Category Archives: Ann Arbor Restaurant Reviews

Washtenaw Student Run Bakery:The Sweet Spot

Here is a quick video a did using a flip camera. It is of the WCC student run bakery, which is only open a few hours a week, Tues-Thursday from 12:00-1:00 p.m. They sell out fast, so get there early.

Tomukun Noodles in Ann Arbor: PHO

Ann Arbor Food

Tomukun is one of Ann Arbor’s newest restaurants. They specialize in moderately priced noodle dishes like ramen, pho, soba, and udon. They also offer rice dishes and a nice assortment of appetizers like pork buns, which come more open faced than the traditional cooked inside a bun.

The verdict.

The place was great. I ordered the deluxe pho and Emily had the spicy seafood ramen. Good Pho is hard to find. I thought theirs was worthy. Was it the best? The Pho I had out in Oregon kicked-ass, so I will not go on the record saying it was the best I ever had, but it was the best in town and I plan to make Tomukun my haunt for my local Pho fix.

What you want to see with Pho is fixings like lime, sprouts, hot peppers, sweet and hot sauce and fresh basil. Tomukun provided those fixings. Any place that cheaps out and does not provide them with your Pho is not worth returning too. (I will not say who you are…other so called Pho places in town…but they know)

What made this Pho a little different at Tomukun is the broth, which was pork not beef. I liked it. They also put slices of pork belly in the Pho Deluxe, which I never had before. I am not a big fan of intestines, which are common in Pho, so the addition of pork belly was welcomed.

At $11 is was on the pricy side for Pho, which usually runs about $7 in the out of the way places in Portland. But I figure you pay more to eat in downtown Ann Arbor.

Click here to see the Menu

Cinco Lagos: Brian Polcyn’s Mexican Restaurant

Ann Arbor Food

I went to Cinco Lagos, in Milford, Michigan for my B-day meal this year. It is the newly themed restaurant by Brian Polcyn which used to be the Five Lakes Grill and featured upscale cuisine. The restaurant has now morphed into a fine medium priced Mexican eatery. We went on Friday night and the place was packed. There were not many people waiting to get in, but the place was full with a steady stream of people leaving, and others being seated.

The food was what one would expect at a Mexican restaurant. There are Tacos, Chiles Poblanos Rellenos, Enchiladas, Nachos, Fajitas, and as a nice surprise Pozole Soup (pictured above).

A big basket of chips comes to your table for free to start, with pico salsa, and a hot red salsa.

Ann Arbor Food

I order the Pozole, and loved it. It was rich, hearty, porky in a good way, and full of flavor. I am a big pozole fan, and make it every other week or so at home.(see my recipe) Mine is made with chicken, not pork, to please a family house majority.

The pozle is so rich, that I could have had it for my meal. At $3.50 a bowl it is a bargain. The next time I go, I might just order two bowls for my meal, along with the chips and call it full.

For our entrees, Emily and I both ordered the three taco platter, which consisted of three large chicken, pork, and beef tacos, each with there own sauce, which came with rice and black beans($11). They were some of the best tacos I ever had.

In general the place is very affordable, the service was very good, and the atmosphere nice yet with a lot of TV’s going made for a kind festive, sport bar like feel. The most expensive entree on the menu was a shrimp, chicken and steak fajitas($16)

They offered a only one special, mahi mahi with a tequila butter sauce, and manga salsa. It sounded great, but we both wanted tacos.

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They were more like six tacos because they came with six soft taco shell. The idea being that you placed half the filling into one of the two shells provided with each taco.

The meal was very filling, and after my pozole, I only had three of the six tacos. The rice and beans are very good and worth noting. Most of the rice and beans I get at mexican restaurants were a filler and after thought, but these were expertly prepared and very tasty.

The big star of the place was the margaritas.($5). Every table besides ours seemed to be having a margarita party, which explains the business model for the place (sell great inexpensive food, and encourage margarita orders). But this is not a margarita bar with lame food. The food is excellent, and affordable. And considering the packed crowd, I felt that Chef Polcyn made a great decision.

For dessert I had the spicy brownie with vanilla sauce which was excellent. It was a warm brownie with a touch of spice for a pleasant, subtle back ground favor.

Ann Arbor Food

Emily had the Mexican flan, which I tasted and it was great, very smooth.

Ann Arbor Food

In general the food was great, and affordable. The check was $40 for two, with soup for me, a soda, and dessert for two and we took home a full meal each for lunch.

Some online comments mentioned that the menu was playing it a little safe with featuring the more familiar Mexican fare. The menu does seem very standard, but the food was all great. Maybe some additional special would satisfy the more adventurous crowd, which I encourage, but the people I saw seemed perfectly happy as was I.

