Upscale eatery comes close to perfection
It’s been five years since we last visited Mancy’s Italian Grill, which is four years, 11 months, and two weeks too long. The food is that good. The Grill is an upscale eatery that eschews the stuffiness that often accompanies the linen napkin crowd; the atmosphere is as pleasant and subtle as the lighting in a dining room that is spacious enough to hold a birthday party, yet intimate enough to hold a conversation.
There are three things we have a right to expect from a good restaurant: taste, presentation, and service. Mancy’s gets top marks on two of the three, and comes awfully close on the third.
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★ ★ ★ ★½
Address: 5453 Monroe St., Toledo
Category: Business casual.
Hours: Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays, 4 -.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays, 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$-$$$
Credit Cards: Dis, MC, V.
Web site: www.mancys.com/#italian.
On our first visit we started with the melted fontina cheese appetizer ($8), an inviting plate with a dozen pieces of thinly sliced apples, pieces of bread, and a bowl of molten cheese the consistency of pudding. It was perfectly proportioned for two.
Other apps on tap include mussels in Fresno chili, fresh herbs and Italian beer ($11), calamari fritti ($11), a 5-ounce veal meatball ($5), fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes ($9), and garlic bread ($7).
You’ve got plenty of options for your main course, none of which include the words “burger and fries.” Salads range from a classic Caesar ($7) to heartier plates such as George’s steak and Bibb ($9, thick-cut steak, Bibb lettuce and creamy Gorgonzola dressing), and baby spinach and grilled salmon ($17), dressed with Granny Smith apples and sun-dried cherries.
I went for vesuvio ($18), an eruption of shrimp, homemade Italian sausage, peppers, broccoli, and roasted garlic cream sauce on a bed of angel hair pasta. It danced on the tongue, but, more to my liking, the chef here understands how to complement a dish with sauce, not deluge it.
My companion opted for the more traditional Alfredo con pollo ($18), a congress of roasted pulled chicken, Parmesan cream, spinach, and house-made fresh egg fettuccine. He offered a thumbs-up verdict in lieu of surrendering another mouthful to speak. Be advised that entree specials are added and deleted each week, although the mainstays tend to be constant.
We switched things up a bit for our second visit. My guest opted for the peperonata flatbread ($12), a riot of color with its chicken, pesto, sweet red and yellow peppers, red onion, and cilantro. It arrived with the edges evenly toasted and the size of a small serving platter. Really. Leftovers? No doubt.
Mancy’s also offers wood-fired pizzas ($10- $11), ranging from classic pepperoni to picante vicenzo with its Texas Pete Hot Tomato Sauce, chili peppers, mushroom, and onion. There is meat and seafood on the menu as well, from grilled lamb chops and ribeye bistecca ($25 each) to grilled swordfish ($24), horseradish crusted halibut ($25), and my choice, shrimp spedini ($22), lightly-breaded shrimp in a white wine-kissed angel hair pasta, drizzled with a citrusy, butter garlic sauce.
Let’s talk drinks . The beer and wine menu takes up nearly an entire page, ranging from draft choices (we tried Mancy’s Oktoberfest on our second visit), to vino by the glass ($5- $12) and bottle ($18 to $89). The emphasis is on Italian wines, but you’ll find a Napa Valley cabernet and a Healdsburg Brut if you seek something more domestic.
If Mancy’s delivers better-than-average entrees, it truly excels at desserts. The chocolate gelato ($3.75) literally tickles the taste buds, while the airy tiramisu ($6) is certainly the best we’ve had east of Chicago.
There were a few service lapses during our visits. During one, our server seemed confused about whether the restaurant was out of all ravioli or just one dish (it turned out to be the latter). And when we asked another server for an extra minute to study the menu, she gave us 20. We had to ask that she be tracked down. Those were modest lapses given our overall positive experience. Like its sister restaurants in the metro area, Mancy’s Italian Grill delivers food you’ll remember long after you’ve pushed away from the table.
Contact Bill of Fare at email@example.com.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.