Delicious dishes from seven seriously different restaurants comprise our 2017 Food Challenge. This year, it’s all about the Menu Must Tries— each restaurant offered a “signature” dish that their clientele is crazy for. Does the gastropub have the chops to beat the buffet? Can BBQ best all comers, or is this year of the fresh salad? You decide.
VOTING HAS ENDED
3302 Secor Rd.
419- 536-0471 | vaquerorestaurant.com
“Specialty” could mean anything on the menu at El Vaquero, from their handmade margaritas to the guacamole made at your table, it’s all authentic and excellent. The Enchiladas Cazerola gets the nod here. The moment your fork dips through the rolled tortillas, you’re in for a treat. Served spicy with green chilis, red sauce, green onions and sour cream, this dish comes with shredded chicken, beef or pork— you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Crispy Duck Wings
The Oliver House
27 Broadway St.
419-243-1302 | mbaybrew.com
In a city with no shortage of flavored wings, experience the gourmet excellence that is The Oliver House’s Crispy Duck Wings. Putting a spin on flavor, this eight-piece order lures you in with its ginger scent even before you take a bite. Truly scintillating is how the chili, soy and ginger flavors each stand out, yet blend into a sweet and spicy eating experience.
Sweet Georgette Salad
Georgette’s Fair Trade Grounds & Gifts
311 Conant St., Maumee
419-891-8888 | georgettes.org
Salad like this can be the ultimate entrée! The Sweet Georgette salad is comprised of lettuce topped with craisins, asiago cheese, walnuts, Granny Smith apples bathed in a raspberry vinaigrette (or choose other dressing options). A little bit sweet, a little bit tart and a whole lot of fresh. While you’re deciding on the best entrée on this list, we’ll be here, eating this Sweet Georgette salad.
7402 W. Central Ave.
419-517-7777 | citybbq.com
“Low and slow” is the mantra at City Barbeque, which just underwent a complete remodel and reopening. Smoked for up to 18 hours, the brisket at the center of their More Cowbell sandwich is smoky tenderness. This sandwich does Toledo proud. Stacked with meat, peppers, onions, smoked provolone and horseradish, the More Cowbell is here to compete. We’ve got a fever and the only cure is…
Asian Grilled Chicken
Hong Kong Buffet
3015 Glendale Ave.
419-389-1888 | toledohongkongbuffet.com
Try Hong Kong Buffet’s Asian Grilled Chicken. Juicy is an understatement and Toledoans have come to expect that quality from this diverse eatery that offers fresh sushi and a hibachi station. A hint of sweetness offsets the onions here, providing an excellent taste from a restaurant where the buffet never ends.
Zaza’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Mediterranean Cuisine
3550 Executive Pkwy.
419-531-2400 | zazam.openmobileone.com
Wood-fired might be the best kind of pizza and Zaza’s does wood-fired pizza the right way — a thin, crispy crust topped with fresh ingredients, served hot. The Diavola, brings beef pepperoni and roasted peppers together, married with olive oil and fresh mozzarella. Crushed red peppers bring a bit of spice to this excellent pie. Zaza’s has a lot of fantastic-looking pizzas to choose from: do your taste buds a favor and start with the Diavola.
Barr’s Public House
3355 Briarfield Blvd., Maumee
419-866-8466 | barrspublichouse.com
At the moment when the chipotle mayo meets the thick-cut bacon, you might ask yourself if this is the best bite of anything you will ever have. Barr’s Public House tops the bacon in their BL Tacos with organic field greens, tomatoes, shallots paired sensibly with parmesan truffle fries. “Everybody loves bacon and everybody loves tacos,” Chef Dustin Schoenhofer said simply. “And there’s a quarter pound of bacon on these.” Damn. ‘Nuff said.