Alison Matas taste-tests ‘The Tots,’ goat cheese salad, wedge salad, blackened chicken mac and cheese and Parmesan scallops at Main Street Grille in North Canton.
Main Street Grille is a cozy restaurant with a great location and has the potential to be really special.
The restaurant, located in the heart of downtown North Canton, expanded in 2012, then was sold by its founder last year. I didn’t visit before the restaurant changed hands, so I can’t make a comparison, but I could see the ways staff are trying to make the most of the space and the menu.
My favorite thing about the restaurant was the atmosphere: Its main dining room on the first floor features hardwood floors, wooden booths and a sprawling wood bar, with a fireplace and some soft chairs in an adjoining room with tables. In the cellar is another bar that spans the length of the narrow space, plus more tables and a piano. A wine bar opens to a patio with brightly colored umbrellas and wrought iron tables.
The experience was nice, but it would have been even better if our tabletop wasn’t sticky upon sitting down and if our menu was free of food stains. Small fixes for a top-notch experience in the future.
I appreciated the size of the menu and the fact that it seemed to show some restraint. Andrew and I have eaten several places during my reviewing tenure where the menu is massive and lacks cohesiveness and we’re left wondering how a place possibly can serve tacos, pasta, pizza, burgers, wings, wraps and bar food and consistently do all those things well. (Not to mention, it makes ordering a challenge.) Here, the dinner menu options are simple: There are appetizers, salads and two categories of entrees—dinners with “locally sourced Ohio flavors” and seafood.
The pub menu is equally limited, with specialty burgers ($11), flat breads ($11) and “The Tots” ($9).
With such distinction, we of course had to try “The Tots.” They were s
erved with a homemade ranch dressing, a horseradish aioli and ketchup with sriracha. They’re made in-house, so the six we received looked more like potato balls than tots. They tasted like potato pancakes and were the best dish we ordered.
From the dinner menu, we first tried two salads. The goat cheese salad ($9) with mixed greens, dried cranberries, candied pecans and wine vinaigrette and the wedge salad ($8) with iceberg lettuce, crumbled bacon, tomato, sharp cheddar cheese and ranch dressing—both were generous portions and had lots of toppings. Traditionally, wedge salads are served with crumbled blue cheese or blue cheese dressing (we should know—we order enough of them), but I liked this version and didn’t miss the blue cheese.
My dinner choice was the blackened chicken mac and cheese ($17) with a four-cheese blend, spinach and peppered bacon. Homemade macaroni and cheese is my favorite food, and I get super excited when I see it on a menu, especially with veggies and protein mixed in. The curly pasta noodles were covered in a thick cheese sauce, and the bacon provided extra flavor, though the description “blackened” is misleading—my cubes of chicken had no char. It would have been even tastier if the spinach had been sautéed and seasoned; instead, I ended up with big pieces of bagged spinach, stems and all.
Andrew ordered from the seafood list and picked the Parmesans scallops ($26), which sat in a roasted garlic cream sauce. He received four medium scallops and a small pile of summer squash and zucchini t
hat had been roasted and lightly tossed with balsamic vinegar—other side options were garlic mashed potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes and risotto. This was the least-successful dish we tried, which was a bummer considering the price. In my opinion, the scallops were pretty rubbery, and I think a balsamic reduction would have been a better choice for the veggies.
I decided to go again for lunch the next week, and I was impressed with my experience. I ordered a Caesar salad that was topped with grilled chicken ($11), and I enjoyed it. The chicken was warm, the salad was crisp, and the dressing was excellent. I also was served a loaf of warm bread with a spiced olive oil dipping sauce that was nice.
Other lunch options include the same appetizers and salads as the dinner menu with limited entree choices. They include a Thai chicken wrap ($9), shrimp scampi pasta bowl ($12) and the grilled tai-tip mignon wrap ($14).
Other perks: There is live music some weeknights and many weekends, and the restaurant also hosted painting nights this spring.
Main Street Grille is at 123 S Main Street in North Canton. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Dinner begins at 4 p.m. More information is available by calling 330-497-1117.