Truly a 5-star restaurant, Fifi's Reprise Restaurant and Lounge is one of the few establishments that makes Toledo proud! Given its secluded nature, i.e. tucked in the corner of a strip mall off of Airport Hwy and Bernath Parkway, many Toledo natives may not even know that such a fine dining restaurant even exists. Others who are aware of its presence may be put off by the price tag on some menu items; rest assure, however, that Fifi's does offer a lounge menu which may be a bit easier on the wallet.
Step inside and be prepared to experience a sudden surge in class and sophistication. Is this a restaurant? Or an art gallery? The answer would be, well, both. Two of my favorite dining companions, who enjoy checking out what Toledo's restaurant scene has to offer, happily accompanied me to Fifi's without making reservations ahead of time and were quickly led to a table. At first glance, it may seem that this place is not open even at 6 in the pm, but give it an hour or so and you'll see folks slowly trickle in. Admittedly, the three of us were probably the youngest customers to have stepped foot inside in quite some time, but we certainly were not treated any differently than our older counterparts. In fact, Fifi herself graced us with her presence many times throughout the entire night, which was definitely a wonderful touch.
In addition to the regular dining room menu and the specials of the day menu, diners can also order from the extensive lounge menu. I personally found the lounge menu to boast quite the selection and opted for the lobster cake as my appetizer, while my friends had the clam chowder and the imported cheese plate for their appetizers. Chock-full of lobster with the perfect flakiness and crispiness, the lobster cake was an amazing start to what would be the best dinner I've had to date in the 419. Absolutely divine.
Salads, that accompanied every entree, were immediately brought out shortly after we finished our appetizers. Wanting to stray away from the ordinary sounding dressings, I opted for the house cognac dressing. Creamy yet light, the dressing certainly left a lingering, pleasant cognac aftertaste without being overpowering. The bread basket was also brought to our table at the same time, along with a plate of delicious natural butter.
Our entrees took longer to reach our table, but after seeing the meticulous presentation of each dish (and learning that each was made to order), all was quickly forgotten. My red wine braised duck breast was once again superb and having tasted this bird prepared in countless ways, I must say that this could easily be one of the best means of preparation as the natural tenderness and flavors were preserved. The red wine served to augment the overall excellence of the dish. The potato du jour just happened to be scalloped potatoes that evening -- a welcoming change from the typical mashed potatoes. Most of the house vegetables were left untouched not because it wasn't equally delicious, but rather because I was leaving room for the most important aspect to every meal: desserts!
Fifi's once again does not disappoint with its dessert menu. On top of the dessert of the day (guinness ice cream with chocolate molten cake), other tempting options included the bananas foster and the strawberry flambe with vanilla ice cream. While both of my friends decided on the former, I went with the latter. Words cannot do justice to the excellent desserts, as mine was rich and delightful without being too overly sweet.
What can you expect at Fifi's aside from all the elegantly executed food? Attention paid to the smallest details -- from chilled utensils prior to salads and desserts to blue cheese dressing served in a shot glass due to its thickness. All were much appreciated and certainly did not go unnoticed.
I cannot recommend Fifi's highly enough for those of you who are looking for a break from Toledo's chain invasion. Granted, you will not be finding me dining here every night of the week (as I have absolutely no intention of going broke anytime soon) but you can absolutely count on my venturing back for future celebratory dinners. Hats off to you, Fifi!
Fifi's Reprise Restaurant and Lounge
1423 Bernath Parkway
1423 Bernath Parkway
Toledo, OH 43615