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Published: Thursday, 7/7/2011

Recently reviewed restaurants: 7-7

Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top.

● Asian Grill, 1813 Tiffin Ave., Findlay, offers some of the region's best Korean and Japanese cuisine. Homemade spicy kimchee, delicious bright golden ginger salad dressing, and exceptional sushi and sashimi rolls make this little restaurant a winner. Of the truly extraordinary entrees, tender and sweet beef bulgogi stands out as does the jab-chae, featuring sweet potato noodles and a heady smoky sauce. $$ 5 stars.

● Amie's Pizza Factory, 6710 West Central Ave., focuses on award-winning specialty pizzas. Where else can you find ingredients such as baked potatoes, hot dogs, and sauerkraut? We highly recommend the 2002 Pizza Challenge winner, which includes garlic butter and chicken, but you can't go wrong with a lot of other Amie's pizzas, and part of the fun is exploring the variety. $ 3 stars.

● The Original Rick's City Diner, 2633 W. Bancroft St., serves rich fluffy blueberry pancakes and indulgent cinnamon walnut waffles as part of its breakfast offerings. Lunch highlights include an Italian beef sandwich and thick, chunky chicken noodle soup. $ 3 stars.

● Webber's Waterfront Restaurant, 6339 Edgewater Dr., Erie, is within steps of Point Place on the Lost Peninsula. Arrive for dinner before 6 p.m. on a balmy weekday (or after 1 p.m. Sundays), so you can claim a table on the breezy patio and watch small watercraft putter in and out of the wide mouth of the Ottawa River. Standard offerings of seafood (the coho salmon was great) and the requisite cow, chicken, salads, and sandwiches are fine. Note: many items, such as a dinner salad, cost extra. $$$ 4 stars.

● Spicy Tuna Sushi Bar & Grill, 7130 Airport Hwy., Holland, offers some excellent sushi rolls, but the entrees sadly fall short. For many sushi-lovers, that is more than OK. In particular, the funky monkey baby and the rainbow roll feature loads of fresh raw fish and unique presentations. $$$ 3 stars.

● Angelo's Northwood Villa, 6630 South Dixie Hwy., Erie, is a supper club -- white tablecloths, surf and turf, chandeliers -- reminiscent of a bygone era, and therein lies its old-school charm. The 40 entrees include steaks and prime rib, pastas, seafood (including frog legs and perch), chicken, and veal, often splashed with delicious homemade sauces, and there's an extensive wine list. $$$ 4 stars.

● Foccacia's Delicatessen, 333 N. Summit St., deservedly is one of the busiest lunch locations in downtown Toledo. You can't go wrong with one of the deli's signature sandwiches, such as the tasty Mama's Pot Roast and the Holy Toledo. Its soups, salads, and cheesecake are top notch as well. $$ 4 stars.

● Barada Mediterranean Cuisine, 5215 Monroe St., is a solid restaurant with an expansive menu that features Syrian and Lebanese specialties. The shish kafta is a step above anyone else's in Toledo, and Barada's seafood and other specials are ample and flavorful. Don't forget the delicious hummus for an appetizer at this restaurant that specializes in excellent customer service. $$ 3 stars.

● KotoBuki Japanese Restaurant, 5577 Monroe St., in Sylvania hasn't lost its luster in the decades that it has fostered our local love of sushi. The KotoBuki roll and the Toledo roll along with the yaki soba noodles stand out on a menu packed with some of the area's best Japanese fare. $$$ 4 stars.

● San Marcos Taqueria, 235 Broadway St. is a popular and authentic taco restaurant that has evolved from a tiny lunch counter at the back of a Mexican grocery store, also called San Marcos. It's just south of downtown at the foot of the High Level Bridge, and you still enter through the grocery. The recent expansion includes daily specials that bump the menu up a notch and a liquor license. $ 4 stars.

● La Forchetta di Pasqualone, 2022 Woodville Rd., Oregon, is an OK place to go if you're looking for a no-thrills Italian-American meal. The gnocchi ai quatro formaggio and fettucine alla panna are good choices. The ravioli di ricotta is pretty solid as well. $$ 2 stars.

● Charlie's Homemade Pizza and Edibles, 6600 Sylvania Ave. in the Saxon Square strip mall, is under new ownership, but the restaurant remains a great place for Italian comfort food. Charlie's pizzas are top-notch and far better than what you'll find at any chain, and the lasagna and manicotti are excellent. $$ 3 stars.

● Michigan Bar & Grill, 1140 South Monroe St., Monroe, may lack curb appeal, but it more than makes up for it with spectacular thick prime rib, exquisite desserts, and a relaxing and romantic interior. $$$ 4 stars.

