The Earle – Ann Arbor Restaurant Week: Jan. 2014

The last time I dined at The Earle in Ann Arbor was before I began this blog – so at least four or more year ago! I decided to give it a second whirl for Ann Arbor Restaurant Week, since Five Cent Femme had never visited, and since it’d been so long since my last visit.

As with most of my Restaurant Week reviews, I’ll begin with the disclaimer that the meals and service provided during Restaurant Week may or may not be representative of a restaurant’s typical experience, but this blog is all about sharing food experiences, which is why I like writing these reviews. I’d like to think Restaurant Week at least gives me a taste of what all the restaurant is about. This helps me decide if I would want to return again, and provides the chance to try restaurants that I wouldn’t normally visit.

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Most restaurants offered three course dinner menus for a set price last week, and at The Earle, diners had the choice of a soup or a salad for the first course.

I liked the salad, featuring romaine, bibb, spicy radicchio, with tomato wedges tossed with
vinaigrette, but it was pretty standard. If I were a restaurateur, I feel like I would want to feature something special and unique that would entice new visitors to return to my restaurant, which wasn’t really the case with this course.

The bread was so good! Crusty with a soft interior.

An extensive wine list is offered at The Earle. I enjoyed a glass of Malbec with my meal.

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My main course:

“Whitefish – Fresh filet of whitefish coated with ground hazelnuts and breadcrumbs…sautéed and served with a walnut vinaigrette with fresh chives…on a bed of sautéed spinach…served with potatoes.”

I was really pleased with the generous portion size of the whitefish. I had leftovers to take home for lunch the next day, boxed up by our server.

The fish was good but it didn’t blow me away. There was a beautifully browned coating on the it, which I’d hoped would be crispy, but unfortunately it was kind of soggy. Also any nuttiness that the hazelnuts were to provide was completely lost. I think I had more breadcrumbs than hazelnuts on my filet. I think if the nut and breadcrumb coating were crisper it would have really elevated the dish. I also could have done with a tad more salt.

The sautéed spinach was nice, but again, pretty standard.

Buttery, soft redskin skin potatoes with herbs were my favorite part of my entrée!

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I have a hard time resisting crème brûlée when I see it on a menu. Yummy.

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All in all I was not blown away by The Earle, which was about how I felt last time I visited.

  • The foods I’ve had the opportunity to try just seem pretty standard and don’t excite me. Maybe I’m not ordering the right dishes?
  • Our service was also very slow and inattentive but I’m willing to chalk that up to the fact that they were so busy with Restaurant Week diners.
  • The restaurant’s menu and interior could both use a bit of a facelift, in my opinion, as both seem dated. But one could argue that it is that old familiarity and classic charm that draws in repeat diners?

So there you have it, my Earle experience in a nutshell.

Earle on Urbanspoon

4 thoughts on “The Earle – Ann Arbor Restaurant Week: Jan. 2014

  1. Interesting review. I too dined at the Earle during restaurant week! And, I too ordered the whitefish because I love it but its way too expensive outside of restaurant week. That said, even though I love it to death, I think your comments are spot on. Don’t taste the hazelnuts at all, salad good but standard, etc. Love the chocolate mousse though! I agree that the decor needs an update especially the bathroom. For weeks last spring their toilet paper holders were falling apart, with sharp plastic edges, etc. we kept leaving notes (my friend left a postie “is this the Earle or the Eight Ball?”). Anyways, I go there a lot ( best happy hour in town I think) but I agree, they need an update. The bar menu is very good (seafood pizza!) but hardly ever changes. Oh here’s what really irks me about restaurant week, at least at the Earle, no happy our prices on wine. It’s like saying “we know you come here every week, but sorry, it’s restaurant week and there’s money to be made.” Grrrrr.

  2. Pingback: Logan–Ann Arbor Restaurant Week: Jan. 2014 | Meg Goes Nom Nom

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