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.
● Backyard BBQ & Booze, 2600 W Sylvania Ave #1, Toledo, excels at a meat-centric menu that includes Texas-style ribs, country fried steak, and glazed, smoked pork chops. Most portions are geared for Texas-size appetites. The cavernous eatery sports a country chic decor with plenty of elbow room for diners (it seats 250). It has a full bar, but few options for vegetarian diners. Still, it falls short on the generic sides (baked beans, coleslaw, muffins etc.), something to work on in its second three months. $$, 3 stars.
● River’s Edge at Carrington, 911 St. James Park Ave., Monroe, Mich. and River’s Edge Pizza, Pub & Grille, 135 Riley St., Dundee, both have good cooking, bars, and nearly identical menus (ribs, pizza & Italian, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, fish, salads). One backs up to the River Raisin’s dam in downtown Dundee, the other has a patio and dining room views of long greens at Carrington Golf Club in Monroe. And both are uniformly good with several homemade items, including soups, desserts, pasta sauces, and fine pizzas. $$, 4 stars.
● Lazeez Mediterranean Cuisine, 337 N. St. Clair St., has consistently good food, consistently good service. The restaurant holds its own among a plethora of Middle Eastern cuisine eateries in Toledo. Its most popular item, the chicken schawarma wrap lives up to its name. The baba ghanoush is flavorful and lemony - a must-try. It would be great to see the restaurant expand its hours into the evening and offer a dinner menu. $, 3 stars.
● Sakura Express, 1385 Conant St., Maumee, is the fast-food version of the popular Sakura Japanese Steakhouse on Monroe. Express offers teriyaki dishes and made-to-order sushi at reasonable prices. The wait is a bit longer than at a typical fast-food establishment, but the quality is worth every extra minute. $, 4 stars.
● Naslada Bistro, 182 S. Main St., Bowling Green, takes patrons on a journey throughout Europe with Bulgarian, Greek, and Italian dishes, including grass fed beef served in a traditional clay pot, stuffed grape leaves, mousaka, and panini. The chef goes to great lengths to offer gluten free and vegan options, for soups, bread, and pasta-based dishes. Leave Toledo behind and enter a world filled with spices, herbs, and belly-filling stews. A bonus, it also offers a kid's menu. $$, 3 stars.
● Father John’s Brewing Co., 301 W. Butler St., Bryan. While stone walls, themed rooms, stained-glass windows, and religious icons certainly are eye-catching, it's the top-notch beers and food that steal the show, and rightfully so. There are 16 different brews to choose from and the prime rib and rison strip loin are not to be missed. The menu changes with the seasons, and on the chefs' whims, so there are many reasons to make the hour-plus trip to Williams County. $$$-$$$$, 5 stars.
● Memphis Pearl, 5147 Main St., Sylvania, has moved in and redecorated the former B Gump’s/SouthBriar restaurants, with soft lighting, a pale turquoise palette, and photos of Memphis landmarks. It’s respectable steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches, and salads; a menu similar to its sister, the Black Pearl in South Toledo. 10 craft beers on tap. $$-$$$, 3 stars.
● West Side Bistro, 3324 Secor Rd., Suite 10, offers good food and music in an atmosphere that's both upscale and laid back. The menu boasts a number of salads, flatbread pizzas, chicken and fish entrees, steak, jambalaya, lobster roll, and many other items. We enjoyed the southwestern chicken pasta ($17), a colorful blend of peppers and onions, with roasted chicken and fettuccine, tossed in a zesty cream sauce. It's only been open a few months, but from the looks of things, this place has staying power. $$-$$$, 3 stars.
● Spicy Tuna Bar & Grill, 7130 Airport Highway, Holland, is an Asian-fusion restaurant offering scores of menu options. Sushi is clearly the focus, featuring all the standards and plenty of unique twists. The Mexican, featuring spicy crab, avocado, jalapenos, and cream cheese, is definitely worth a look. Several Chinese dinners and a wide-ranging drink menu are also featured. $$$, 3 stars.
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