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Published: Thursday, 7/14/2011

CRYSTAL'S RESTAURANT

Hotel eatery leaves a bad impression

BILL OF FARE

Steak at Crystal's Restaurant on Secor Road. Steak at Crystal's Restaurant on Secor Road.
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It's a good thing Crystal's Restaurant at the Ramada Inn in West Toledo mostly has a captive clientele from the hotel, because with so many chain eateries to choose from in the vicinity there might not be any other reason to stop by.

The decor of the dining room was 1970s lounge all the way -- and that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing because some places can pull it off -- but it was tacky. That can be overlooked when the food stands out.

It didn't.

The menu had few items to choose from for dinner, so we went with the 12-ounce strip steak ($18.99). How can you go wrong with a steak, right? It wasn't even close to juicy, with a consistency closer to a cured ham and just as salty. The "ham/steak" likely was still frozen upon our arrival because it wasn't close to being appetizing due to its lack of flavor and color: It was grayish in the middle.

The side dishes -- french fries and asparagus (we were told the vegetables of the day were a medley of broccoli and cauliflower) -- were just as salty and inedible.

The walleye filet ($17.99) was served fried and had a mild flavor but was mostly dry. The baked potato came with about four servings of butter but somehow managed to be the best thing on the plate.

It says "save room for dessert" on the menu, but you shouldn't bother. It was recently thawed cheesecake. Enough said.

Lunch was only marginally better, as was the service, which was extremely slow for dinner.

The turkey Toledo reuben ($6.99) was adequate. It tasted homemade but not in a good way. The fries weren't too salty and had a nice crunch. The soup of the day ($2.29), asparagus, was creamy and surprisingly tasty.

The chicken in the chicken caesar wrap ($6.99) had a nice grilled flavor, but the large amount of lettuce and plain flour burrito wrap added nothing to this classic lunch dish. The chicken noodle soup ($3.25), while including chunks of chicken and a lot of noodles, was incredibly salty.

The hit of the table was the Cajun chicken wrap ($6.99). It was a tasty mix of chicken, onions, bell peppers grilled and served, by request, with cole slaw. While there wasn't much kick from the peppers, the flavors mixed well, and the portion size was just right.

The bowl of chili ($3.99) was thick with a lot of meat and beans, but like it was with the wrap, the spices were rather mild.

The lunch special was a chicken sandwich ($5.99) with bacon and cheese served on a pretzel bun. It tasted like your ordinary frozen chicken patty thrown on the grill, but, for the price, it was OK.

The tipping point of the lunch, however, was the potato skins appetizer ($5.99). It had a chalky taste and the bacon bits and cheese were overcooked; overall it was quite underwhelming.

Crystal's was last reviewed by The Blade in 2006 and received a four-star rating. What happened between then and now is anyone's guess. Could a switch in hotel franchising mean that much? It previously was associated with the Clarion chain.

 

CRYSTAL'S RESTAURANT

*

Address: 3536 Secor Rd. in the Ramada Inn.

Phone: 419-535-7070.

Category: Casual.

Menu: American.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 4 to approximately 11 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 to 11 a.m., 4 to approximately 11 p.m. Saturday; 7 to 11 a.m. Sunday. Reservations are accepted.

Wheelchair access: Inadequate.

Average price: $$.

Credit cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.

Web site: No.

Contact Bill of Fare at: fare@theblade.com.


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