BGump's 101 Restaurant and Lounge in Sylvania is so close to success it's a shame to see it barely miss the mark. Lack of business might be to blame, but the brains behind the menu are not.
A compilation of meat-and-potato favorites paired with exotic dishes and Cajun flavors -- a product of executive chef Chris Denman, the former executive chef at Table Forty 4 in downtown Toledo -- are the framework for a great eatery.
Taste of Jamaica wings ($9), Jive Turkey Burger ($10), crawfish etouffee ($18), and penne with Cajun chicken and chipotle crawfish ($17) are a few of the spicier options to go along with entrees such as black angus meatloaf ($15) and good, old-fashioned sirloin ($16) and ribeye ($14-$22).
The venue combines bar nightlife with fine dining. It is located at 5147 Main St., and is the latest tenant in a location that has seen the life and death of a few restaurants in only a couple of years, including Madison's on Main, Louis G's, and then SouthBriar. BGump's is owned by Dave Anderson and restaurant manager Brian Gump.
The interior is modern and welcoming and can be rented for banquets or private parties. Fresh colors and chic lighting provide a hip edge to an elegant base. Cross over from the dining hall to the bar area and the scene changes to a darkly lit, downtown bar atmosphere. An island-style bar serves up specialty martinis with prices as low as $4 on Wednesdays, and the venue frequently hosts live music.
Yet with a solid menu, fairly impressive decor, and frequent drink specials, BGump's seems empty most weeknights, with a slight pickup during the weekends.
Perhaps the lack of traffic can partially explain the hit-and-miss fare.
Scallop kebobs ($19), served with blackened red peppers, artichoke hearts, zucchini, and a rice pilaf topped with a buerre blanc sauce, were light and savory and combined excellently with the seared vegetables. The rice fell short, tasting bland and a bit out of place.
The grilled portabella sandwich ($10) had thick slices of mushroom and a wonderful smoky flavor. The accompanying tomato basil chutney and balsamic glaze gave rich and tangy undertones. But the handmade chips arrived soggy and doused in salt, and the sandwich was served on a soon-to-be-stale focaccia bun.
The blackened Ahi tuna ($12), however, was a complete success. It was cooked perfectly and paired well with a mint vinaigrette/jam. The downside? Blackened Ahi tuna is not actually on the menu. They were simply out of our original order, sesame encrusted Ahi tuna.
A small price to pay for great service and decent prices, but BGump's needs to step up and close the gap from acceptable to extraordinary.
More customers might help get the kitchen fired up, but the customers might not show until BGump's brings its 'A Game.'
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 5147 S. Main St.Phone: 419-517-2199
Hours: Closed Monday; 3-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1-8 p.m. Sunday (Close times are when the kitchen closes, the bar stays open late til 11 Tues-Thurs, 1 a.m. Fri and Sat.)
Average price: $$
Credit Cards: V, AE, MC, DIS
Wheelchair access: Yes