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TOLEDO: Real Seafood Company

 

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TOP PHOTO: Toledo skyline BOTTOM PHOTO: The Docks, Toledo.

There’s something magical about the water. The salty air, the breeze that sweeps your face, and when the sun shines on it, how that water glistens.

I really wanted to be near the water this past weekend. Living in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey growing up, I remember from being a little kid up until now always connecting with water, whether it be a beach, lake, pond, etc.

This past week I was really craving that experience. Cincinnati and Columbus are both cities I’ve been to here in Ohio that are on the water, but as I love to explore and venture to new cities, I decided to travel north to Toledo.

When traveling to any new city, a great guide to check out before you go is the city’s tourism (CVB) website. In this case, I was browsing Destination Toledo for my “plan.”

Perusing the restaurant section, I read about this place near the water called “The Docks,” in which the website described it as the following:

“Discover acclaimed waterfront dining at The Docks, a restaurant complex on the banks of the Maumee River. Savor daily fresh catches from Real Seafood Co., which also features a raw oyster bar. ”

I immediately knew I needed to check this out. After driving through the downtown area (which reminded me of the city of Dayton except Toledo on a huge body of water), I drove over to The Docks, which is directly across the Toledo skyline (see picture above, great photo opportunities here!)

I got there in the afternoon, so it was perfect timing for lunch. I had a choice to make, there were choices such as  Zia’s, an Italian restaurant, Real Seafood Company with its fresh seafood, El Vaquero at The Docks, Mexican food.

Of those three, I next consulted with the app Urbanspoon for user reviews of these restaurants.

After reading them, ultimately, my gut was saying, “I WANT SEAFOOD!”

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I’m SO glad I made that choice. Here’s why:

Lobster!
Lobster!

The atmosphere: Immediately walking into the restaurant, I was impressed by the decor, and the friendly waitstaff. Right off the bat the staff were very kind and as the hostess escorted me to my table, I had told her how it was my first time to Toledo. The waiter I had overheard this, and later in the meal, chatted with me about Toledo, as well as Dayton (he used to come to the Gem City to visit). Two words to sum up the decor: classy and bold. There are details in the walls, from the nautical paintings that were painted on the walls, to the words above the open kitchen listing the fish the restaurant serves, to the colorful display on the wall that’s near the restrooms, to one part of the restaurant with the beautiful mesh covering a section of booths. This restaurant is HUGE,  an open floor plan that has different levels, including a big glass fireplace in the middle of the restaurant you can be seated next to. There’s a hanging lobster from the ceiling (see picture above!). The seating itself was comfortable, tables and chairs as well as booths (I sat in a booth). And with it being right on the water, there were great views of the Toledo skyline that you can sit and look at. Another thing I loved, love songs were playing throughout the restaurant (i.e. “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal).

What I ate/drank: Rolls, bleu cheese cole slaw, Parmesan Encrusted George’s Bank Lemon Sole with skillet fried hash brown potatoes , chocolate decadence cake, diet coke.

Price: The Parmesan encrusted sole was $14.95, which came with the homemade rolls and bleu cheese cole slaw, on top of the side dish of the hash browns.

With the cake, diet cokes, and tip, I paid a total of  $31.90.

My thoughts: When I first got there, I had asked the waiter to break down for me the popular dishes. He explained how the fish is fresh caught and fresh delivered to the restaurant each morning. He took me through the lunch menu and which fresh fish I should look out for, the featured specials (which change frequently), but it was when he got excited about the Parmesan encrusted sole in the lemon sauce, I got excited and was sold on that. The service was a good pace: I wasn’t rushed yet the food came out at a reasonable time. The waiter first brought out warm homemade rolls with perfectly cut triangles of butter.

House made rolls. These came with my lunch entree.
House made rolls. These came with my lunch entree.

The fact these were served warm really made them amazing. When you cut these open, there’s fresh garlic inside, on top of the poppy and sesame seeds you see on the top there. They were light and not overly dough-y. Delicious.

