Southwestern chicken pasta.
When one restaurant closes, open another: that's the Brian Gump way.
A little more than year ago, the Toledo area restaurateur closed the doors to B. Gumps, a Sylvania restaurant he managed and co-owned. He's already back in business with West Side Bistro, a West Toledo eatery on Secor Road.
Despite being open for a few months now, frosted tint on the doors of the restaurant gives passersby the impression that the space is vacant. Once inside, however, we were impressed. The red-and-marble-looking walls, vintage-style chandeliers, low lighting, and soft music created a sultry upscale vibe that was only slightly disrupted by the televisions at the bar.
Several nights a week, local bands perform on the small stage in the back of the restaurant. We missed the shows during both our visits.
On our first visit, we ordered the southwestern chicken pasta ($17), a colorful blend of peppers and onions, with roasted chicken and fettuccine, tossed in a cheesy cream sauce. The sauce was zesty and flavorful with just enough of a kick to spice up the dish. The chicken was tender and juicy.
We also tried the Wisconsin burger ($11.50), a thick beefy patty, topped with smoked cheddar and thick slices of hickory bacon. The bacon and cheese were a nice addition but couldn't mask the tasteless patty. This burger needs some seasoning or spices.
Address: 3324 Secor Rd., Suite 10.
Hours: 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average price: $$-$$$
Credit cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good; ★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
Service was pleasant during both our visits. During our second go-round, our waitress did her best to answer our questions, but didn't seem knowledgeable when it came to the menu, often checking with kitchen staff for answers.
We started with Teriyaki duck wings ($11) on our second stop. Served over rice sticks, the drummettes were wrapped in a crispy coating and glazed with a sticky, sweet and salty Teriyaki sauce. The wings were a nice deviation from the normal chicken wings found on most restaurant menus.
The Tandoori ($18) salmon, a grilled salmon filet with citrus curry sauce, was good, but lacking. The fish was moist, tender, and grilled perfectly, but the sauce didn't have the citrus flavor the menu promised.
The house sirloin ($16) was seasoned with a coffee rub, pan-seared and drizzled with a Demi glace, a rich and flavorful brown sauce. The meat was tender enough to cut with a butter knife and its flavor was heightened by the robust java.
The menu also boasts a number of salads, flatbread pizzas, jambalaya, lobster roll, and many other items.
There are a few kinks to work out, but given time, West Side Bistro could prove to have staying power.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.