Summaries of recently reviewed area restaurants, in the order in which they were reviewed, with the most recent at the top.
● LaRoe's Restaurant, 24138 Front St., Grand Rapids, is a beautiful drive and a worthy destination. It offers a wide variety of American classics. Recommendable are the baby-back ribs, apple-smoked pork chops, the beer flights, and the ruby-red Dornfelder wine. A deal is the Sunday breakfast buffet, not huge but with the usual suspects. $$ 3 stars.
● Darla's Thai Pan, 4011 Secor Rd., offers some of the best service in the area, although the entrees and interior are a little on the bland side. The house special chiang mai fried rice is worth a try with familiar flavors and a great presentation. The gang masaman, or yellow curry, is sweet spicy and filling. $$ 3 stars.
● Arturo's Fritz and Alfredo's, 3025 North Summit St., features a unique mix of Mexican and German menu offerings and an exceptionally congenial wait staff. The German entrees are especially strong and the restaurant's sausages, various schnitzle-style meals, and gravy make for excellent comfort food. $$ 3 stars.
● Crystal's Restaurant, 3536 Secor Rd. in the Ramada Inn, doesn't really have much to recommend it. Some of the lunch selections were OK -- such as the Cajun chicken wrap and the turkey Toledo reuben, as well as the chili. Beware of the salt: Many menu items used way too much. $$ 1 star.
● River Cafe & Marina, 6215 Edgewater Dr., Erie, at the tip of Point Place, is a beautiful setting on the mouth of the Ottawa River. It serves lunches and dinners and has an outdoor deck. It offers weekly specials and many fish entrees; most of which we had were average. The simpler sandwiches, salads, and baskets may be better choices. $$$ 3 stars.
● Asian Grill, 1813 Tiffin Ave., Findlay, offers some of the region's best Korean and Japanese cuisine. Homemade spicy kimchee, delicious bright golden ginger salad dressing, and exceptional sushi and sashimi rolls make this little restaurant a winner. Of the truly extraordinary entrees, tender and sweet beef bulgogi stands out as does the jab-chae, featuring sweet potato noodles and a heady smoky sauce. $$ 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. $$$ 4 stars.
● Foccacia's Delicatessen, 333 N. Summit St., deservedly is one of the busiest lunch locations in downtown Toledo. With such tasty selections as Mama's Pot Roast and the Holy Toledo, you can't go wrong with one of the deli's signature sandwiches. Its soups, salads, and cheesecake are top notch as well. $$ 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, a liquor license, and dramatic murals in the back room. There's also a small taco shop at 719 Galena St. in North Toledo. $ 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.
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