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Published: Friday, 7/2/2004

Restaurant review: Water's Edge ***

It's summertime at Maumee Bay State Park. Witness the bright sun, warm breezes, passing sailboats, and the presence of mayflies clinging to the wrap-around windows of Water's Edge, the Maumee Bay resort's busy restaurant.

The mayflies, also known in my old neighborhood as June bugs, are a sign of a healthy Lake Erie. They gather by the millions to mate around this time of year, infesting surfaces of all kinds: light poles, sidewalks, roads, houses, and, in some cases, whole towns.

Diners at the cathedral-beamed Water's Edge need not worry, however: The scattered mayflies on the bay windows are not looking out but in, safely distanced from the diners who keep the servers hopping at this seven-day-a-week, morning-to-night restaurant out Corduroy Road in Oregon.

Nor do the pests obscure the view, which takes in a spouting fountain of water amid the green grounds of the handsome resort. The Maumee Bay itself is not visible, but visitors often can be seen strolling the winding walks leading to the shoreline.

Not surprisingly, the emphasis at Water's Edge is on seafood, followed by chicken, beef, and pasta dishes, all generally well-prepared - although in two recent encounters, haphazardly served.

Three menus help measure the pace of the kitchen. Breakfast, from 7 to 11:30 a.m., offers the usual: omelets, eggs to order, meat, pancakes, and Belgian waffles, cereal, and hot oatmeal. Lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., brings soups, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and a couple of more elaborate "afternoon" entrees. By 5 o'clock, the menu kicks into full dinner fare, such as coconut shrimp appetizers, entrees of walleye, salmon, gulf shrimp, Boston ball tip sirloin, and baked pasta dishes.

Summer Saturdays feature a nighttime buffet that includes ribs, round of beef, catfish, and chicken, $19.95 for adults and $7.95 for children. The next day's

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. lineup, $15.95 for adults, $7.95 for kids, is just what you'd expect from a Sunday brunch: omelets, hand-carved ham and beef, smoked salmon, Danish rolls, desserts, and the like.

Our weekday visits found the food better than expected for such a busy, tourist-driven resort. The bread was warm, the salads crisp, the soft drinks served in large carafes. Excellent New England clam chowder ($1.95 a cup, $2.95 a bowl) and cheese-encrusted Maumee Bay chili ($4.50/$6.50) prepared the way for the entrees.

Ohio lake perch ($8.95) was delicately coated without smothering the flavor of the moist white flesh. Ditto the chicken Cavera ($12.95), which, though advertised as sauteed, was enveloped in a crunchy, corn flake-like batter that proved especially tasty draped in a wonderful red pepper cream sauce, with wild rice and baby carrots on the side.

The problems we had, few but annoying, all involved the service, which was messy and snail-like. Could it have been a surfeit of customers, or a shortage of servers?

On one visit, the water and drinks were served promptly, but the wait for the food seemed prolonged. Salad had been ordered but never arrived, prompting the manager to offer cole slaw or soup as an alternative, after the entre was already on the table.

Another time, we waited 45 minutes for the food. The server blamed the agonizing delay on the bizarre explanation that the cook had to take extra time to slice the corned beef for the Classic Reuben we ordered. We're talking nearly an hour's wait for three or four slices of meat in a $6.25 sandwich. Funny how the little things can get in the way of an otherwise pleasant meal.

To get to the Water's Edge, take Consaul Street, which becomes Corduroy Road. Turn left at North Curtice Road (a small sign points the way, just before the intersection). Keep driving straight, past Cedar Point Road and into the resort complex. Park near the canopied front entrance.

•

Croy's Supper Club, a fixture in Perrysburg for 17 years, closes tonight for good. Negotiations are under way with an investor group to buy the building at 27096 Oakmead Dr. and lease it, perhaps to a sports bar, according to Larry Croy, the owner.

Despite a loyal clientele, the reason for closing was a general lack of business, he added.

The restaurant opens for the last time at 5 p.m. today. Croy said gift certificates will be honored at all Tom Cousino-owned restaurants through June 1, 2005.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com



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