Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant review: Blue Pacific Grill ***

If you don t like the food at Blue Pacific Grill, blame it on the chef. And who s the chef? Why, it s you.

The restaurant, located in Perrysburg s Levis Commons, serves pan-Pacific cuisine, similar to Mongolian-style stir fry, with various meats, vegetables, seasonings, and sauces arrayed on a food line.

Upon arriving, customers are given a breathless spiel at the table on how to proceed. Basically, the customer does most of the work: walking through the line and choosing the food, seasonings, and sauces, which are deposited in a metal bowl. At journey s end, you hand the bowl over to a grill master.

The grill master in turn cooks the food on a large, circular grill that dominates the bright blue- and tangerine-walled room, asks what starch you want, puts the finished product into a large china bowl, and hands it to you for transporting to the table.

The choices at the food bar are myriad 17 different proteins, including beef, chicken, lamb, sausage, ham, shrimp, salmon, even tofu; 12 seasonings from lemon pepper to curry salt; 30 vegetables, and a choice of five starches, mainly noodles and rice. A dozen sauces, from sweet chili to spicy Thai peanut, can be sampled before deciding which suits you.

For those unsure of their cooking skills, wall signs list various dishes that can be duplicated, ranging from teriyaki chicken to Asian barbecue, with recommended ingredients from all five categories. Whichever way you go, the pricing is simple: $9.99 a bowl or $12.98 for all you can eat. Soft drinks and spirits are also available.

Blue Pacific is similar to other chains, in particular Genghis Grill The Mongolian Feast, a Dallas-based chain with franchises around the country. In fact, Blue Pacific is owned by two Genghis Grill franchisees who operate out of Lansing, Mich.

A number of people who have visited the Levis Commons eatery tell me they love the food. That may put me in the distinct minority, for as a diner it s my belief that the kitchen should do all the heavy lifting, instead of making me decide which combinations of foods would taste best with what seasonings and sauces. I d prefer a professional chef to conceive and execute the meal while I lean back and enjoy a beverage and conversation before the food arrives.

Having said that, I confess that the meals we concocted on two recent visits weren t bad. I probably put too much tonga mix and fiery lava sauce in the restaurant s signature Cajun Bowl recipe, but then again, I expected that the dish would be spicier than, say, plain noodles and beef.

Among the items vying for attention in that Cajun meal were marinated cod, crawfish, chicken, shrimp, spicy sausage, citrus garlic herbs, tomatoes, celery, and roasted tomato sauce over rotini pasta enough food to fill up two people.

Another dish, the Shanghi (sic) Bowl, produced similar heat, blending a variety of seafood and stir-fry mix with green onions, water chestnuts, lava salt, and lava sauce over steamed rice. Milder on the tongue was beef broccoli with citrus garlic herbs, vegetables, and sauce over noodles. And of course, you can always wing it on your own, mixing and matching whatever catches your fancy.

Perhaps best of all, since you did the lion s share of the work, you get to tip yourself.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com

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