Chef knows how to cook a good steak.
The French cut pork chops were generous and grilled with a flavorful crust and tender meat that had very little fat on it.
I'll say this for Chef Mel Ahmad at the Mango Tree in South Toledo, the man knows how to cook a steak.
We were extremely happy with our meal during our first visit in which we sampled items mostly from the "steak" portion of the menu; we switched over to the seafood menu on our second trip and had mixed results.
The 16-ounce porterhouse ($17.99) is featured as a special for a reason: Chef Mel cuts the steak in-house, according to the menu. So, it was no surprise to see it was grilled to a perfect medium and could compare favorably with most steak houses in the area.
The 8-ounce filet mignon ($22.95) is a beautiful cut with little to no fat and was cooked with a nice char on the skin, but still rich and juicy on the inside.
The French-cut pork shops ($16.95) were generous and grilled with a flavorful crust and tender meat that had very little fat on it. The serving size was generous.
The crab-cake dinner ($16.95) was three hockey-puck-sized cakes that combined with a tangy sauce, the cakes could have come straight from Maine.
The potato skins appetizer ($6) featured mushrooms, muenster cheese, and a hearty, thicker skin. Side dishes of green beans and twice-baked potatoes were solid. The side salads were tasty but fairly standard. However, try the house mango dressing because it was sweet with a little bit of a spicy kick. The clam chowder ($2 upgrade) was so good, I had it for both visits. Lots of clam and potatoes, and very creamy.
Desserts -- mango cheesecake ($6.50) and carrot cake ($6.50) -- were worth the extra expense.
There is not enough space here to do justice to the job by our waitress, Dawn. She was courteous, attentive, and, frankly, could teach a class on the finer points of table-side service.
After such a successful dinner, we were looking forward to our return trip but were let down a bit.
The salmon ($18.95) was dry and under-seasoned. It also was extremely overcooked and had a strong charred flavor. It was oddly served with tarter sauce as well.
Also two three-ounce lobster tails ($18.99) were a little tough but OK. The candied baby carrots were hardly presentable and bland.
The fried-oyster appetizer ($6.50), however, was expertly prepared and a table favorite.
The Mango Tree looks like a run-of-the-mill lounge on the outside, but it boasts a surprisingly inviting dining room and a full bar. Chef Mel proves you don't need a hundred-year-old building to serve good food.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.