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Tuesday September 16, 2014
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Seafood Trio

 

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How would love survive? Happily, Ann Arbor's restaurateurs had the answer. When I have a hankering for good seafood, the question is not whether, but where. While it seems like there's salmon on every menu and two sushi bars in every strip mall, I look first to three outposts of fabled dining empires--the Gandy Dancer (Muer Seafood Restaurants), Real Seafood Co. (Main Street Ventures), and Zingerman's Roadhouse.

The Gandy Dancer

The Gandy Dancer proves the old adage, "location, location, location." The romance of the rails, the stone and woodwork, and the historical authenticity of the 1886 train station combine to make this Ann Arbor's top destination restaurant. Regardless of cuisine, this would be a prime setting for those special times when the Platinum Card comes out to play.

The Gandy Dancer's kitchen is more than a match for diners' destination expectations, with lavish offerings, more-than-adequate execution, and the staid predictability of a top-tier steakhouse. Service also matches fine steakhouse standards, with knowledgeable staff gently nudging us towards overindulgence. At one family celebration we were seduced into a shellfish appetizer orgy--and how we loved the Diamond Jim Brady decadence of it all. Still, that leads precisely to my quibble with the menu: most preparations are just a bit too over-the-top in Gay Nineties / Robber Baron-style. Rich toppings are unavoidable. Are they dressing the sea critters because they think we can't cope with them au naturel, or is the ornamentation just nice for their bottom line?

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