The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Ann Arbor Eats: Mikette

Until a few months ago, there was only one strictly French restaurant in Ann Arbor, a fact that still baffles me.  So when Mikette opened a few months ago I couldn’t be happier.   What’s even better is that it’s from the same guys that brought us Mani Osteria and Isalita.   Both of those have brought high-quality, inventive Italian and Mexican, respectively, cuisine that have received national acclaim.   I was sure that Mikette’s interpretations of Southern French cuisine would be a home run.

But you know what makes me even happier than all of that?  They read my blog.   Or at least I assume they read my blog.    OK, let’s just lie and say they did.

Last year I wrote a series of posts about the current state of Ann Arbor’s restaurant scene, focusing on how the exorbitant rental market in the bustling downtown drove up costs which, in turn, increased pressure on owners to bring in a lot of diners.  This resulted in dumbed-down menus filled with boring, familiar, mass quantity type of dishes.   The final installment of the series was where I came up with a solution – strip malls.   Having restaurants in strip malls and office parks, where rents are dirt cheap,  allows owners to keep costs down and take some risks.

Mikette is located away from the downtown area and is close to the University of Michigan’s North Campus, an area mainly known for cheap eats and zero night life.    It’s not technically in a strip mall, but rather strip malls – plural.   The complex consists of several one-story buildings each with multiple businesses and a few parking lots, which is still quite different than your usual downtown location with lots of foot traffic.   The perk of being able to park your car (for free) and be inside the restaurant in a minute or two can’t be overestimated.   Especially now since the temperature has dipped below 60 degrees.  (I’m a wimp, but you’ll be able to relate in January.)

In my pitch for strip malls, I had said that the nondescript nature of the spaces could be a blank canvass and that a good interior designer can bring all kinds of personality.   Check out this pic from their Facebook page –

mikette-interior

 

I love it when I’m right.

 

What We Ate

Just like their other restaurants, the menu is set-up so that diners can share small plates or have the usual appetizer and entree.    There were so many things we wanted to try, so we opted for a few smaller plates.

Except  The Nemo, which was rather large

mikette-nemo

 

Charred beets with Boursin creme, tarragon salsa verde

mikette-beets

 

Eggplant Tagine with tomatoes, cucumber lemon couscous, cumin yogurt

mikette-tagine

 

Roasted mushrooms with garlic, sherry, thyme

mikette-mush

 

Truffle Mac with Gruyere, English peas, truffle oil

mikette-mac

 

Madeleines

mikette-mads

 

Seriously great food.   The seafood platter was terrific, with the highlight being the  Thai-influenced scallop ceviche with cucumber, peanuts, micro cilantro, and lime.  The smoky eggplants were awesome and the mac was sinful.    The only misstep – if you can call it that – was that the mushrooms were a little too rich.    Even with the Nemo we were well under a hundred bucks (excluding cocktails and wine) which, especially for Ann Arbor, is more than reasonable.

As much as I love going downtown, I really hope other restaurateurs follow their example and start opening in cheaper-rent places.

Or at least follow their example by listening TO WHAT I SAY.

 

 

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

4 comments on “Ann Arbor Eats: Mikette

  1. anotherfoodieblogger
    December 8, 2016

    Whoa that Nemo plate looks delicious!

  2. ksbeth
    December 8, 2016

    i can’t wait to try this, i love their other restaurants.

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2016 by in Ann Arbor, Dining and tagged , , , , , , , .
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