Mon Ami Winery
 Port Clinton, Ohio         Date of Visit  06/26/12  

Again, in a partial effort at transparency, you should know that any place associated with Lakeside or the Sandusky area will be mired in nostalgia. Every trip to the lake stirs rumblings of dozens of summer childhood trips to a place that will forever remain stained in my mind in a way that defies reality. I am still surprised every time I see familiar sights, as I remember them larger, freer and more magical. The sense of magic has not been extinguished in the area but some of it has been diminished in me. Some things remain, some are different, some are gone, some are new…time marches on, even at Lakeside. I will do my best to be aware of and control my emotional and irrational connection to the past.



Wine Barrels Litter The Grounds

We have been going to the winery for a special lunch or night out since we have been going to the lake. Well, things continue to change. It’s been a while since I have been there and the winery has grown up some. In addition to the slightly outdated but well appointed dining room they have added a huge wooden room with a large bar, vaulted ceilings, flat screen tvs and overhead garage doors that open up onto an outdoor patio.

What was disappointing to a surprising degree was the service. Our appointed overseer appeared to be on a crusade to avoid tending to her tables. She was doing some side work when we arrived, did some more side work, had a chat with some other employees, leaned over the bar and said “I’ll be right with you” and then disappeared for another ten minutes. A young food runner with an embarrassed look on his face came to take our order which upon completion she walked up behind him and mocked him for doing her job. He remained the only one to be embarrassed as she didn’t make any effort at improvement until after the meals were served. Surprisingly bad. It seemed that we were just unlucky as the remainder of the staff seemed to be working it.

New Space

Quiet Dining Room at Lunch

Multiple Patio Entries

Things Started Well With The Local's Delight

We started with the Local’s Delight an appetizer combo platter that consisted of crab cakes, sauerkraut balls, chicken wings and walleye bites and a bowl of lobster bisque. We also ordered a Reuben, a Chicken Croissant, and the North Coast Platter with perch and walleye. The Local's Delight was better than I had expected. The part of the quartet that wasn’t were the wings. Oven baked wingy-dingys will forever lack the texture that a dip in the fryer imparts. The sauerkraut balls which along with the bisque are listed as signature items on the table were surprisingly good. I don’t typically get excited for these fried nuggets but the kraut was mixed with a number of additional ingredients that made for a much more interesting taste. The crab cakes were fairly good and served on a bed of fried spinach which we really enjoyed. The lumps of walleye were fantastically tender and flaky. The kitchen was working to counterbalance the lack of function in the front of the house.

The lobster bisque wouldn’t beat some that we have had but it was very good. When the puff pastry was peeled back the look of the stew was problematic…too light a shade…the color associated with bisque that tastes like a bunch of warm cream with a hint of shellfish essence. The bisque was incredibly rich with a load of heavy cream but lobster pervades the dairy. Add the buttery pastry and you’ve got something memorable.


A Little Lobstery Present

The Color Didn't Bode Well But Lobster Shone Through The Cream

The Reuben Was Pretty Good

Frightfully Weird "Chicken" Salad All The Way Around

Perch Passed; Walleye Was Wanting

Hard To Understand When App Bites Were Perfect

The Reuben tuned out to be pretty standard, lean corned brisket, kraut and rye. The dressing could have been a little more assertive but that might just be because I'm the goop meister. The fish was a mixed blessing. The perch was just fine but the piece of walleye paled in comparison to the walleye nuggets from the appetizer. The piece on the plate had a tragically fishy taste that brought freshness into question. Served with well done fingerling potatoes and passable green beans only the walleye steered towards disappointment.

That’s too bad, I was looking at the lake all the way there, less than fresh fish is a shame. A fairly good sandwich, half good fish, then there was the weird option…the chicken croissant.

First of all there were two of them. Interesting. Then, in a most unique twist it didn’t taste anything like chicken. I have had a number of chicken salads in myriads of different binding mixtures, but they all tasted of some chicken. This stuff tasted like ham. Period. Smokey and salty with some mayo and a nice buttery croissant. It didn’t taste bad, just disturbing and odd.

In an attempt to salvage her tip percentage our server made an appearance to follow up on the question asked by the hostess when we arrived. A day short of mom’s birthday the kitchen provided a little treat of fruit which was a nice touch. Some pointed misses marred what would have been a really nice meal but there was certainly enough to bring us back on our next trip to the lake. I just hope we get sat in a different section.






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