Stick to the Beer
Back when I first visited the Corner Brewery, I didn't need to worry about the food. Until recently, the kitchen offered only a limited menu of snacks. A full menu launched June 1. It's an eclectic assortment of appetizers, salads, and sandwiches, with nearly equal weight on vegetarian and meat dishes. The kitchen workforce is slim, however, and there's no waitstaff.
I wanted to like the new menu, too. It looks decent on paper, combining an appetizing array of bar food and a stated commitment to local products. Unfortunately, somewhere between the concept and table, things went awry.
I was grateful that cheese was almost undetectable in the chicken nachos--who wants more fat?--but the chopped chicken was utterly flavorless, and next time I'd order without the olives. Still, the dish was redeemed by excellent chips from the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory just off Ellsworth. At the other end of the provenance spectrum, almost nothing on the Middle Eastern sampler plate seemed local and only the pita seemed notably fresh. The tabouli tasted like it came from a mix of rehydrated bulgur and dried mint, with none of the fresh parsley, tomatoes, or scallions I expect in tabouli. The other two dips on the plate were a passable hummus and a tapenade of coarsely chopped mixed olives. Like the olives on the nachos, these were sub-par, reminding me of the canned pitted olives that my mother used to put out at cocktail parties in the sixties. We filled up on the plate's sole saving grace, warm fluffy flat bread from Gordon Food Service (hey, it's a Michigan company too).