Monday, February 15, 2010


Ambrosia Grille & Lounge
1500 Holland Road
Maumee, OH 43537
Lunch, dinner, carry out
M-Th 11am to 10pm
F/S 11am to 11pm
Sun 11am-10pm

Ambrosia is the reincarnation of Mezzmerize, a short lived Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurant that captivated Toledo with it's elegant interior, beautiful wrought iron embellished patio and impressive wine list. This time the Detroit based property owners, Amin and Aida Beshara, decided to bring their combined experience and talents to the restaurant instead of leasing the space to another entrepreneur. This difference is immediately noticeable as the couple and their daughter are on site during business hours, ready to answer questions and ensure friendly and conscientious service.

The result of this family effort is a broader menu with moderately priced Syrian-Lebanese favorites and other popular dishes from Southern European countries along the Mediterranean Sea. The new menu offers lunch and dinner portions for most dishes with a price reduction for the lunch size (The prices listed in this article are dinner prices).

On my first visit, we ordered the "Middle Eastern Sampler" which included hummus, baba ghannnouj, tabbouli, and a spicy herb infused olive oil ($8). It was served with small pita bread that arrived at our table warm and freshly puffed up from the oven. We also had a well seasoned, piping hot, crispy order of falafel patties served with tahini ($6).

I also sampled the crushed lentil soup ($3 cup/$4 bowl). If you've never had Middle Eastern lentil soup, you are in for a sensory delight. It is a hearty combination of whole and crushed lentils as well as finely chopped vegetables. My dining companion ordered the house salad ($5) which is served with a lemon juice, pomegranate, olive oil and sumac dressing that is so uniquely refreshing you will want the staff to bottle it so you can take it home with you.

For dinner, I ordered the Chicken Shawarma ($15). While the chicken was flavorful, the vegetable medley could be upgraded to fresh Lubia for the same healthy and colorful balance on the plate. The couscous was molded in to a small dome and contained peas and carrots that had lost their color before reaching the table. My friend ordered the roasted lamb shank ($17). It arrived perfectly braised and falling off the bone. The Mediterranean combination of rosemary, garlic, tomato and red wine was divine.

All entrees are served with a choice of soup or salad and accompanied by a vegetable blend and your choice of roasted red skin potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, french fries, or Couscous.

While none of the desserts is prepared in house, the baklava ($3.50) is a safe bet for sweet, flaky, nutty bliss. I would like to return to sample the variety of pizzas, sandwiches, and fish dishes on the menu.

The restaurant is quite lovely with back lit art glass installations, stone masonry, granite table tops, and contemporary lighting. There are also enormous framed color photographs of Mediterranean landscapes (see The Beshara family's attention to detail extends to the lovely table service composed of stoneware dishes and platters, over-sized stemware, and weighty silverware. It is a great place for "date night", entertaining clients, or an intimate conversation as the booths offer privacy and the space really is special. The secondary dining rooms can be made smaller for groups of eight to twelve or expanded to accommodate large parties. The family style meal service and variety of menu items will also make Ambrosia a great place for private events on any budget.

“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

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