How your meat at Sylvania eatery is cooked is up to you.
Stone grilling at the Smokehouse Bistro in Sylvania is a unique and delightful dining experience.
The food is brought to the table on a scorching 752-degree volcanic stone, and how your meat is cooked is up to you. That’s right. You are in control.
There is no “excuse me, waiter, I asked for well done and my steak is only medium.”
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Address: 7625 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average price: $$$
Credit cards: MC, V, D, AE
Website: Facebook page
Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good; ★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
You make that choice.
I’ll come back to our experience with the stone later.
MENU: Smokehouse Bistro
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We focused on nonstone items during our first trip to the restaurant, which opened in May. My friend and I arrived at the Kroger plaza at Sylvania and King on a Monday evening. The bistro, with its full bar, 10 televisions, and about 20 tables, was half full and I took advantage of a daily special.
On Mondays, an 8-ounce burger with fries is $5, normally $8. This deal represents one side of the vast range in prices the Smokehouse Bistro offers. (The $5 sandwich is a far cry from the $38 20-ounce porterhouse steak.) Loaded with lettuce, three slices of tomato, four slices of pickles served on the side, and a slice of American cheese, the burger is a solid and reasonably priced choice. The fries were extra salty with black pepper sprinkled on top.
The board in the restaurant’s vestibule lists the daily/weekly specials and so does the Smokehouse Bistro Facebook page. For example, from Feb. 11 through Feb. 14 the restaurant is offering dinner for two Valentine's Day specials.
Back at our dinner, my friend settled on the full rack of babyback ribs ($24). The ribs were slathered with a spicy sauce per our waitress’ recommendation over the Carolina sweet and dry rub alternatives.
The slow-cooked, low-smoked ribs were tasty and fall-off-the-bone tender, but off the top of my head, I could think of a handful of places in the Toledo area with better ribs and better sauce. Basically, they were good, but not the greatest. My companion’s two sides were mac and cheese and french fries.
On our next visit, a Saturday night, we opted to test out the stone grilling and entered into a packed house. Every table was full, and, unfortunately, service was slowed to a crawl.
We started with the embers appetizer ($9), sort of a deep-fried Reuben sandwich served wonton style with a thousand island dipping sauce. If you’re thinking “that sounds good,” you are correct. It was.
As for the stone grill, for the not-so-adventurous, the restaurant does offer to cook the food in the kitchen. But where’s the fun in that?
My friend ordered the stone-grill six large scallops ($26) and I ordered the 18-ounce ribeye ($29).
When our waitress finally brought our food, she was happy to assist us in cooking directions and apologized for the wait. Both dishes were served raw, but sizzling on the stone. She recommended cutting a small piece off the steak, let it cook on both sides for about 45 seconds, and then enjoy.
For the scallops, she recommended cutting them in half for a faster, more thorough cooking time. It’s seafood; you need to be smart when preparing the dish.
The entrees also come with garlic salt and butter to use as a base so the meats do not stick to the stone.
The ribeye was excellent. I know what I want in a steak and know how to cook it. It was to my do-it-myself liking. In addition to the butter and garlic salt, I added a red wine demi glaze on the side ($2). The glaze was super thick and the steak was great without it. Order mushrooms and onions if you so desire. There are many topping options.
My friend found the scallops appetizing but was left wanting more after finishing the six. He seemed to get a hang of cooking them.
We each got mac and cheese, which was warm this time, I think because of how busy they were. My other side was dirty rice, served piping hot and zesty, and my friend enjoyed his slaw.
For dessert they had cheesecake from Eston’s Bakery ($8 a slice). Our helpful waitress convinced me to order the chocolate cheesecake, but then said they just ran out. Instead, we tried the raspberry cheesecake with its glaze and white chocolate shavings. Delicious.
Overall, we were pleased with our experience at the Smokehouse Bistro. If you’re looking for something a little different, try their stone grilling sometime. Or don’t. Either way, you're bound to find something to enjoy at this young eatery.
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