The outdoor patio on the Maumee Riverfront isn?t the only reminder of Forrester?s on the River?s location. Inside the main foyer, a rowboat full of poinsettias sits underneath a model sailboat suspended from the ceiling. The nautically themed entrance gives way to a spacious dining room where flat-screen televisions broadcast the latest updates on sporting events. With this happy commotion as a backdrop, the rich aroma of chef's steak-house cuisine wafts from tables and booths. To make those dishes, he draws upon ingredients such as Lake Erie perch, which flakes apart picturesquely when battered in beer and served alongside hand-cut fries. Steaks aged in the restaurant and cut by hand serve as a hearty foundation for pub fare including soft pretzels with housemade beer cheese.
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.
Steaks and seafood are the Mango Tree specialties, but chefs have more than a few surprises up their sleeves. Just look at the appetizers menu: there's escargot, saut?ed in garlic butter and bobbing alongside mushroom caps. There's clam chowder, filled to the brim with sea-fresh clams, and there's deep-fried alligator, which arrives with Cajun dipping sauce. On the seafood-entr?e menu, oceanic appetites ford a list of sea scallops, coconut shrimp, and mahi-mahi?along with unexpected bites including frog legs. Steaks include the filet mignon, new york strip, and the steak montreal, which is marinated overnight so that the staff's highly trained vampire chefs can help season it. Mango chicken?one of the house specialties, along with the grilled lamb chops and the steak montreal?warms bellies with shrimp and Muenster.
The Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani only honors the most authentic Neapolitan pizza with its seal of certification. The pies at 5th St. Pub make the cut. Perhaps it’s the dough recipe penned 150 years ago. Or maybe it’s the fresh veggies and imported Italian meats and cheeses that chefs pile on top of the menu’s traditional and creative pizzas. Regardless, a slice of margherita or bruschetta pesto pizza complements a craft beer or glass of wine.
Dim lighting provides the perfect casual setting for a game of pool or a half-pound burger at Trotters Tavern. The neighborhood establishment serves hearty sirloin steaks alongside yellow Lake Erie perch and classic BLTs. To pair your meal with an evening of entertainment, check the tavern?s events calendar for sports viewing and live music by the Jeff McDonald Band.
Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi's well-traveled owners, Mel and Barb Ayers, unite the culinary artistry of Japan with chefs selected from around America for their talents and showmanship. The result—set in a convivial restaurant with an outdoor patio and tableside hibachi grills—draws a bridge between the artistic elegance of Japanese cuisine and the family-friendly atmosphere of an American steakhouse. Meats sizzle on hibachi grills as chefs perform knife and spatula tricks for dazzled onlookers, who must refrain from leaning in too close lest a tower of onions suddenly catches fire. The spectacular dance of flames results in entrees of filet mignon, sea scallops, and lobster tails, all of which pair nicely with sushi such as a crab-filled california roll or a Volcano roll drizzled with fresh magma.