From Melange to dessous
A new name caps its makeover by Eve Aronoff Fernandez
From the July, 2018 issue
On the first day of June, Eve Aronoff Fernandez and her team officially opened the doors to the newly made-over underground Main St. restaurant formerly known as Melange. Now called dessous, it has received a complete style and menu revision from Aronoff Fernandez and her six-person consulting group, who call themselves "the equipo."
Melange owners Scott Burk and Jay Mullick gave Aronoff Fernandez almost full creative control of the revamp. The former Top Chef competitor and owner of Frita Batidos says her official title is "consulting chef."
Aronoff Fernandez has completely redone the menu, keeping only two Melange best sellers: the duck nachos and the sushi. When pressed for a general description of the food style, she says "in terms of the flavor profiles, probably modern French-Indian." Many of the dishes will be seasonal. On the menu in June was a "Warm Weather Spaccatelli" and "Green Chicken" cooked in a spicy green chili broth.
The interior has also been completely redone. "With my style of cooking, there's always a lot of textures and contrast," says Aronoff Fernandez. "I like to kind of echo that in the design." Long angular gray couches with wool accent cushions are backed against a median filled with bright green moss, kept healthy by a series of plant lights above. The cocktail lounge by the bar has bed-like backless couches, ample accent cushions, and a number of tea candles.
They chose the name--the French word for "below"--as a nod to the descent down the stairs into the restaurant, though "it has a couple different meanings and interpretations," Aronoff Fernandez admits laughing. (The results when you google the term tend to bring up another definition: the French word for lingerie.)
Though the space is meant to be luxurious, Aronoff Fernandez says they don't have an exclusive clientele in mind. "We don't care if people come in and just get one appetizer for eight people and stay for three hours. We just want to welcome people. No pretension."
Dessous, 312 S. Main. (734) 222-0202. Dining: Mon.-Thurs. 5-10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 5-11 p.m. Lounge: Mon.-Wed. 4-11 p.m., Thurs. 4 p.m.-midnight, Fri. & Sat. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Closed Sun. dessousannarbor.com
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