When's the last time you've been to the historic Oliver House in downtown Toledo?
It had been a while for me too. Oh how it's changed.
Just the fact that the historic hotel houses the Maumee Bay Brewpub is cool enough, but a recent neighbor, Petit Fours Patisserie & Cafe, has provided the downtown area with a chic and hip lunch spot.
Known simply as The Cafe, its menu is full and diverse, and the dining room has a mix of classical and contemporary that is welcoming and warm.
We recently treated ourselves to two lunch visits and couldn't have been more impressed.
The Signature Tomato Basil Soup ($2.25/cup, $4.25/bowl) was flavorful and heartier than
expected. Accompanied with a thick slice of bread, it arrived at the table nice and hot -- the way that soup should be served.
A bowl of the soup probably would make a satisfying meal for a light eater, but we paired a cup serving with half of a Tuna Waldorf Salad Sandwich. (A half sandwich with either a cup of soup or side salad is $8.95)
The sandwich consisted of a generous pile of white tuna chunks in a light sauce, Swiss cheese, and thin slices of apple between halves of a whole wheat roll. The bread was a bit dry, but the tasty filling more than offset that minor negative -- one that could be avoided by ordering it as a salad plate on field greens rather than a sandwich.
The Curried Chicken Salad ($7.50) was moist and had a subtle, but enjoyable, curry flavor and was served with white raisins and sliced cucumbers on crispy field greens.
The Croque Madame ($8.25) was a knife and fork masterpiece: a grilled ham with mozzarella and Gruyere Swiss cheeses served on artisan bread with whole grain mustard and garlic aioli, and a fried egg. It was topped with a bechamel sauce that made the sandwich a memorable hit.
I paired the sandwich with a cup of the Butternut Squash Soup special ($2.25) that was chunky and warm and full of earthy flavors. It definitely hit the spot on this cold, late autumn afternoon.
We also gave the Corn Chowder and Feta ($2.25) a try. It was surprisingly tasty and gave a new twist to the traditional chowder.
A daily crab cake special called the Power Lunch ($9.95) needed to be served much warmer than it was. But it was very good and filled with plenty of crab meat and served with a delicious side salad of tossed greens, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.
Another standout was the Oliver House Pulled Pork sandwich ($6.95). The Fallen Timbers Red Beer BBQ sauce was slathered on and provided some heat and a sweet tang, thanks in part to pickle relish and the onion roll. It was a perfect balance. The chips were made from scratch and were fresh and delicious.
The Petit Fours Special Roast Beef ($8.50) was an unbelievably light and tasty sandwich with roasted artichoke hearts and fluffy grilled ciabatta bread. The roast beef was exquisite and accented by some fine cheddar cheese and horseradish sauce.
The bistro also serves premium coffee drinks and has available on tap the beers of the Maumee Bay Brewing Co., including its old-fashioned and handcrafted root beer ($2.25). If you're a root beer lover, you have to try it.
The Petit Fours Patisserie has just about every treat imaginable. We sampled an oatmeal raisin cookie ($.75) and a slice of a flourless chocolate cake ($2.50) that were outstanding.
So, whether you have a sweet tooth, or you're looking for a hip atmosphere during your lunch hour, Petit Fours Patisserie & Cafe has all the bases covered.
PETIT FOURS PATISSERIE & CAFE
* * * *
Address: 27 Broadway
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average price: $$.
Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V.
Web site: oh-thecafe.com/index.html.
Ratings: ***** Outstanding; **** Very Good; *** Good; ** Fair; * Poor.
Contact Bill of Fare at email@example.com.