Sunday, July 17, 2011

Restaurant Review: Jenna's Mediterranean Restaurant

Jenna's Mediterranean Restaurant

5629 Main Street; Sylvania, Ohio
(419) 824-9996
Tues - Thur 11AM - 10PM; Sat 11AM - 11PM; Sun 9AM - 10PM
Parking in the Rear

Jenna's Mediterranean Restaurant is closed, which is what I thought would happen.  Read the review if you'd like to know why it closed up, but I predicted this would happen at some point.

I don't remember just where I heard about Jenna's or who recommended it to me, which is a shame, but one way or another a group of us ended up at Jenna's for an early dinner the other night.  It was a real experience.

The best thing Jenna's has going for it is the decor, which is an American vision of what life must be like somewhere on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  Jenna's is restful and easy on the eyes, with one exception.  The front of the restaurant faces East, so that in the late afternoon as good old Mister Sunshine crosses to the good side of the yardarm the July sunlight catches the glass of passing motorists and sends a wide, bright flash of about 8000 lumens right into the eyes of the unwary patron who is trying to decide between a martini and a manhattan.  Then a motorist parallel parked adjacent to the restaurant and turned the intermittent flash into a navigational beacon for the Toledo Express Airport.  I'm bringing this to your attention because it's typical of what you'll get at Jenna's.  Just when you think everything is going along smoothly, you get the shaft.

We were greeted by the host, who loftily informed us that the lovely Tammy would be our server.  As the place was empty and the lovely Tammy was the only woman present wearing an apron and waiting for her cue like the second banana in a burlesque show, his introduction was more than a little specious.  For her part, the lovely Tammy did her best to turn our dining experience into a social hour, which I finally interrupted.  I confess I'd lost track of the conversation ten minutes ago, I was bored with the menu and I wanted a drink.  I was perhaps a little brusque when I inquired if there was any way I could get a drink.  Tammy assured me there was, and after I ordered requested instructions in mixology.  Ah, well.  When my drink arrived it was watery, enough so that I suspect they water the booze.

Then menu selection at Jenna's is not strictly Mediterranean or Lebanese.  They have a fair number of American dishes that have been given a different emphasis which I would describe as a Mediterranean influence.  Put bluntly, if you see a steak on the menu, it will be covered in hummus or tahini or something.  Just why anyone would put tahini sauce on a steak is beyond me, but there you have it.   We settled on the specialty of house, a concoction called mekloubeh.  This sounded like an interesting dish, but sadly they didn't have any.  I consulted the menu again, and decided on filet tips with special sauce.  Main Lady ordered Shish Tawook, but they didn't have any of that either.  I started losing my sunny disposition about this time, but Main Lady kicked me under the table and I subsided quietly.   I don't remember what Main Lady ordered next, but it was some sort of chicken dish and they actually had some of it.  We ordered wine with dinner, and our host appeared to give us a run down on the wine list and extoll the virtues of his award winning house wine, which we decided to try.  I should know better, right?

Getting right to the point, if our host knows anything about wine then I'm Eric Asimov.  There wasn't anything special about the wine, and if it won any awards they were all in the 'five dollar and under' category at the Kenton National Coon Dog Trials.  Still, I had my hopes up for the food and predictably I got shot down again.

Jenna's Filet Tips - $12.55
After an interminable wait, our food arrived just prior to the next ice age.  The dinner looks good, but it isn't.  The steak is poor quality and full of gristle.  Some of the tips are well done and others are rare.  Well, perhaps the chef is terminally ill.  I failed to send the dish back into the abyss from whence it came, and assuaged my hunger with rice coated in special sauce.  I don't know what the special sauce is, and I don't want to know.  All I'll say is that it's marginally better than soy sauce, which I suspect is a major ingredient.  They served Main Lady the wrong dinner, and then she made a comment about her chicken being a little greasy and stopped eating. 

I was ready to write this whole experience off as the restaurant having a bad day and yours truly being overly critical, then Main Lady got sick.  The illness started the night we ate at Jenna's and she still hasn't recovered.

When we arrived for dinner, we were the only patrons in the restaurant.  When we left there were two more tables filled, but there certainly wasn't a line of people waiting to get into the place.  Maybe I found out the reason for this.

