The new black
times in his opening spiel, making me restless to see what all the hype was about.
Starting with the small plates, the tempura-battered squash blossoms, stuffed with goat cheese and resting on a hearty gazpacho sauce, were a highlight--and the best evidence that Vinology makes scrumptious food with local ingredients. I can't say as much for the Michigan mushroom tartlet, with its bland seasoning and tough puff pastry. The "Kobe" beef isn't local, nor is it Japanese--it's a Kobe-style Wagyu-Angus hybrid raised in the Midwest. Perhaps because Angus doesn't achieve the same level of marbling as Wagyu, the Kobe "sliders" were so thick and dry they wouldn't have slid down a linebacker's throat--even when lubricated with a trio of fresh tomato ketchups. My favorite of the small plates was the filet tips, perfectly seared and covered with a slightly citrusy ponzu glaze. Popcorn, seasoned with a snooty but satisfying hint of truffle oil, was a surprising side to the tips.
Among the entrees, the braised Kobe short rib completely redeemed the sliders. Even cooked well done, the meat was still so tender and juicy it nearly melted in my mouth. Lake perch, the most obviously local entree, disappointed me with its soggy breading, but my co-reviewer was pleased that the fish remained moist, a welcome change from most perch preparations.