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Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 10/8/2009

Restaurant review: Executive Diner ****

Executive Diner is next door to El Camino Real in West Toledo, and they share local restaurateur Jesus Angel as owner.

Where El Camino serves some of the tastiest Mexican dishes in town, Executive Diner offers delicious breakfast and lunch fare.

On a recent Saturday, we stopped by for a midmorning meal, and as we left, there was a line of people waiting outside.

I ordered the Mexican burrito ($5.50), stuffed with homemade chorizo, scrambled eggs, and potatoes, topped with cheddar cheese, and served with a red salsa that provided a kick. My companion's Denver omelet ($6.50) was tasty, and packed full of veggies, cheddar, and ham. A side order of seasoned home fries looked like scalloped potatoes, only without the cheese sauce, and they were good but not memorable.

A side order of fluffy homemade buttermilk pancakes off the kids menu ($2.50), though, proved to be the highlight of the meal, along with some exceptional wheat toast — a thick piece of crunchy, buttery goodness that tasted fresh from the oven — served with the entrees. The French toast used the same bread, giving me breakfast envy.

Our server was fast, efficient, and attentive, especially considering there wasn't an open seat in the restaurant. For a lunch visit, the wait staff was friendly, chatting about the restaurant's history and offering helpful advice on menu selections.

We started our meal with cups of tortilla soup and stuffed green pepper soup ($2.95 each). The tortilla

soup is broth-based — the authentic Mexican style — which was good, but lacked zip. The stuffed green pepper soup, however, was a hearty revelation, filled with generous slices of green bell pepper, white rice, ground beef, and more. Executive Diner is changing its menu as early as mid-October, and seven soups, including chili, could be on a set weekly rotation.

For an appetizer we ordered firecracker shrimp ($9.50), a meal unto itself with 10 shrimp served with either French fries or homemade potato chips. The shrimp were divine, coated with tortilla chips and spices and cooked until crunchy brown. The same red salsa served with my breakfast burrito was served as a dipping sauce, adding to the shrimp's spicy kick.

Alas, we were told the shrimp is not one of the more popular items at the restaurant and may be eliminated. Here's hoping Executive Diner reconsiders.

For our entrees, I had the Zavotski kielbasa ($6.50), named after the neighboring meat and deli shop — a nice touch. The kielbasa was served on a fresh thick hoagie bun and loaded with grilled diced green peppers and thin strings of onion.

The kielbasa was packed with a mouth-watering flavor that lingers long after the meal. The onion rings were crunchy and flavorful, with a hint of beer batter.

My companion ordered the chicken quesadilla ($6.95), featuring whole slices of tomato and generous helpings of grilled green peppers, chicken, and melted cheese on grilled tortillas. It was a small slice of heaven, though the accompanying fries were run-of-the-mill.

With great food and great service, Executive Diner is a can't-miss option for breakfast and lunch. Just get there early to avoid the rush.

Contact Bill of Fare at: fare@theblade.com



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