Outfitted with black tablecloths, framed art, cushy booths, and carpeted floors, Black Pearl’s dining room is a comfortable space that leaves plenty of room for romance to flicker in the low light. In this, it’s well matched to the menu: a selection of pastas, steaks, and seafood with options to suit occasions ranging from a quick lunch to a grand night out. Tender prime rib stars in both hearty surf ‘n’ turf entrees and a slew of sandwiches and salads. The Blade noted that the signature cut—a carryover from the restaurant’s previous incarnation as HJ’s Prime Cut—“continues to be superb,” while also praising lake perch that’s “tender and sweet, with a light breading that doesn't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the fish.”
Beyond the dining room with its arched windows and hanging lamps is a fully stocked bar whose tenders pour beer and mix martinis, including a line of signature drinks made with midnight-dark Blavod Black vodka. Armchairs clustered around low tables and a single flat-screen television introduce a clubby vibe. But the restaurant's most intriguing seats may lie just beyond the front door, where curving half-walls painted with a Rothko-esque design swoop around a party-friendly circular table.
The recipes at Rosie’s Italian Grille have spanned oceans and generations to appeal to present-day senses with aromatic Old World fare. Born in Montelepre, Sicily, Rosie immigrated to the United States in 1924, bundling with her a cache of culinary treasures mapped from mother to daughter. When the first Rosie’s Italian Grille opened on Sylvania Avenue, her three sons asserted that the hardest part of the entire enterprise was “translating her recipes.”
Today, executive chef Eric Kish continues to translate and update Rosie's culinary blueprints, marrying traditional and modern influences in a menu that boasts fine steaks, award-winning pizzas, seafood flown in from the Florida Keys, and fresh-baked desserts lauded for their presentation by the Toledo Blade. In the 27 years since the original Rosie’s opened, guests have delighted in not just the food, but the Tuscan-themed setting illuminated by flickering candlelight, which is more romantic than the flickering of a tableside cardiograph.
Started in 1964 in Yermo, California, the Del Taco quick-serve restaurant chain now spans 17 states with over 530 stores, speedily serving south-of-the-border fare along with hearty American burgers. All menu items are made-to-order using fresh ingredients, such as freshly-grated cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, slow-cooked beans, and marinated grilled chicken. Several variations of tacos cradle meats such as chicken, steak, and crispy fish between corn tortillas, and burritos range from the small, intimate half-pound bean and cheese to the meaty Macho style, which refuses to ask for directions on road trips. Signature sauces, such as Del Inferno, Del Scorcho, or Mild sauce may be smothered onto any menu item for added zest. A drive-through hands out cheesy quesadillas throughout the late-night hours, passing the time until the sunrise's yellow, orange, and red hues announce its hunger for breakfast, which is served all day, including biscuit and muffin sandwiches, and breakfast burritos filled with eggs, cheese, sausage, or bacon.
Balance Pan-Asian Grille is a grassroots Asian-American restaurant. Their staff believes that every restaurant should be like theirs?one that serves from-scratch, healthy food made from fresh ingredients, noting that if customers wanted a microwaved meal, they wouldn?t go out to eat. The name Balance is a reference to restaurant's flavorful bowls, which contain a balance of proteins, carbs, and vegetables.
In the kitchen, Head Chef Jang, who worked for years at his parents' traditional Chinese restaurant, heats up the wok to create fusion recipes such as sweet butternut squash soup and vegan potstickers. He also cooks vegetarian and vegan dishes built on brown rice, salad greens, and tofu. Jang and his staffers often design their seasonal menus using fresh, farm-to-table ingredients, and they eschew any produce or proteins that are classified as genetically modified organisms or that have been handled by robots at any point during the harvesting process.
Say it's 1 a.m., you've got some friends over, and everyone is hungry. As if the late hour doesn't complicate the situation enough, you've got one friend who wants tacos, another who's championing gyros, and you're craving pizza. Enter The Oasis Restaurant & Delivery: a small family of eateries that delivers late night and packs all of the aforementioned dishes onto one menu.
The menu's custom New York–style pizzas can be topped with anything from meatballs to sauerkraut, and its quesadillas and tacos overflow with fillings such as pulled pork and battered cod. There's plenty of Italian eats as well—including oven-baked pasta and stromboli—alongside a thoroughly American lineup of burgers, all-beef hot dogs, and fried chicken shaped like the 50 states. Recent additions to the menu include wings in one of 13 sauces and Oasis melts—grilled cheeses stuffed with corned beef, bacon, or barbecued pulled pork.
When Lori Jacobs and Dana Iliev first opened all-cupcake bakery Cake in a Cup, they spent more than six months experimenting with flavors; they tried at least one new recipe each day, according to The Blade. Those months of experimentation paid off in 2011 when Jacobs and Iliev won the top prize on an episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network Channel.
Their winning cupcake, which wowed judges with its notes of dark chocolate and stout beer and its inventive design, is representative of the creative flavors you'll find inside the bakery. Guinness Black & Tan, white chocolate mandarin, and savory-sweet Millionaire Bacon are a few regulars on the weekly cupcake roster.