I spent nearly every Thursday night of my last year in Ann Arbor eating and drinking with my friend Kyo. We would start out at Melange for Happy Hour (half off sushi and glasses of wine) and make our way over to eve for dinner and more drinks.
So being back in Ann Arbor on a Thursday, I was more than keen to repeat our ritual.
First up: Melange
They changed the Happy Hour just a little bit. Instead of half off all sushi and starters, they now have a limited sushi menu. Still, three rolls and two glasses of wine for $24 total? Brilliant.
Then on to one of my favourite restaurants: eve
Chef and owner, Eve Aronoff, opened the restaurant in 2003. She’s made a little bit of a splash having been on the last season of Top Chef in Las Vegas. Even though she was eliminated on the second episode, it’s not a reflection on the food.
Kyo and I usually get a whole bunch of small plates recommended by our friend and eve bartender, Travis. Portions are pretty large, and splitting three of these is more than enough.
(Apologies for the crap photos. It was really dark in there… Also, descriptions are from the menu; I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘festooned’)
‘Spice rubbed and seared medallions of beef tenderloin served over a bright parsley-garlic purée with coconut ginger rice and festooned with spring peas, Bermuda onions and grape tomatoes’
I love that the spice of the chimichurri, while strong, is not overpowering. It’s very nicely balanced with the ginger rice.
Thai Barbequed Chicken
‘Spicy grilled chicken rubbed with chilies, peanuts and tamarind- accompanied with coconut ginger rice and vegetables of the season’
I don’t think I’ve ever had such moist chicken in my life. This dish is slow-roasted for about 40 minutes. It shows. Delicious.
Lamb in Brik
‘Sweet, savory and spicy ground lamb with pine nuts and golden raisins rolled in brik pastry and dressed with a salad of fresh spinach and mint’
This dish is very strong. I don’t think it’s for everyone. It says savoury, but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. The lamb is like an explosion of cardamom, star anise and clove. It is quite strong, which is why I think it could turn people off, but I love it. The pastry this time around wasn’t the best, but that’s an exception to the rule.
Pair all of these with some brilliant wine and one too many White Grape Martinis and you have yourself one hell of a Thursday.
*If you live in the States, you should check out eve’s cookbook. It will give you even more appreciation of what goes into this food. I swear, every recipe has at least 20 ingredients, which is why I’ve never actually made anything with it. Someday, though… someday.