Homemade bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette
Homemade bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette

The waiter then brought a small dish of its homemade bleu cheese cole slaw. It wasn’t the creamy kind, which I loved. The cole slaw was light, the vegetables were crunchy, not soggy, and the blend of the big chunks of bleu cheese and the fresh black pepper I had the waiter put on was a great “appetizer” before the main event.

PARMESAN ENCRUSTED GEORGE’S BANK LEMON SOLE.
PARMESAN ENCRUSTED GEORGE’S BANK LEMON SOLE with skillet fried hash brown potatoes, $14.95 (LUNCH PORTION)

The main event was incredible. I’ve had a fair share of seafood in my life thus far, and this was really some of the best I’ve had. The crust and the lemon sauce really brought it over the top, along with the scallion garnish. The sole itself was cooked great (moist, not dry, bright white inside). The crust was crisp but not super greasy. The lemon sauce, paired with the Parmesan from the crust was a nice sweet/savory blend I enjoyed. And the waiter recommended I get the hash browns crispy, which I’m glad I did, because those were great too, not greasy, but with a great crunch.

Homemade decadence chocolate cake.
Homemade decadence chocolate cake.

My sweet tooth couldn’t resist the also homemade chocolate decadence cake: a flourless chocolate cake in a tart berry sauce. It was magic. Creamy, chocolate filled bites of heaven.

Why you should go:  The seafood was some of the best I’ve ever had. The atmosphere is beautiful: you can take in views of the city of Toledo on the water while enjoying VERY fresh seafood. The restaurant is a 2014 Diners Choice winner from the popular online reservation site OpenTable, and if you go on a busy night or weekend, especially now that its getting warmer, I recommend making a reservation either on that website or by phone. If you go in the afternoon however, you won’t have trouble getting a table. The restaurant also has a six-foot raw bar with clams, mussels, and other fresh catches. The restaurant is so big it can accommodate big parties as well.  And if you don’t love seafood,  not to worry. The menu also has chicken and steak entrees as well as a variety of sandwiches and burgers. There’s something for everyone. As I flat out said on my personal Facebook page, RUN, don’t walk to Real Seafood Company!

Location/Hours:
22 Main St.
Toledo, OH 43605

Reservations at:
(888) 456-3463 (DINE)

Hours of Operation
Mon-Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm
Friday 11:00am-11:00pm
Saturday 11:30am-11:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm

Happy Hours
Sunday-Friday 4:00pm-Close (drink specials end at 9:00pm)
(Bar & lounge area only)

realseafoodcotoledo.com

DAYTON: Fusian

I’ve been dreaming of trying this place for a few weeks now. It’s just been locked in my brain: “Kat, you must go to Fusian, you must go to Fusian.”

Before I get into the restaurant itself and the food, I first want to say that I really was not sure if I was going to find good sushi here in Ohio.

Was I dead WRONG.

I love the sushi I’ve discovered at the Kroger near where I live, but I’ll tell you, after having the rolls from Fusian tonight, after eating the first bite of one of the rolls I literally said “Oh my GOD!” under my breath sitting by myself at the table. Deliciousness in EVERY bite.

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The atmosphere:  Located in the food-centric area near the University of Dayton (friends, Brown St. has a gazillion restaurants all in one area. Definitely check it out!), it’s an airy, open space with tons of natural light coming in from the floor to ceiling windows in front. From the pictures above and below, there’s a lot of great lighting fixtures, and tons of seating, whether you want to sit more towards the ground at a table, or at the counter space in the middle, or there’s another counter space in front of the windows in front. Relaxed, chill music plays as you eat. Napkins, and soy sauces (low sodium and regular, yay!), at every table.

