Thursday, May 17, 2012

Restaurant Review: AMango

AMango Restaurant
5228 Monroe St.; Toledo, OH
Hours: Wed - Mon 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Closed Tuesday
(419) 517 - 0261

This place used to be Charley's Mediterranean Grill, but Charley's closed down.  Next it was something else, or maybe it was going to be something else that didn't happen and it got that deserted look for a while.  I was driving by the other day and I saw activity and a new sign going up, so naturally when it opened for business I had to try it out.

AMango is a proprietorship, and the owner is on site.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that the proprietor's English is not what it might be.  Her attitude is in the right place though, and that counts for a lot.

The interior of Charlie's underwent a radical modification which was desperately needed, and the designer did a nice job.  The tables are comfortably far apart and the color scheme is nice.  There are two dining areas divided by a partition, which I think might be a holdover from the old 'smoking section' era. 

AMango Inside
AMango strives for casual dining and a comfortable atmosphere, and I believe it succeeds in this.  The place isn't advertised as a family restaurant, and the dining room layout, menu and color scheme tend to discourage an extended family of rednecks from piling in for an 'all you can eat tie on the feed bag, kids!' special on Thursday night.

The place offers Vietnamese food along with a smaller selection of Thai and Chinese dishes.  I've had the spring rolls, which are not the deep fried concoction you'll find at a typical Chinese restaurant.  Instead, the spring roll consists of rice, vegetables and shrimp rolled up in rice paper and served with an excellent peanut sauce.  I recommend the spring rolls with the forewarning that the portion is large.  You'll either share the dish or take most of it home with you.

I've had the pad thai and several other dishes, and all are excellent if a little bland for my own taste.  Fortunately for me, each table is provided with several kinds of chili sauce which I used with some caution - the red sauce in the small glass bowl is potent.

Pad Thai

Vietnamese Rice
I don't know which of these two I liked better - both have an excellent flavor.  Even though I ordered my food spicy, it isn't.  It's not that the food is bland, the dishes still have a lot of flavor.  It's that I expected a little more heat than was delivered.


The bad news is that this is not the most inexpensive place to have lunch.  The portions are not enormous, but they're large enough, and the quality is excellent.  The prices are directly related to the quality, which I don't mind.  For one thing I like excellent Asian food, and for another if the prices are higher the families with their ill-behaved children will drive the extra hundred yards to the Magic Wok and hog down the kung pow - wow! experience.  As for me, I want to enjoy my meal.

The service at AMango is a little spotty, but your mileage may vary. The place was crowded while I was there for lunch and the waitress greeted me right away, got my drink order and placed my lunch order, all in good time.  The kitchen is quick, and I did not have to wait for my lunch.  The difficulty came after I was served my lunch when the waitress failed to check back with me.  I think this was due to there being only one waitress for the entire dining room combined with a language barrier - the waitress spoke very little English.  I believe she wanted to provide good service, but I think she understood about half of what I was saying.  I note that everyone speaks fluent Vietnamese which I handle as well as a pair of chop sticks - I eat with a fork.

AMango has just opened and I hope the place makes it.  The location is not perfect and their prices are on the high side, but I think that the quality of the food and the good will of the staff will get customers to return.  I know I'll be back.

In summary:
  • Ambiance: 7
  • Service: 7
  • Food: 9
Overall rating: 8

No comments: