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May 20, 2011 12:07 PM

Mani osteria Ann Arbor Brief review

At last night at the new small plate/pizzaria. Came in with pretty high expectations, from the chef and owner pedigree of the joint. Service was very friendly, but inexperie was obvious. Many questions about the food , were politely defrred, or the server forgot to follow up on. Mani takes reservations 30min prior, we called but had no wait on arrival. Briely had the Salumi plate/Arinci/Pork Belly/Ricotta and meatball pizza/ Tagiatelli with pepper and trumpet mushrooms/ and the Gelato trio.
Salumi Plate-($16) excellent, sourced from store in Brookyln- pickled veggies had a bit much clove for my taste, but the house mustard was good.
Arinci-($7) very small plate- romesco sauce a bit salty, ans i prefer an more rustic preperation, but acceptable for Ann Arbor.
Pork Belly ($10) will be a big hit I'm sure, small but tasty portion, the caponata was way too sweet and needed much more vinegar to balance and cut the richness of the pork.
Pizza-($14)- I think they are still working out the kinks, dough had nice texture, and toppings were very fresh. Main problems were the saltiness of the crust, and lack of crispness of the crust. I think the ovens were underfired.
Pasta- ($12)Really liked it, nice texture and cooked well, obviously handmade.
Gelato- Very small portion- and average.
A nice meal, will return with friends once some of the kinks are worked out, ie very long wait between courses. A good addition to the area.

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  1. Okay Toro, Count me in for the Salumi plate. Wish it wasn't such a long drive from the Metro's east side. But, when I get there (hopefully soon), I'll share my experience, too. Thx for the write up. vtb

    1. I am happy to report that Ann Arbor now has a hip restaurant with a delicious menu. The place was humming with activity. Not accepting reservations may be a problem but some but we had no problems getting a table after a very short wait at the bar. Staff is friendly, working hard to get it right. We ate through the menu and would recommend all the food. I agree with Toro-the only minor glitch for me was that some food was a bit too salty. Our pizzas were perfectly cooked and delicious. We enjoyed a leisurely meal and had no complaints whatsoever about the service. Mani Osteria was needed in Ann Arbor and I predict it will do well.

      1. We went to Mani for dinner last night (first visit) during A2 Restaurant Week. The place was packed. We had reservations and they seated us promptly. Ordered off the Restaurant Week menu.
        Our waiter explained the menu items very well, and answered all our questions. Service was very prompt. I ordered the crispy pork belly, pickled tomatoes and pappardelle w/ bolognese sauce.
        The pork belly was fantastic as pork belly usually is. The pickled tomatoes were a bit too tart and the accompanying tapenade was much too too salty. The heavy salt also made it to the bolognese sauce, though the homemade pasta was excellent, cooked perfectly ( al dente ).
        Between the wife's and son's orders, we also sampled crispy artichokes, ribolita soup, arugula and mizuna salad and two different pizzas - all of which were excellent.
        The only choice for dessert was gelato, which was perfect after all this variety.
        Other than being generous with the salt, as mentioned, we had a very enjoyable meal. Good wine too.
        The place has a very nice vibe; it's noisy, but you can carry on a conversation without having to shout. It's a keeper, and we hope to return real soon.

        1. Given the hype and prices, I found Mani disappointing. Part of my gripes stem from many years in Chicago where great Italian food is readily available, at any price point.
          My dining companion & I ordered 5 dishes. I loved the calamari (& tomato-based sauce), but the other choices were merely good to disappointing. . . . overall unmemorable. My $11 spinach'fig salad had maybe 2 small chunks of fresh fig. Barely dressed, this salad simply didn't come together.
          Why doesn't Mani offer some baguette/bread to accompany the small plates & to enjoy the sauces left in the serving bowls? Too often the wait staff whisked away the plates with sauce remaining--annoying.
          And, yes, so loud in Mani you can barely converse.

          1 Reply
          1. re: trapani

            I had sauce left from my pasta and jokingly told the server I would finish it if I had some bread. She whisked away and came back with bread for me to sop up the rest of my sauce. They don't offer it necessarily but they do have it for the asking.

          2. We live in downtown A2, and the addition of Mani's is welcome.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CuterieDad

              Count me as a fan. I dined here last Thursday and throroughly enjoyed my meal. I tried the pork belly and marinated tomato appetizers and had the farmer's market pizza of the day ( hot copa, fresh peaches,goat cheese, and red onion.) I sat in the back by the oven, so it was pretty cool to see the kitchen at work while I dined.