Maybe Bruce Gradkowski has a menu attached to that clipboard he carries on the sidelines as the backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. If so, the former University of Toledo star really knows how to call plays.
Gradkowski's second restaurant is a gastropub called Social, housed in the former Arnie's at Levis , 25818 Dixie Hwy., in Perrysburg. It contains an open dining room with mix of square tables and longer, rustic "social" tables.
We were told Social's menu changes every two months, but here's hoping the kitchen staff doesn't call an audible on the short rib beef stroganoff ($15.50) and instead allows it to become a house staple. The beef is so tender and pairs nicely with mushroom sherry cream sauce, cremini mushrooms, and pappardelle noodles. The dish is a meal in itself, and if you're a first-time diner, it can't be recommended enough.
★ ★ ★ ★
Address: 25818 Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg
Category: Business casual.
Menu: New American.
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Reservations accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$-$$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: Facebook page
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good;
★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
The bacon-wrapped meatloaf ($13.70) left just as favorable an impression. The house-made barbecue sauce — sweet with notes of cherries — could make just about anything taste good. Add slabs of bacon and the dense mound of meatloaf, and we were in foodie heaven.
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The Baja fish tacos ($17.50) were overflowing with ingredients, the best of which is the crunchy and tangy slaw which is complemented well by the generous amounts of creamy avocado. The salmon is a nice touch, but there isn't enough of it to not get overpowered by the strong flavors of the toppings. The restaurant (and customer) could save a few bucks with a less expensive fish without affecting the flavor of the dish. The three tacos are finished with a cilantro sour cream and served with seasoned thin cut french fries. You have to be really hungry to clear the plate of all that food.
The grilled chop ($14.10) is a thick and juicy bone-in pork chop covered with a thin layer of goat cheese with an accompaniment of thinly sliced cinnamon apples. It's served with chunky mashed potatoes made rich with goat cheese and the vegetable of the day, which was roasted brussels sprouts.
The fried deviled eggs ($7.60) are an interesting appetizer option. As the name implies, the eggs are covered with a light, salty coating and fried. The creamy texture of the egg with the light crunch of the coating with flavors of cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and scallions is delicious.
The queso dip ($9.20) has a nice spice from the chorizo and pablano peppers and is served with soft tortillas. The dip itself is more melted cheese rather than a liquid cheese sauce — a nice upgrade.
The Oreo cupcakes ($5) for dessert are rich and delicious. Not only do the chocolate stout cupcakes mimic the appearance of Oreos with their tops off, they are topped with a thick creamy frosting that tastes pretty close to the filling of an Oreo cookie, but better. A cookie is tucked inside and the plate is served with fried Oreos as well.
The noise level in the dining room is pretty loud on weeknights and even more so on weekends, but the atmosphere remains welcoming and relaxing.
There is a gorgeous and large bar at the back of the restaurant, containing 16 craft beers on tap and myriad sipping bourbons. There are also 13 flat-screen TVs dispersed throughout, which might make sense on game days, but who really needs the distraction during dinner?
We only had two complaints: There was way too much aioli on the fried bologna sandwich ($9.40), which made it inedible after just a few bites; the creamy sliced parsnips and spinach side dish had a lot of nutmeg flavor and was too similar in texture to the mashed potatoes. But the menu changes often, so maybe those issues will be addressed.
The wait staff is knowledgeable and attentive, and it's hard to believe how wallet-friendly the food is. Social is a wonderful spot to celebrate a touchdown or two.
Contact Bill of Fare at email@example.com.