I will definitely go there again. In fact if this place was in Ann Arbor, I would probable go there almost every day. (smiles)

Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger

Ann Arbor Food It seems like a right of passage for any Ann Arbor, Michigan food writer to weigh in on Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger. The Road Food folks wrote a review and  Guy Fieri of the food network film part of his show there. In fact there is a big poster signed by Guy near the grill. It was only a matter of time until I ventured in.

The first thing you notice is the overgrown vegetation blocking out the sign. I had to move some plants out of the way to get this picture. Basically, if you can’t read the sign, and do not already know where the place is, Krazy Jim does not seem to be worried.

The place is pretty small, with seating for about 20-25 people and some outdoor seating. Ordering is from the grill counter where you tell the cook what you want. The first question is if you want anything from the frier. I passed this time, but like Kosmo’s Deli in Kerrytown, Krazy Jim’s is a fried food lovers paradise. Krazy offers a range of fried veggies from onion rings, zucchini, broccoli to potato fries. I saw some of the the onion rings orders and they were impressive.

The big appeal of the place is the range of toppings for your burger. Ann Arbor Food The blimpy burger web site claims 2,147,483,648 possible burger combination. The first thing you need to do is tell the cook the number of burgers. I ordered two, double burgers. The patties are not huge, and two patties make less then a 1/4 pound of meat. The cook throws four meat ball looking burgers on the grill, and ask what type of bread. They have several bun varieties to choose. There is plain, onion, kaiser and more that I forget. Then there are toppings from the grill, like grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, and even hard salami. I choose the hard the salami to be different. Like the picture says, cheese comes later.

You wait on line pushing your tray forward and watch your burger being cooked. It has a gritty, kind of Top Chef aspect with watching your burger being cooked. The cook eventually, smashes the meat ball into a flat paddy. The burgers are all freshly ground on premisses, which makes all of the difference.

Eventually, you move up to your place in line and the cook ask for your cheese preference. I order swiss for my burger with salami and cheddar for my second for a traditional, but they also offer blue cheese, feta, american, and provolone. I am a plan burger guy, so a lot of the toppings are lost on me.

Ann Arbor Food I get my burgers with mustard and pickles to finish and some onions for the salami burger. They have hot sauce, steak sauce, and malt vinegar on the tables. I grab for the vinegar for my salami burger to create a sort of Italian sub sandwich burger theme. The burgers are great. In fact they are some of the best burgers I ever had. The fresh grinding gives them a crumply texture which is juicy and flavorful. If you are a burger fan, and coming to Ann Arbor, make sure you get to Krazy Jim’s.

551 S. Division St.
Ann ArborMI 48104
(734) 663-4590

www.blimpyburger.com

Kosmo Deli: A Korean American Fusion Diner

I have been passing by the Kosmopolitan Deli for weeks now. It is located in the Kerrytown shops in Ann Arbor, where the Wednesday and Saturday farmer’s market is located. I have been there years before for their Bi Bim Bop, Rice with veggies, egg and various topping. They make theirs with brown rice which was a treat for me at the time I was going through a macrobiotic vegetarian phase. Todays meal was far from vegetarian. I had the Seoul dog, a hotdog wrapped in bacon that is fried and topped with kim chi and mozzarella cheese. It sounded so crazy I just had to try it.

Ann Arbor FoodThe Kimchi provided a spicy vegetable balanced. I am not sure the cheese worked.

I also had the twiggum, a tempura batter fried pile of fried goodness. I ordered the small, but it was a huge pile. Twiggum is a tempura clump. It is as if someone was making tempura and had a few pieces stuck together and decided, why not save some time and throw them all in the oil in small handfuls instead of individual pieces. It was served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce which help with the heavy friedness of the dish.

The Kosmo is a Korean version of an American greasy spoon. Burgers can be ordered with Kim chi. There is a teriyaki burger, and offerings a hot and sour so

Ann Arbor Food

up. Various sauces are provided like a spicy teriyaki sauce instead of ketchup. You can either go with a healthy a brown rice bowl with veggies and tofu or ordered a seoul

dog with a tempura pile. Both are good eats.

Ann Arbor Food

Northside Grill: Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

This was my first time going to the Northside Grill. I heard a lot about. It seems to be one of those places that people who write about food mention when talking about Ann Arbor breakfast joints. The Road Food guys, from the NPR’s Splendid Table loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was with my brother Jordan, who is my favorite family member to eat out with because he orders a lot and shares. He was the first person I know who orders an entrees as an appetizer to share with the table. Why had I never thought about that?

I had breakfast at 11:00 and he had lunch. I ordered a breakfast burrito, and Jordan ordered a turkey club. And we both split a short stack of the oat pancakes with a side of real maple syrup. I have not had pancakes in a while because they tend to put me to sleep. I am not a glycemic, syndrome X guy, but I think a large stack of pancakes puts me over the edge.

