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Real Seafood Co in Ann Arbor Michigan?

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Hi! For anyone who has been to the Real Seafood Co restaurant on Main Street in Ann Arbor Michigan... or at the locations in Toledo OH or Naples FL... Every time you eat there you get a bread basket of really nice handbaked rolls, etc. On the rolls there are usually poppy seeds, etc. They have a really distinct, delicious flavor, and I'm not sure if it is an actual spice rub, or what, but I'm sure that it is more than just poppy seeds that give the rolls their distinct flavor. In fact, this is the only restaurant that I have ever eaten at (except for its old sister restaurant Tidewater Grill in Detroit that closed) that had this amazing tasting bread!! I just can't get enough of it!! Any ideas on what it is that flavors those rolls? I'd love to make some myself!

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  1. I love these rolls, too. All of the Charley's restaurants served them, as well, if they're the rolls I'm thinking of. Back in the day. Is Real Seafood a Charley's "branch"?

    5 Replies
    1. re: amandaqtpie

      I don't think so. Real Seafood is part of the Mainstreet Ventures restaurant group that's based in Ann Arbor, unless they combined with the old Chuck Muer group or something. But man, did I love the old Charley's rolls, too! Common Grill, in Chelsea, Mich., also serves something like them. There are a few remnants of the old Chuck Muer/Charley's Crab restaurants left out in the suburbs, aren't there? I used to love that place .. . like you say, back in the day.

      As for the flavoring ... a TON of butter ... maybe that's been flavored with garlic or onion? I think it's the chewyness of the bread, too, that makes it so good. And those poppyseeds!

      1. re: jennda

        I'm taking it that you folks have not been to any of the Kruse & Muer's locations? Their bread there is very much as you describe...and fan-freaking-tasti, especially when it's piping hot, and *full* of poppy seeds.

        1. re: boagman

          Been to Kruse & Muer restos, and have been treated like doo-doo. But, that doesn't mean I don't want opinions!
          I find nothing on any "main strip" in a suburban Detroit area that excites me, save Dearborn, Ferndale, Mt. Clemens, Detroit (if you can call anything a "main strip" [and I mean that in a good way]), and maybe Ann Arbor. A huge "maybe."
          Royal Oak is way out; Rochester is actually making its way back in, and maybe Kruse & Muer's can help...better management? Nicer staff?
          Andiamo's in any city needs to go bye-bye.

        2. re: jennda

          No, they are not part of Charley's.

          You can view all the various restaurants in the Mainstreet Ventures group on their website at www.realseafoodcorestaurant.com

        3. re: amandaqtpie

          I know this is a bit off-topic, but I read this and got very nostalgic for the "old" Muir restaurants (Joe Muirs included for my purposes but understanding it's not really part of the chain).

          Joe Muir's was one of my first "fancy" restaurant memories, and I think our family (heck, most of Grosse Pointe) went into a little bit of mourning when they closed. I miss the stewed tomatoes and the scallops a'la Muir that were served in those little china scallop dishes (the same dishes that graced my parents' homes and later my dorm rooms as ashtrays, even though it seems nothing but comical that my very proper parents apparently pilfered them).

          As far as the Chuck Muir restaurants, when they opened in Grand Rapids (and for some time thereafter), it was very, very good quality. I LOVED that bread, and they also served a great smoked whitefish "pate" with the bread and Matzo crackers. Just the other day, in fact, I found some similar whitefish spread at a local deli and felt compelled to go buy Matzo just to eat with that.

          Unfortunately, after the owners' accident, Charley's Crab (the Grand Rapids restaurant) started to go downhill. I'm honestly not sure if it's still open here. A few veterans ended up starting Leo's, which is a fantastic restaurant much in the same tradition (relatively simply prepared, amazingly fresh seafood, acommodating kitchen and excellent service, but of course allowing for evolving tastes). They have very good rolls (hot and fresh and fluffy with rosemary baked in), but oh, I do miss the bread at Charley's Crab.

          And speaking of bread, The Spinnaker in Grand Rapids used to have great bread with cheese baked into it. I have no idea if they still do.

        4. In chelsea, about 20 min outside of Ann Arbor there is a place called Common Grill makes rolls that taste the same if not better. They will tell you how to make them or you can buy them frozen. The food is great too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: momsafoodie

            These are great dinner rolls. I was looking at Common Grill's web page and noticed in Craig Common's bio -- "A self-taught chef, Common worked for the C.A. Muer Corporation, eventually becoming Corporate Chef, overseeing sixteen Muer restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Florida."

            Wow! I guess it's pretty safe to assume this is where the rolls came from (unless he created the recipe outright) I assume he has improved the recipe. In any case, they're very tasty.

            I will be that way soon and HOPE they will tell me how to make these rolls, as they're not in either of the Common Grill cookbooks..... :(

          2. These rolls are from Chuck Muer's chain of restaurants. I have eaten at both the Real Seafood Company in Ann Arbor, and the Common Grill in Chelsea. This recipe is virtually identical, and I've made it twice. Watch the baking time; they get crusty very quickly.

            Chuck Muer's House Bread

            Ingredients:
            1 package dry yeast
            1 1/2 cups water
            1 tbsp sugar
            1 tbsp salt
            2 tbsp olive oil
            4 cups high gluten bread flour
            1/4 cup kosher salt
            2 tbsp poppy seeds
            Chef Larry's Blessing

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Directions: 1. In a bowl, sprinkle yeast on top of warm water (110 degrees). When yeast has dissolved and starts to form bubbles, add sugar, salt and oil. Mix well.
            2. Using an electric mixer or food processor on low speed, mix in the 4 cups of bread flour. As the ingredients combine, the dough should become soft. If it is sticky, add a little more flour.
            3. Knead dough at medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
            4. Remove dough from machine and knead by hand for 2 to 3 minutes.
            5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clear plastic wrap or clean towel. Set bowl in a warm place and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 25 to 35 minutes.
            6. Mix kosher salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.
            7. When the dough has risen, separate into 4 equal pieces.
            8. Sprinkle your work surface with the salt-seed mixture.
            9. Form each dough piece into a long loaf and roll through the salt-seed mixture to lightly coat each piece.
            10. Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With kitchen scissors, cut loaves into 5 sections, leaving the sections still attached.
            11. Brush loaves completely with Chef Larry's Blessing.
            12. Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes before baking. (At this point, they may be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before baking.)
            13. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

            Chef Larry's Blessing:
            In a blender, emulsify 1 large clove of garlic and 1 cup of olive oil. Add 2 tablespoons of dried basil, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano and 1/8 teaspoon of salt, then turn blender on and off intermittently to mix thoroughly.

            Store covered at room temperature until ready to use. The marinade will keep for about 1 week.

            1. Interesting. Mainstreet Ventures just opened a burger place in the Dayton, OH area, EO Burgers. While the turkey burger I had was quite good, the bun itself was nothing special.