● Tropical Smoothie Cafe, 1385 Conant St., Maumee, is healthy fast food (sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup, smoothies, and breakfast) in a cheerful decor. It's pricier than the fast-food joints of the last century but worth it for the quality of meat, fruit, vegetables, and breads. This is a smart, contemporary franchise, the only one in the area. $ 4 stars.

● Harbor Inn & Ale, 13993 Laplaisance Rd., Monroe, is the perfect spot for a burger and a beer. But it also has a varied seafood selection -- from shrimp and sausage cioppino to bluegill sliders. The onion rings are a can't-miss appetizer or side order. $$ 4 stars.

● Magdalena's Bar and Grill, 1955 West Alexis Rd. is a fine place to go for a drink and a game, but the food is another matter. The lunch taco buffet on Mondays and Tuesdays is solid, and the fajitas have some zing, but some of the other Mexican entrees fall short of expectations. $$ 2 stars.

● China House, 255 Golden Gate Plaza, Maumee, stands out from the common Chinese take-out restaurants that dot area strip malls. Efficient service, great value, and superbly prepared food are just a few reasons to make this your 'go-to' place for quick meals in Maumee. Particularly worthwhile are the hearty budget-friendly lunch specials. $ 3 stars.

● Mac & Tong's Restaurant and Lounge, 4330 W. Central Ave., is a great choice for dinner, not so much for lunch. From duck with orange marmalade to shrimp fettuccine to New York strip steak, you can't go wrong when dining in the evening. Beware of cold dishes and salty sandwiches during the lunch hour. $$$ 4 stars.

● The Common Grill, 112 South Main St., Chelsea, Mich., is a sublime dining experience. The atmosphere is close to that of a French bistro, and chef Craig Common's creations are inventive without being oddball. The pan-fried walleye in a black walnut crust and the pine-nut crusted scallops are well worth the drive. $$$ 5 stars.

● Deet's BBQ, 1385 Conant St., Maumee, just might be the best barbecue joint in Toledo. The ribs are big and meaty, the sauces are simple but tasty, and you can't beat the pulled pork or barbecue chicken on big sturdy buns and the homemade side dishes. The menu isn't vast, but the folks who work at this family-run restaurant are friendly. The place is small, with seating for only 12, so you might want to carry out. $ 3 stars.

● Caper's Restaurant & Bar, 2038 South Byrne Rd., is a low-key neighborhood place with a wide variety of great pizzas (crusts, bread, and sauces made in the kitchen), pasta dishes, and calzones. The ribs are succulent, and there are burgers, fish and chips, and several oven-baked sandwiches. Check out the warm bread pudding topped with Kahlua, brown sugar, candied walnuts, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. $$ 3 stars.

● Glass City Cafe, 1107 Jackson St., serves tasty diner food that's easy on your wallet. The Glass City burger is one of the many highlights on the menu, as are the meat-lover's omelet and french toast. The cafe also serves as an after-hours dining destination on the weekend. $ 3 stars.

● Bai Du, 26530 Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg, serves Chinese-American food, things like kung pao chicken, orange beef, and won ton soup. There's nothing upscale about it, and Chinese nationals probably wouldn't recognize most of what's on the menu. But hey, there's a time for authenticity and a time for sweet and sour chicken. $$ 3 stars

● Ice Restaurant and Bar, 405 Madison Ave., is an unpretentious upscale dining experience in the shadow of the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo. Live jazz plays on Thursdays, and the restaurant has a warm, friendly vibe. Check out the pan roasted walleye or the salmon and soak in a unique atmosphere that makes your night out feel special. $$ 3 stars

● Oregon Inn on Bayshore, 6067 Bayshore Rd., Oregon, is a homey, off-the-beaten-track roadhouse, 20 minutes from downtown Toledo at the western edge of Maumee Bay State Park. A broad selection -- prime rib, Lake Erie perch and walleye, pork loin, frog legs -- is well prepared and augmented with home-made soups. $$ 4 stars.

● Manos Greek Restaurant, 1701 Adams St., is one of the many ethnic restaurants in the Toledo area, and this one isn't to be missed. Manos' gyros and spinach pies are first-rate, and it serves everything from lamb shanks to baklava. $$ 4stars.

● Tea Tree Asian Bistro, 4100 Chappel Drive, Perrysburg, can boast a stylish and sophisticated interior along with extraordinary sushi, but some of the appetizers and entrees fell short of the great expectations and comparatively high prices. $$$ 3 stars.

● Zia's Restaurant, 20 Main St., at the Docks, emphasizes the sturdy fare Americans have come to consider Italian cuisine: pastas, cream or tomato sauces, pizzas. But if you look closer, you can find chicken, steaks, and seafood, mostly with creative Italian twists. Service is pleasant and efficient, and desserts are wonderful. $$$ 3 stars.



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