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Tuesday July 22, 2014
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Brandon Unbound

 

continued

The service was reasonably smooth for a place that had been open so short a time. Some servers were better informed than others (one couldn't name a single item on the charcuterie platter and another misidentified a soft goat cheese as a cheddar). On my last visit, the server was slow, distracted to the point of rudeness, and forgot to bring the basket of fresh bread (from Detroit's Avalon Bakery) that we'd enjoyed on earlier trips. And although I prefer the barroom, food does take somewhat longer to schlep up those stairs.

But, in the main, on three out of four visits, the floor crew was tight, well schooled, and seemingly in sync with the kitchen. Johns hired experienced line cooks--all of whom he'd worked with before--and he prowls the dining room making sure everything is as it should be. His wife, Sara, is often present as well. I recognized the capable bartender from Vinology. Trendler, the knowledgeable sommelier-manager, has a background as a wine distributor and knows her plonk.

I've loved reviewing restaurants, but now I look forward to cooking more and eating out less. I'll keep writing and exploring. One of the best aspects of this gig has been the adventure of seeing our corner of Michigan through the lens of food. The interesting, odd, exotic, down-home, mediocre, sometimes awful, and occasionally excellent eateries in and around Ann Arbor all say a lot about the community. We are lucky that we still have not been overrun by chains. But even among our many indie restaurants, it is rare to find many that combine skill in preparation, exceptional ingredients, service, and atmosphere. Grange Kitchen and Bar is one. What a great addition to Ann Arbor.

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