The Earle Ann Arbor
It has been many years since I dined at the Earle.
Yesterday My gf and I were wandering around the art fair, and I decided to take her to the Earle for dinner.
I love the atmosphere - some live quiet music, dark basement (romantic) with exposed brick and stone.
The wine list still seems long, though I didn't spend any time looking in detail, just ordered a Cote d Rhone by the glass that was OK.
Service we decent.
Bread was so-so, not warm.
I ordered a caesar salad to start that we planned to share. It was the most garlicky caesar I have ever had. So garlicky that my gf wanted to spit out her one and only bite (she did, actually). Now she is a very sensitive eater, but I am not - this was one garlicky salad. I ate about 75% of it, but didn't really enjoy it. For comparison, I love the Caesar at the Clarkston Union.
She had a whitefish dish that was very good, ate every last bite. It was crusted in soemthing and pan fried. Good dish.
I had a veal dish, sauted, with a few mushrooms and then had some cheese put over the veal/mushrooms and put somewhere to melt the cheese. Anyway, I would have preferred the dish without the cheese.
The veal was good, not great. The orzo on the side was good. as were the small portion of mixed veggies. The dish also came wit ha couple asparagus spears that were wrapped in proscioutto (I think, some cured pork product) - these were expectional.
All in all, I was just slightly disappointed last night.
Maybe it was me, but the Earle just did not impress me like my memory expected it to. I will most likely try out some different AA restaurants the next time I am in town like this.
it wasn't because of Art Fest crowds either, though the restaurant was busy it was not swamped; there was no wait at 7:30, and it never filled up either.
I think I saw a Groupon or some deal recently - wish I had gotten that and used it to soften the blow a little.
Another general note - several AA restaurants seem to be closed for a week or two at the moment - seemed odd to me that they would close during the Art Fair - but maybe they have staffing issues during the summer ,and dont want to disappoint the potential crowds?
I was told that a number of restaurants close for Art Fair (especially the higher end ones) because so few people eat there---most people are eating the street food, not a sit down meal. Also getting their workers into the restaurant, dealing with parking etc just might not be worth it.
I thought it was counter-intuitive as well but a number of restauranteurs told me otherwise. We went to Slurping Turtle on Friday during Art Fair and were able to walk right in (which is great because it's usually a long wait. Chef Takashi was actually there that night!).