Food at South Toledo eatery merits return visits.
The Full Thibert at Doc Watson's in Toledo.
We are not here to damn Doc Watson's with faint praise.
The place tucked into the corner of a strip mall at the intersection of Byrne Road and Glendale Avenue is an excellent bar. The beer selection varies and is creative, it's a wonderful venue for live music that deserves a boat-load of credit for supporting local acts, and it doubles as a pretty nice sports bar.
We like going there, and it's a great place for a drink because it oozes camaraderie.
All that said, we have been largely underwhelmed by the food. The menu is massive and diverse with choices like gyros, salami and cheese, fish, burgers, steaks, and creatively constructed sandwiches, and while there were a couple of solid offerings, the overall impression was of bar food that rarely transcends its limitations.
Doc Watson's has at least 48 sandwiches so we felt obliged to sample several.
The pulled pork ($7.95) is served on grilled ciabatta bread. The effect was of an overwhelming smokey taste that robbed the pulled pork of much of its flavor and interfered with the meal. We encountered the same problem with the Lord Stanley's Loin -- beef tenderloin, bleu cheese, onion, and horseradish sauce ($8.95).
The Full Thibert -- buffalo chicken, bacon, bleu cheese, onion on a kaiser roll -- ($9.25) was considerably better and much like eating a giant buffalo wing on a bun. The bacon added a salty counterpart that worked well with the bird.
We were also fans of the boursin grilled portabella ($7.50). A big mushroom was marinated and grilled and served with boursin cheese and grilled peppers. The menu said the ciabatta was grilled, but it didn't have the overpowering smokey taste of the other sandwiches, and the earthy mushroom paired nicely with the creamy cheese and peppers.
Among the entrees, we had the lake perch ($12.95), which was solid but nothing special; basically breaded fried fish served with french fries. The chili mac ($7.95) was a heaping pile of spaghetti noodles, cheese, onions and chili sauce. We enjoyed the spicy kick of the sauce, but it dominated the other flavors and detracted from the dish.
The grilled Jamaican jerk chicken thighs entree ($9.95) was a pleasant surprise. Served with peppers over a bed of rice, the chicken had some zing, that was complemented by the peppers and rice.
Given its muscular menu we'll keep giving Doc Watson's food a try and look for some favorites, perhaps returning for breakfast, which we did not try for the sake of this review. The music, the beer, and the friendly atmosphere make this a place worth returning to regularly.
Address: 1515 S. Byrne Rd.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday; 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: docwatsonstoledo.com.
Contact Bill of Fare at: firstname.lastname@example.org.