Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Restaurant Reviews

PEACH WEEKENDER | BILL OF FARE

Basil Pizza & Wine Bar a nice addition to Levis Commons

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    The muffuletta lunch sandwich was piled high with salami, capicola, and provolone and a hearty serving of chips.

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    The Ace of Spades pizza comes in a white sauce, with feta, peppers, and onions at Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in Perrysburg's Levis Commons

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    The Pancetta and peas entree is a tasty meal of gemelli, onions, shrimp, peas, and cream at Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in Perrysburg's Levis Commons

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    The Pork rillettes appetizer comes with cornichons, baguette, a pork spread, and apricot merlot jam at Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in Perrysburg's Levis Commons.

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    The raspberry marmalade makes the Nutella cake explode with flavor at the Basil Pizza and Wine Bar in Perrysburg's Levis Commons.

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    The calamari appetizer sat atop a spicy pomodoto sauce and was drizzled with white truffle aioli at Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in Perrysburg’s Levis Commons

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    All meals come with a toasted olives appetizer at Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in Perrysburg's Levis Commons.

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    The Calabrian Turkey was paired with unlimited refills of vegetable soup for a hearty lunch.

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    The Kevin Bacon pizza is piled high with bacon and salami, with a red sauce at Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in Perrysburg's Levis Commons.

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Perrysburg has no shortage of pizza options. There are the usual carry-out options and 5th Street Pub, which also has one of the top beer selections in town.

But Basil Pizza & Wine Bar in the Orleans Building in Levis Commons offers something different. It has the traditional stone-oven pizza (as does 5th Street Pub). But there is an upscale entree menu and a fully stocked wine and liquor bar, with knowledgeable servers eager to offer suggestions on a wine to pair with meals.

Basil, which is owned by the same group that operates Levis Commons’ Nagoya restaurant, has a warm, modern Tuscan vibe with two long banquette benches and sturdy, rustic tables. It has a welcoming color palette of pale greens, rich browns, and burnt orange.

Dinner and lunch diners are welcomed to the table with a small dish of roasted olives, their inherent sweetness accentuated by the heat treatment. It’s a welcome departure from the ubiquitous bread course.

Basil Pizza & Wine Bar

★★★★

Address: 3145 Hollister Lane, Perrysburg

Phone: 419-873-6218

Category: Casual

Menu: Italian

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Wheelchair access: Yes

Average price: $$-$$$

Credit cards: MC, V, D, AE

Website: basilpizzaandwinebar.com

As the name suggests, pizza is the star, and our group sampled the Ace of Spades and Kevin Bacon. The briny olives make a repeat appearance on the Ace of Spades pizza, along with red peppers, salami, Bulgarian feta, lemon, onion, and arugula. With the thin and chewy light crust, this Sicilian-style pizza is much lighter than a traditional red-sauced pie. The pieces are wide-cut, making them foldable but not too soggy. There is no shortage of meat on the Kevin Bacon, which has full strips of Applewood and Canadian bacon and salami atop a red sauce.

The pizzas are not cheap. The Kevin Bacon and Ace of Spades are each $16. But one pizza would easily feed two people and even more if appetizers and desserts are added.

One member of our group wanted something besides pizza, and the $14 pancetta and peas turned out to be an excellent choice. Loaded with a generous portion of shrimp, onions, and a light cream sauce, mixed with gemelli, it is what macaroni and cheese might aspire to be when it grows up.

There is a very limited lunch menu (though pizzas are available), which is disappointing. We were the only people in the restaurant during a recent weekday afternoon, and it took a little longer to be waited on than we would have liked. The options were the Calabrian turkey sandwich, which included chili aioli, red onion, tomato, on ciabatta bread. The sandwich was tasty, and it could be paired with a half salad or soup (with unlimited refills) for a very reasonable $10. The pureed vegetable soup we tried was just OK.

The other sandwich was the $12 muffuletta, which is truly a meat-lover’s delight: capicola, salami, prosciutto, with provolone and olive tapenade. Again, it was just OK. Basil’s sweet spot is definitely its pizzas, wine, and dinner entrees.

But what should not be overlooked are the appetizers and desserts. We had an absolutely delicious bowl of breaded calamari stacked over a spicy pomodoro sauce and drizzled with white truffle aioli. An affordable, enjoyable night out with friends might be the $9 bowl of calamari and a glass of wine and good conversation. Another sampled appetizer was the pork rillettes spread ($12), presented in a crock with toasted baguette, apricot merlot jam, and cornichons. It has the consistency of a Root’s shredded chicken but is richer in flavor, as the pork is cooked slowly in fat. The mellow sweetness of the jam plays nicely against the rich fatty saltiness of the pork.

And allow me to rave about the $8 Nutella cake, which was served warm. The hazelnut, raspberry marmalade, and passion fruit reduction was simply bursting with flavor. It was a delightful end to our dinner.

Basil has only been open since the spring, and it is a nice complement to the other upscale restaurants in Levis Commons. There is a patio and a take-out menu. General manager Marlene Lederman is off to a solid start, and she was on hand for dinner, stopping by each table to ensure that customers were satisfied.

There is no reason that diners should not be more than satisfied.

Contact Bill of Fare at: fare@theblade.com

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