Beer and comfort food. The pairing can whet the appetites of even the most sophisticated connoisseurs when done well, and if you consider yourself an aficionado of the duo, Paddy Jack's on West Central Avenue in Sylvania might be the place for you.
With scattered tables and booths, and using a giant Mongolian grill in the corner of the restaurant, the new tenant of what was formerly Big Buddha's Cast Iron Grill is a bar-food paradise, offering an impressive selection of beers and specializing in the most comforting of comfort foods: grilled cheese.
"Gourmet stuffed grilled cheese" to be exact.
Although I'd use the term gourmet sparingly, the sandwiches came overflowing with toppings, dressings, and melty, cheesy goodness.
My table started the evening with Paddy Jack's signature appetizer: Grilled Cheese Shooters ($5.99), or wedges of grilled cheese placed on top of small cups of tomato soup.
The classic combo had a clever presentation, but on a menu full of grilled cheese entrees, I would only recommend ordering it if you are choosing a salad for the main course (surprisingly, there are several salad options).
Ready for more cheese, we sampled the Philly Jack, Portabello, BBQ Pork, which came piled high with French fries and coleslaw, and, for a touch of veggies, the Palermo, stuffed with eggplant, fried tomato, sundried tomato spread, and goat cheese.
Each sandwich is listed at $9.99 and came on a choice of sourdough, rye, nine grain, or asiago cheese bread with Paddy Jack's combo of provolone and Swiss cheese.
(Although the restaurant's Web site mentions a man who makes his own cheese, our waitress informed us they do not in fact make their own cheese. A sad fact, but it still tasted good.)
Although some at my table found the cheese a little strange, I thought it worked perfectly. The texture was creamy with enough bite of flavor to be noticed, but not enough to overpower the rest of the sandwich. It blended well with multiple sauces and toppings, and added to the succulent power of greasy food grilled between thick slices of buttery bread.
The great thing about Paddy Jack's is that if one aspect of the sandwich isn't working for you, there's usually a way to customize it to your liking. Not digging the cheese? Try anything from American and cheddar to herbed cream cheese and havarti. Add on vegetables, meats, even a fried egg, or do the opposite and strip it down to bare bones cheese and bread.
Although there are salad options, this is not a place to eat and worry about your waistline. A visit to Paddy Jack's would be wasted on the plain Jane healthy fare. Spring for the greasy stuff, add on a beer and you won't be disappointed.
And for night owls, the kitchen doesn't close when the bar scene opens. For comfort-food junkies everywhere, Paddy Jack's has achieved what we all hoped for: It took the grilled cheese and made it better.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paddy Jack's: ***
Address: 6725 W. Central Ave., Sylvania Township
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average Price: $$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V
Web site: paddyjacks.com