First off the pancake was great. In fact I would say it was the best pancake I ever had. It was light, yet hearty from the oats at the same time. My Burrito was huge, and I ended up taking home half of it for later. It came with corn chips. I looked on the menu for guacamole, but did not see it which would have added nicely with my meal. The coffee kept coming. This was old school for coffee with never ending refills and warm ups.

This is my first time, so I do not feel I can give a full review, but I liked what I had and I definitely will go back their again, next time with the family, so I can sample more of the menu. Here are some pics.

Northside Grill
1015 Broadway St
Ann ArborMI 48105
Hours:

Mon-Sun. 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

(734) 995-0965

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

The Grange Kitchen and Bar

I took the night off from cooking and me and the family went out to The Grange Kitchen and Bar. I have been looking forward towards going there because the chef Brandon Johns has a commitment to sourcing his food locally. When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I enjoyed the growing number of restaurants that did a farm to plate, local and seasonal theme. The meals I had in Oregon were great, so I was excited when there was local themed place opening up in Ann Arbor.

The dining room is cozy seating up to 40.  We arrived at 7:00 and were seated right away. It was a full house, which included a wedding reception in the bar on the second floor. I was glad for the full house because I want to see this kind of place make it. I noticed that the chef was frequently in and out of the kitchen. He even ran out a few plates. Clearly Chef John is not one of those chef’s who hide in the kitchen. I felt like this added to the charm.

I ordered the plate of radishes with butter, salt and crusty bread. Ann Arbor FoodTechnically the bread was a hearty soft dark bread, but I preferred it. The breads were from avalon bakery. The dish was incredibly simple, but great. It inspired me to plant some radishes and have this for breakfast every morning like they do in France.

The combination of the bread, butter, radish and rocky salt worked. Jonathan ordered the spicy fried chic peas, another winner. They were chick peas that were breaded lightly, fried and covered in some spice. The starchiness of the chic peas gave them a potato like flavor. Bill order the Green bean salad, creamy tarragon vinaigrette, pickled eggs, which he enjoyed and Betty had the Salad of greens, basil garlic dressing, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato. Emily just had the bread, which was a dill bread, that we all enjoyed.

Then came time to order dinner. Emily is on a vegan kick now, so she order the pasta. Betty order the chicken, and Bill and Jonathan both order the Grilled halibut, Portuguese style seafood stew, chorizo and potatoes, which what I wanted to order, but I end up getting the grass fed steak with blue cheese to be different.Ann Arbor Food

Emily liked her pasta and asked me to make it for her sometime. Betty thought her chicken was great, and both Bill and Jonathan liked there stew. My steak came with cooked chard and pureed potatoes. The sauce was a nice red wine sauce. My steak was cooked just how I like. The only thing was a comical situation where my steak knife was switched with Betty’s lesser chicken knife, so I had a crazy time cutting into my steak. We finally figured it out and all was well. My only comment was that I felt they could have gone a little heavier on the blue cheese for my taste.

Dessert selections were an apricot cake with berries, a plum ginger almond crisp with ice cream, a chocolate bourbon cake, and peach blueberry cobbler.Ann Arbor Food

Here was tonight’s menu. It changes so it this will not remain current.

Starters

Country style terrine, pickled vegetables 8

Plate of radishes, butter, sea salt, crusty bread 7

Spicy fried chickpeas 4

Goat cheese stufed squash blossoms, green tomato marmalade 11

Gazpacho, shrimp salad, basil oil 12

Chorizo, dates, blue cheese 8

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart 9

Green bean salad, creamy tarragon vinaigrette, pickled eggs 6

Salad of greens, basil garlic dressing, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato 8

Main

Roasted chicken breast, crispy skin, bacon, green bean and potato sauté, grain mustard 21

Pan roasted duck breast, mushroom and whole grain salad, corn jus* 24

Zucchini and squash cakes, wilted greens, spiced tomato sauce 18

Grilled halibut, Portuguese style seafood stew, chorizo and potatoes 26

Grilled pork loin, buckwheat dumplings, pickled rhubarb, fennel sausage* 25

Fresh house made pasta, Farmers’ Market vegetables, lemon, herbs & parmesan 23

Sauteed lake perch, fngerling potato salad, caper brown butter, parsley 26

Slow roasted wild salmon, sweet corn succotash, tomato ginger jam* 24

Grilled grass-fed ribeye, bacon blue cheese crust, potato puree, red wine syrup* 31

* Menu items are either cooked to order or undercooked. Notice: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, sea- food, shellfsh or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness especially if you have a medical condition.