In summary:
  • Ambiance: 6; 8 after sunset.
  • Service: 4; could be 7 if the lovely Tammy would shut up and wait on the patrons.
  • Food: 0; poor quality ingredients, poor cooking, Main Lady got sick.

Overall rating: 3.

At the beginning of this review I mentioned that it's a shame I can't remember just who recommended Jenna's to me - and it is, in fact, a shame I can't remember.  You see, I'd like to send that person a little token of my appreciation, such as a small animal trap concealed within a loose pile of high quality counterfeit money.   Something that truly expresses my feelings about my dining experience at Jenna's.


قطوتي ميو said...

I think that Jenna's is wonderful. I think that you lost your mind talking bad about this place. I also think that you should not talk about people and keep their names out of your mouth!!! If you didn't like the service that "the lovely Tammy" was providing, you should have spoke up!! Also I do not believe that your "main lady" got ill from the food. That's in MY opinion. I do not think that they would want you back in there anyway, since you are talking crap about this establishment.

Mad Jack said...

It appears that the Taliban objects to my review. Oh well, what can I say? If my critic actually likes Jenna's, then let him eat there. He'll keep throwing the dice and eventually crap out. And get sick.

The health department should close the place down, but I think it's more likely that Jenna's will either go under when the owner runs out of money, or it will change hands - hopefully passing into the capable hands of a chef who knows what he's doing and a manager who can actually manage a restaurant instead of failing his act as the Emcee for a 1930s style burlesque house.

...and now, direct from the bar, here's The Lovely Tammy! Hit it!

That guy was a joke.

قطوتي ميو said...

You are a racist pig!!! And you are very simple minded!!! Word of advice, stop talking about people like you know them. Moron!!!

Mad Jack said...

Word of advice? Advice from who, exactly? Mohammad?

Look Abdul, if you don't like the review then by all means patronize Jenna's, tell them what a great job they're doing and leave The Lovely Tammy! a huge tip. Another thought that occurred to me after I spent several hours pondering your dilemma is that you start a blog of your own. Write the blog in Arabic and you could, in time, attract an elite cadre of readers who respect your opinions and support your arguments - such as they are. With any luck you'll attract the attention of the Department of Homeland Security who get paid to provide people like you with a whole new set of problems to occupy your one-track mind along with some brand new accommodations, paid for by the United States Government, where you can ponder, rant and rave to your heart's content without disturbing anyone.

Or you can continue leaving your stupid comments here and I'll amuse myself by pounding on your head with my shoe. Verbally, of course.

Anonymous said...

First off, the front of the building faces east. No way there would be light in the building like you said. Second, They are never out of Shish Tawook. Thats chicken. They never run out. Trust me, I know. Obviously you are passive aggressive. You cant ask for a drink because you are afraid to or whatever, then you go home and get on your computer and type your bullshit. And obviously you are not a real critic. You are a guy with a boring life and crack on people that are actually sucsessful. You read the paper in a while? Check out some of the articles about Jenna's. Sit on it and spin low life.

Mad Jack said...

Another drunk, complete with bad attitude and an AOL account. I hate drunks.

Well, FallingVocals, I'll give you credit where it's due: You're right about the restaurant facing East and I've corrected my review to reflect that. And you didn't call me a racist pig, like Abdul did. I guess I'm coming up in the world! The rest of my review stands as it is. It describes what happened to me and my friends when we dined at Jenna's, and it's accurate.

The real tragedy here doesn't have anything to do with my review or Falling Vocals getting a snoot full and commenting on my review at three in the morning. The tragedy is that Jenna's doesn't have to be a lousy place to eat. It could be improved, and given the starting point it wouldn't take much effort for Jenna's to attain mediocrity. While the location isn't the greatest it isn't bad, and the decor doesn't need much work once the lighting problem is taken care of. The real problem is the people who run it. Jenna's could keep The Lovely Tammy! - ba-da-boom! and provide her with some training. At the same time, get rid of the emcee and the dishwasher masquerading as a chef. Encourage these two to get positions that enable them to leverage their natural abilities - janitorial staff at a local Valvoline Instant Oil Change. I don't think Jenna's requires a professional bartender, given that the place isn't really a bar, per se. All that is required is a competent manager and an equally competent chef, and maybe a dishwasher and bus boy.

That's my opinion, anyway. Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to return to my passive-aggressive, pleasantly boring life and find some crack heads to crack on.