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Published: Thursday, 9/28/2006

Restaurant review: Bluepoint Fish Club ***

The dining scene here is a mosaic of different tastes and enchantments, from top-notch steakhouses and exotic ethnic restaurants to rollicking sports bars and Mom and Pop storefronts. In other words, there's something for everybody, and that includes a fair number of fishhouses. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough fishhouses.

What's not to like about artfully presented glories of the sea glistening with flavor? Think of a simple fillet with a copper burnish, made piquant with drawn butter and a squirt of lemon; char-grilled jumbo gulf shrimp on a skewer with roasted peppers and onions, or a mess of lightly breaded Lake Erie perch that melts in your mouth.

Among the growing number of local restaurants specializing in the preparation of fresh seafood, the newest arrival is the Bluepoint Fish Club at the Levis Commons shopping center in Perrysburg.

Bluepoint belongs to Restaurants-America's national chain of some 40 restaurants of various names and cuisines. The seafood selections are not as eclectic or far-reaching as some of the popular fishhouses in town, but there's plenty to choose from, with several unique dishes that would tempt the most strigent seafood purist.

In addition to Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab legs, a seafood boil, and 12 varieties of raw oysters, Bluepoint unreels its creativity with such entrees as silky South Carolina she-crab soup, fish tacos, black cod with a sesame-almond crust, and shrimp and chicken jambalaya. Most intriguing of all is enchiladas del mar, which marries crab and shrimp with a Mexican medley of black beans, rice, pepper jack cheese, and a southwestern cream sauce, all wrapped in a blue corn tortilla.

For the poor unfortunates who regard seafood as a take it-or-leave-it proposition, the restaurant also offers four varieties of steak, Jamaican jerk chicken, burgers, and an andouille sausage and chicken gumbo fit to be served on Bourbon Street.

The wide-open, wood-trimmed dining room, featuring circular chandeliers, layered stone pillars, and windows dressed with Venetian blinds and awnings, is dominated by a huge rectangular bar. It's an ambiance that lends itself not only to upscale eating but drinking: the back of the menu is thick with suggestions for cocktails and beers.

Dinner one evening started promisingly with a spicy tuna roll ($11.95) true to its name, with ahi tuna, rice, vegetables, avocado, and oriental sauces, while fried calamari ($8.95) was both tender and crunchy. For $1 more we tried it with the house buffalo sauce, which reduced the appetizer into something more suited to a sports bar.

Among the entrees, the aforementioned jambalaya ($15.95) made our taste buds dance with its tangy creole sauce, and blackened swordfish ($18.95), the sole catch of the day, was mildly seasoned and tender. Sweet balsamic glazed halibut ($20.95), grilled with tomatoes, artichokes, and capers, was slightly dry but otherwise flavorful, and a delicate pecan-crusted grouper ($18.95) threatened to be overwhelmed by the imposing clump of sweet mashed potatoes it came with.

The food is served a la carte, e.g., a house salad costs an extra $4.95 and sides are $2.95. Some of the entrees do include accompaniments, with broccoli and mashed potatoes leading the pack.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com



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