German offerings are worth the trip to this restaurant.
It's the schlachter-platte dish at Arturo's Fritz and Alfredo's.
Dining at Arturo's Fritz and Alfredo's in North Toledo requires a gustatory leap of faith.
After all, the place is decorated in a definite Mexican theme with splashes of color everywhere; you're served complimentary nachos and salsa; margaritas are big on the menu … then you find yourself ordering a delicious schlachter-platte or jaeger schnitzel.
Yes, it's weird and the bottom line is that diners at the popular restaurant just have to go with the flow. We did, and while the Mexican meals were unsatisfactory for our tastes, the German offerings were quite good and worth returning for.
According to the restaurant's Web site, Fritz and Alfredo's was first opened in 1992 by owners Al and Adele Mundt. The menu combined German and Mexican recipes and in 2003 was sold to Adele's brother Arturo Cavazos and his wife, Evelyn. Fritz and Alfredo's is part of the same family of restaurants that includes Loma Linda's, Ventura's, and Barron's Cafe.
Which goes along way toward explaining how patrons munch chips and sip margaritas before ordering potato pancakes and sauerkraut.
When my companions and I visited the restaurant -- which is located in what looks to be a refurbished house -- on a recent evening, we decided to go all-in for the German offerings.
The jaeger schnitzel ($12.09) featured lightly breaded pork that is pan fried and slathered in mushroom gravy. The pork was juicy and the breading provided a complementary taste and texture to go along with the meat, but it wasn't overly greasy or thick. The peppery gravy had a nice strong taste instead of the salty, bland flavor that some gravies assume.
A side of home fries was crispy and went well with the gravy, and the carrots served their purpose to trick us that were eating at least something healthy. Basically this was comfort food, served by an extremely friendly, genial waitress who made us feel at home.
The schlachter-platte ($8.89) included a bratwurst and knockwurst alongside spaetzle and sauerkraut. The sausages were savory but mellow, and the sauerkraut went well with the meat. The spaetzle -- which is a type of noodle -- was served with the delicious gravy, making for an overall satisfying German-style meal that we accented with a side of potato pancakes.
Our lunch visit featured more of a Mexican spin and the results weren't quite up to par. The problem is one that seems common in many Toledo restaurants that feature south-of-the-border food: an extreme overemphasis on melted cheese.
My combination plate ($8.59) included a cheese enchilada, a beef taco, and a chicken tostada. The cheese enchilada overwhelmed the meal with gooey, salty cheese and made everything taste too similar. The taco had a nice spicy kick that cut through the cheesy flavor, but it was kind of greasy and sloppy.
The combination fajita ($11.19) was massive, with chicken and steak strips surrounded by peppers, onions, and sides of refried beans and Spanish rice. Again, we were not impressed. The meat was dry and the flavoring didn't quite have the zingy heat you expect from a fajita.
That said, we also tried the beef rouladen ($12.49) which is top sirloin rolled up with bacon, onion and carrot strip. Another German offering, it was quite good if a bit heavy for lunch. It was served with spaetzle and cabbage. My companion gave the cabbage high marks for its appropriate level of balance between the vinegar and pickle tastes.
We're guessing that our take on the Mexican offerings at Fritz and Alfredo's isn't universal, given the propensity of some popular restaurants in this area to heap cheese all over a burrito, melt it, and call it Mexican. People must like that approach or it wouldn't be so common, but we're not in that camp.
The flip side with the Summit Street restaurant is that its German dishes (it should be noted that a few American offerings are also on the menu) are excellent. On our return visit we'll be sure to order a strong German beer and work our way through that side of the restaurant's menu.
ARTURO'S FRITZ AND ALFREDO'S
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Address: 3025 North Summit St.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are not accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average price: $$.
Credit cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: www.toledostripletreat.com/arturo/index.html.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.