeezed lemon) was generous enough for a second meal. And in the comfort-food category, we enjoyed the Monte Cristo sandwich ($6.29; soft French toast enfolding carved turkey breast, ham, and swiss). It had what food developers call great “mouth feel.” If you like the French toast sweet to counterpoint the ham’s salt, ask for a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of syrup.
Two sides (soup, salad, or crunchy, seasoned fries) accompany sandwiches and dinners. I recommend the slightly-sweet, slightly pink (from beets), homemade Greek salad dressing. Vegetable sides are green beans, or peas with little carrot squares, all frozen and with minimal appeal. Funny thing, at dinner my guest asked for a second vegetable instead of potato or rice, and was brought two bowls of green beans.
A New York strip steak ($12.99, 12-ounce) was delivered medium rare as requested, and for the price was good. Baked salmon ($9.99, a special) was just fine, accompanied by a scoop of homemade mashed taters and a delicious vegetable soup (broth was vegetarian) with cabbage. Homemade lasagna was tasty as were a big piece of baklava and the milky rice pudding.
The Elmazis are ethnic Albanians who lived in Macedonia and incorporate food of nearby Greece and Italy in their cuisine. With their five children, they (he an attorney, she a teacher) left the tensions of their homeland in 1994 for the Detroit area where he took work bussing tables and as a prep cook. They bought a Livonia eatery where he cooked and she was a waitress, and in 1999, found one at the right price: the former Secor Diner, in Lambertville and bought it.
Note: Breakfast is served all day; two eggs with hash browns or pancakes is $3.79; bagel and cream cheese are $1.79.
Hats off to Tawny, an excellent server at the Oregon restaurant.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.