Restaurant reviews and food news from Ann Arbor Observer reviewers M.B. Lewis and Lee Lawrence, and assorted opinionated Ann Arborites.Friday, November 23, 2012
A turkey flies the [kitchen] coop
Thanksgiving dinner was an tradition-busting event for my family this year. Instead of cleaning house for days, grocery shopping in a frenzy suited to black Friday, and more exhausting tasks to feed family by the dozen, we got invited by fairy godparent grandparents out to Weber's. If you are NOT among the more than 3,200 locals who visit this Ann Arbor landmark for its busiest day of the year--tally courtesy of VP for food and beverage operations Michael Weber--perhaps you will be interested in this short account of the experience.
I was nervous in the early going. We made our reservation in time for the family-style tables packed into the very noisy downstairs ballroom (they had to start saying no a week before the holiday, VP Weber told me), and we waited a half-hour to be seated. One family member had missed the memo that we wouldn't be ordering off the menu (that only happens upstairs). Water, wine, etc. were slow to arrive, and we never got the right number of dinner plates, so I used a salad bar mini-plate available for the grabbing. The knife to cut the turkey tableside could have been sharper, especially since the bird was a little dry and inclined to shred.
On the other hand, the side dishes were excellent: bright al dente steamed green beans, fine cornbread stuffing, rich mashed potatoes, and totally acceptable poultry gravy. Bowls of sides were replenished as we finished them and asked for more, which happened a lot. Coffee and pumpkin pie came when we wanted it (and thanks for having creamers on the table ahead of time, Mr. Weber) And we got to bring the turkey carcasses home for soup and pickins--the best! I considered it all a good value for $21 per person. My patrons tipped above the 18 percent gratuity.
"We've learned a lot since our first Thanksgiving, when we only served 200 and it wasn't as smooth as it is now that we serve thousands," VP Weber told me. He's clearly devoted to and proud of the Ann Arbor business his grandparents founded 75 years ago.
You won't be able to take advantage of this info on Christmas Day, since Weber's closes then. But New Year's reservations are still available, and brunch on Mother's Day and Easter are also big productions, VP Weber said. And with only 2000 served on those days, you might have a bit more space to maneuver at your seat.
posted by Mary Beth Lewis at 2:19 p.m. | 0 comments