When it comes to classy dining in Toledo, restaurants such as Mancy's Steak House and Fifi's come to mind.
There's nothing wrong with those establishments, mind you. It's just easy to think of them as stodgy, or even old-fashioned. With the addition of Revolution Grille to the large and varied restaurant landscape in Toledo, however, the newest Mainstreet Ventures restaurant has redefined elegant dining in the area.
It's hip again.
Under the guidance of chef and owner Rob Campbell -- you might remember him as a chef at Ciao! Ristorante in Sylvania or as executive chef of Bluewater Grille in South Toledo -- Revolution Grille's contemporary concept includes an open floor plan and kitchen. Diners can see Chef Campbell and other chefs work their magic from anywhere in the restaurant.
Another tip of the cap to modernity: interactive menus on tablet computers. Just tap the display and descriptions and pictures of tempting entrees, appetizers, desserts, and even cocktails, beer, and wine pop up. Not only is it a classy touch, but it makes it easier to have a menu that may change from day to day, as it did between our visits.
On our first visit the Wagyu flat-iron steak ($23.95) had a guajillo chili rub and was served atop macaroni and bleu cheese and dressed with a roasted sweet corn-green tomato salsa. The steak was grilled to a consistent medium level throughout with a nice char complemented by the tang of the bleu cheese as well as the sweet and salty salsa.
The salmon Provencale ($18.95) was cooked to perfection in a fragrant lemon-black garlic vinaigrette and was moist and flaky. It was served with purple potatoes (which were properly salted), baby arugula, and crisp beans.
There were some different dinner options available during our second visit, but we chose items that previously had been available.
The goat cheese ravioli ($14.95) was a welcome lighter version of what often can be a heavy Italian dish. In this case, the tangy goat cheese easily trumped the more traditional ricotta cheese, and Revolution serves it with a thin tomato sauce, grilled eggplant, and baby arugula.
A German dish, chicken schnitzel a la Holstein ($13.95), in a lemon beurre blanc with accompaniments of grilled asparagus, prosciutto, fried egg, and red onion might have been the most intriguing item on the menu, and it didn't disappoint. It proved to be a masterfully composed dish with complementary flavor bursts with each bite, and is highly recommended.
Other items of note:
●The complimentary bread at Revolution Grille should cost extra -- it is that good. The thin multi-grain bread with sweet caramelized onions is hard to put down, giving a hint of what's to come.
●The fried green tomato stack ($9.95) appetizer is a great play of flavors with the tart fried tomato layered with tangy goat cheese, smoky bacon and a sweet balsamic-maple reduction.
●Another "small bite" option, the lamb meatballs ($8.95) had a nice crust while leaving the inside moist. They were garnished with shaved pecorino cheese and roasted tomatoes and eggplant and served in a fun lollipop style.
●Cocktails and desserts were both decadent and delicious.
Our Revolution Ritas, though a bit pricey at $9.99, were outstanding and were served with pink sea salt -- with dry ice creating a neat foggy effect. If you look closely, you can find the recipe on the north wall.
The trifle ($5.95) was wonderfully tart with the creamy lemon curd and topped with blueberries and a rich whipped cream. The sourdough chocolate cupcake ($5.95) had hazelnut chocolate spread with bacon sprinkles -- yes, bacon -- and three "burnt" marshmallows. Wow, just wow.
Revolution Grille's setting is intimate. It's part of the charm, but it also could make it difficult for a person in a wheelchair to navigate his or her way to the restroom.
It was very busy on the Friday night we visited (reservations are recommended for weekend nights) -- the sound carries and can get loud.
Even though Revolution Grille definitely has a modern feel, Chef Campbell and his crew haven't forgotten what has kept Mancy's and Fifi's on top for so long: little touches like wine glasses waiting for you on the table, a knowledgeable and courteous wait staff, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Vive la revolution, indeed.
Address: 5333 Monroe St.
Category: Contemporary American. Hours: 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to midnight Friday through Saturday; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: revolutiongrille.com
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.