Ottawa Hills Restaurant is Dining Hit

. May 1, 2017.

Chef Moussa Salloukh warned the investors in Plat8 that there would be no practice runs, the restaurant had to be top notch right out of the gate. Those investors, including Paul and Mindy Vesoulis, David and Liz Feniger, Vince and Marta Toma, Marianne Ballas and the rest of the Ottawa Hills Investments group, were smart to A. recruit and B. listen to the sage chef who has created something special in the restaurant space that was once the Town and Country Lounge (amidst a long list of other watering holes). Salloukh, known as one of Toledo’s top culinary innovators, had embraced the challenge of taking an extremely complex space (including a kitchen so compact it makes your average garden shed seem palatial) and transforming it into one of Toledo’s most accessible and cool hangouts. The long-time NW Ohio collective running Plat8 clearly care about providing farm-fresh fare at affordable prices, and have, in the restaurant, produced an excellent addition to the local food scene.

The ambiance

Candles line the exterior of the restaurant, luring guests and their cocktails from the extensive bar to mingle. It’s easy to see why this hallway has become an enclosed patio of sorts for the restaurant— even on a Monday night, Plat8 is packed to capacity and more are looking to get in. The restaurant has actually had to stop taking reservations and operate on a first-come basis to maximize access for hungry would-be patrons. “It’s a good problem to have,” Paul says. Though it’s also a tough problem, he admits, because they don’t want to keep people waiting. It’s all about finding that balance. David Feniger manages the daily operations of Plat8 as well as managing the group’s overall investment. Part of that, was making sure the chef had freedom to operate. “Our goal was to provide Moussa with an environment that he could bring out his creative side,” David says. The group has put in long hours making sure the restaurant lives up to the hype that has surrounded it.

The name game

A common mistake is thinking Plat8 might somehow translate to “Plate.” It doesn’t. The restaurant’s peculiar name comes instead from geographical lingo, “plat” meaning a plot of land. “Ottawa Hills was developed in plats,” Paul and Mindy explain, blending their words seamlessly to overlap and, adorably, fit together. “Plat 1, Plat 2, Plat 3… Plat 8 was the plat that was never developed for Ottawa Hills. It’s the next plat.” As for getting into the restaurant business? “It’s always been in the back of our minds. We’ve said, ‘We should do this one day, we should get involved with a restaurant,’” Mindy explained. The Plat8 concept was already in the works, courtesy of David’s father, William Feniger, who had the initial inspiration. “When the idea was presented to us, it wasn’t really a question,” said Mindy. “We jumped at it,” said Paul, grinning.

The food

  “The short ribs and the scallops are the two most talked about entrées,” Mindy says of the menu options. “And our daughters are health conscious, so they’re all about the bowls,” Paul adds, mentioning their trio of lighter meals that put emphasis on combining fresh veggies and healthy grains with sweet potatoes, goat cheese or portobello and pesto. I am not health conscious, so of course I opt for the short rib plate. The hype is justified; these ribs become succulent bites with the slightest prompting from my fork. There isn’t enough room to mention all the excellent menu items we sampled, but the roasted olives and fried green tomatoes deserve special appetizer shoutouts. And if you’re somehow still hungry after the meal, your sweet tooth should make a date with the bread pudding. food-review-toledo-plat8

The drinks

Paul spearheads the wine and beverage initiative for the restaurant, which includes their own selection of Plat8-branded bottles of red wine and a healthy selection of bourbons. The Bloody Mary is next level good, perfectly spiced and has a delicious charcuterie assortment as a topper. Of course, if you’re celebrating a very special occasion, you can always indulge in Louis XIII cognac, which will set you back $150 a pour.

What’s in store

If you’re more of an afternoon drinker or eater, fear not. The restaurant has May 3 penciled in as the date when they integrate lunch hours into the mix. It doesn’t matter the occasion. This restaurant has a great lively energy, plenty of friendly faces, and it won’t break your bank (unless you want it to). If anyone’s going and needs a date for the evening, count me in.

Plat8 Lamb Shanks

Directions: • Sear lamb shanks with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. • Braise in oven with can of plum tomatoes, thyme and rosemary. • Cook for 3 and a half hours at 350. Serve lamb shank with rosemary roasted redskin potatoes.

4-10pm, Monday-Wednesday; 4-11pm, Thursday-Saturday. Lunch will be served starting at 11am, when it becomes available. 4330 Central Ave. | 419-214-0370 |


A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

A musical comedy follows Monty, the heir to a family fortune who juggles his fiancee, his mistress, and plans to murder the line of succession. 7:30pm. 8pm Friday, November 10. 2pm and 8pm Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12. $22-$88. Stranahan Theater 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. 419-381-8851 |

The Nutcracker at The Valentine Theater

Enjoy the Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s annual Nutcracker performance. Special showing on Friday; regular performances run Saturday, November 25 at 7pm and Sunday, November 26 at 2pm. $25-$40. The Valentine Theater 410 Adams St. | 419-242-2787

A Veteran Helping Veterans

At 79, most of us are, or at least hope to be, thoroughly retired. Not so for Gordon Wright, Director of Dining Services and Executive Chef at Whitehouse Country Manor. Wright, who served in the army between 1957 and 1960, claims he will always be busy. “Busy hands, busy feet, busy mind. I have to

Look Good: Feel Good

When you feel good your body reflects it. Your hair and skin glow, your energy soars and your mental health is stable. What is not to love about that. Our experts here give us some insight about what they do to stay healthy. Advanced Wellness and Chiropractic Center 3454 Oak Alley Ct. #100. 419-535-9600.