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What I ate: I ordered two rolls that I customized. You can build your own rolls at Fusian (which is SO cool). I ordered a spicy salmon roll and a steak roll. For the spicy salmon roll, I got soy paper as my wrapper, then avocado, summer squash, scallions, carrots, then put spicy mayo and crunchies on top. For the steak roll, I was going to get a full steak roll but I came across the crab mix and decided to get half steak, half crab. I got soy paper for that one too, and inside is avocado, carrots, asparagus, then wasabi mayo and crunchies on top.

Spicy salmon roll.
Spicy salmon roll.

 

Steak and crab mix roll.
Steak and crab mix roll.

 

Price: $18.94 (for the two rolls and a fountain beverage). Awesome deal! $20 bill very well spent.

My thoughts: Holy moly. This was honestly some of the BEST sushi I’ve had in life thus far. No joke. As I said before, I literally talked to myself at the table, saying “Oh my GOD” under my breath, as to how awesome it was. I was very impressed with how fresh the ingredients were and how you control what goes into your rolls, versus most of the time when you have to pick out rolls already thought up of at the sushi bars. The two rolls I put together had great flavor combinations. The meal was light, I was full without being stuffed, and I felt like I had put clean, healthy food in my mouth versus getting fast food. I will say I loved the spicy mayo more than the wasabi mayo if I had to choose sauces tonight. But I’ll tell you, I was either eating these rolls up quick, or slowing myself down because I really wanted to savor each little piece of the roll. Also, look at how much FOOD you get for $18 including a drink. I have 20 pieces of rolls right here. And with fresh ginger and wasabi in the middle too (which made me tear up, that’s definitely a sign of good wasabi).

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What else is on the menu:  Besides being able to customize and build your own roll, you can choose from one of the suggested rolls, such as the California roll (inside-out seaweed wrap, crab mix, avocado, cucumber, sweet soy, and sesame seed), spicy salmon (seaweed wrap, salmon, cream cheese, green onion,carrot, spicy mayo, and sesame seed), or surf and turf (seaweed wrap, braised steak, crab mix, cucumber, asparagus, wasabi mayo, sweet soy, and sesame chili). As far as sides go, you can get carrot-ginger salad, cucumber salad, seaweed salad, spicy edamame and miso soup. They’ve also introduced kale chips to the menu. For drinks, you can get sodas, water (with fruit in it, which to me was major kudos to them!), hot tea, beer and sake.

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Why you should go: Plain and simple: you’re not going to find this specific concept in most places. If you check out the website, the story behind the restaurant is one reason to head there in itself. Three friends from childhood (whom I must say, are very good looking men!), took it upon themselves to have a fast, fresh, casual sushi restaurant. There’s one in the Cincinnati area, one in Dayton on Brown St., and there’s also one in Columbus. The concept looks similar to Chipotle, where there’s the counter with the assembly line, but that’s the incredibly fun part about it. How many times can you say you are able to go to a counter like this one, order your meat or fish, pick out the sushi wrapper you want, all the fillers, the sauces, and watch it be rolled and sliced right in front of your eyes (and if you’re wondering, these guys have machines to not only put the wrappers and rice together, but to slice the rolls too, the kids will love watching this!). Three more reasons I love Fusian’s concept: they stand by having all plant-based eco-friendly packaging materials such as the cups and straws, and its wastebaskets are separated into three columns: compost (where you put your trash and chopsticks and cups etc.), baskets (what the sushi comes in, plastic baskets), and recyclables (bottles and glass).  There’s also use of local produce, such as the summer squash coming from a farm out of Brookville, Ohio.

Compostable soy sauce cups!
Compostable soy sauce cups!

These guys BELIEVE in the power of healthy eating in our schools. The following video was another reason I wanted to make the trip to Fusian:

They’ve made a community initiative to serve sushi in schools in Dayton. How freaking cool is that?

Hats off to you three, keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂 Love, love LOVE this place. It’s a must go in my book!

Location/Hours:

1200 Brown St.
Dayton OH, 45409

p. 937.223.5173
f. 937.223.5149

hours:
monday-friday 11a – 10p
saturday-sunday 11a – 10p

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