Monday, March 08, 2010

Swig: Charcuterie and Suds for The Curious

219 Louisiana Avenue
Perrysburg, OH 43551

Kitchen Hours: M-Sat 11am to 11pm
Sun 12am - 9pm

Fri/Sat nights: the bar stays open til 1pm with acoustic live music at 9pm
Starting in May...the patio will feature live music on Thursday nights from 7-11pm (weather permitting).

What has 19 beer taps, 50 assorted bottled beers, 11 varieties of homemade sausage, Scotch eggs, two types of homemade french fries, and the friendliest service in Northwest Ohio? SWIG, that's who.

What SWIG lacks in interior charm, it more than compensates for with it's diverse menu and extensive beer options. The restaurant looks like a cross between a retro-diner and a small town road house. It's charming in a no frills way. My dining companion and I ordered one of each of the house specialties, a few draft beers and quickly determined that SWIG needs to become a habit. We are both looking forward to a warm summer evening on the patio drinking beer, listening to live music, and eating the best homemade sausages this town has ever seen!

I had to find out how the partners of this humble establishment chose to open a charcuterie in Perrysburg (Charcuterie is a French word that translates to "cooked meat" or refers to a place where processed meats are made and sold). The on-premise partner, Tony Bilancini, comes from a life in the kitchen including years with Chez Francois, in Vermillion Ohio. Tony learned the art of charcuterie from this experience and others during his unique and varied career path.

My dining companion and I sampled the gyro sausage ($3.95) and the Chicago style hot dog ($2.50). Both were served on a traditional hot dog bun. The Chicago dog is an all beef dog served with Chicago style sweet pickle relish, tomato, "sport pepper", onion, and mustard. The first thing you notice is that a homemade beef hot dog tastes like beef - not like it's ball park cousin that is more like a salt lick. The next thing you sense is the kick from the "sport pepper". It's subtle against the sweetness of the relish but perfectly balanced by the savory mustard. The gyro sausage combines lamb and beef with Greek seasonings and is served on a bun with shaved lettuce, onion, tomato, and tzatziki sauce (sour cream and cucumber sauce). Again, it bears no resemblance to the lackluster flavor of gyro meat that has been spinning on a spit for a week and a half before being shaved in to a typical American version of this Greek classic. The lamb sausage at SWIG tastes more like a slice of butterflied lamb.

From there, we moved on to the "reversed hot wings" ($6.75 for 10 wings). We were both a little skeptical of tossing fried wings in ranch dressing and then dipping them in to the house made barbecue sauce...and we were oh so wrong. The hot Parmesan garlic sauce (HPGS) is out of this world. Order a basket of wings and a side of the HPGS ($.50) the minute you are greeted by your server. It will blow you away and make the cold beer taste even better.

The fish and chips ($7.99) are made from fillets of white fish dipped in a London pub worthy batter and deep fried to piping hot and crunchy bliss. The french fries are hand cut and crispier than you might expect from fresh fries. We also tried the hand cut sweet potato fries ($2.95). They are a particularly good choice if you are a woman that MUST have the lusty combination of salty and sweet flavors to satiate your premenstrual or pregnancy food cravings. No joke. I suspect if you order a "skinny bi%$* beer and a basket of PMS treats" they will smile knowingly and get your order to you very quickly.

Swig is a great place to enjoy a mid-week casual dinner with friends, coworkers or family and an ideal spot for a moderately priced "date night". If you know how to savor a great beer and appreciate a more healthy twist on traditional pub fare, you will love SWIG. If your hormones are raging and your family is worried that you might turn in to a werewolf if you don't get some relief...this is the place to soothe your soul with comforting tastes and quench your thirst with the best beer selection in the area (N.B., The Glass City Gourmet is not a physician and all pregnancy disclaimers apply!).

“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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