OT - Ann Arbor anniversary dinner recommendations

Submitted by pfholland on July 20th, 2018 at 12:53 PM

My wife and I, who met as students at Michigan, will be in Ann Arbor for our 10th anniversary next week, and we're looking for a nice place for dinner (just the two of us).  The original plan was to go to the Gandy Dancer, but we've heard from multiple people that it has gone downhill, so I thought it prudent to look at other options.

So what say you, MGoHorde?  Where would you want to go for a nice dinner in Ann Arbor?



July 20th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

Ann Arbor Chop House. 

Pricey, but immaculate and amazing ambiance.  Service without peer.  Great steaks and seafood.

And next door is an amazing place for dessert (cannot recall the name).

Always my favorite.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:00 PM ^

If you are both fans of steak (which, what human isn't?), Chop House never ever disappoints. Still one of the best two or three steaks I have ever had. A little step down in "swankiness", but I would recommend Aventura as well, it's pretty solid. 


I can't speak to Gandy Dancer going downhill, that's a brunch place to me. I think I've had a dinner there a couple times, but I associate them with Sunday Brunch, which has always been great. 


I don't love a lot of the "nice" places in downtown AA. I know a lot of people like Logan, but I really think it's just okay. I don't like Grazi at all - I've gotten sick there and I think Palio's across the street is actually just better.


July 20th, 2018 at 4:52 PM ^

We're really not picky with respect to cuisines.  We like everything.  I know that's not exactly helpful in picking a restaurant, but it's true.

The only reason I'm hesitating on Chop House is because we went there a few years ago for my wife's birthday.  A side note, it was in early January, and I still remember that the vegetable of the day was truffle mac and cheese.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:24 PM ^

Paleo, Gratzi, and Real Seafood are all owned by Main St. Ventures (as is Carson's on Plymouth Rd). They're pretty good but there are better options -- like Logan and Pacific Rim. Depends what kind of food you like. I went to Paleo last year for the first time and was disappointed -- Gratzi is better for Italian IMO.

Aventura is very good but can get expensive as those plates are smaaaall! It's also very loud in there which might not be good for an anniversary dinner. I'd rate their food better than any of the MSV restaurants.

We usually go to Pacific Rim as they have a variety of great dishes that aren't supper heavy (like Chop House). We normally order a bunch of small plates and do our own tapas set up. However, their Korean-style Rib Eye is to die for and beats anything at the Chop House IMO. So, even though it's an entree, it has been making it into the mix a lot of late.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

You may have been saying this, but MSV also owns Chop House and La Dolce Vita. 


Agree, Gratzi has way better food than Palio. Palio's solid, but not top tier.


Also agree on Pacific Rim - very good and on my list of top tier nicer places in AA. Really depends on the mood you're in.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

I haven't been in Ann Arbor for 3 years so obviously take my word for it:

I liked Pacific Rim and Logan.  

Okiedoke. Happy anniversary 


July 20th, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

I was trying to remember the name of West End Grill.  Ate there last year for the first time and was favorably impressed.  I’m in the “I like Logan” group.  You do need to read the menu carefully, though.  Some dishes can be a bit underwhelming, but most are very good.  They do a good job with cocktails and wine, too.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:13 PM ^

I love the Gandy Dancer.  I have eaten there periodically over the last few years and have not noticed any decline.  For seafood - I like it more than Real Seafood (but that is also good).  


Lots of good choices in town.  And happy anniversary.  


July 20th, 2018 at 4:39 PM ^

The Gandy Dancer used to part of the Muer family's cache of restaurants (Charley's Crab, Rocky's, Big Fish, Meriwether's).

Joe Muir was a famous Detroit restauranteur going back to the 1920's. His son, Chuck, was the proprietor of the aforementioned establishments -- his first was The River Crab on the St. Clair River in Marysville. My parents cavorted with Chuck and his wife and I knew their family pretty well -- really nice people. I used to wait table at The River Crab during summer vacations during my time at UM. 

The Muer's perished while sailing from the Bahamas to Florida during a bad storm in 1993. They never found a trace of them at all. His daughters sold the restaurants to Landry's a few years later. Think I've only eaten at one of the old Muer places a couple of times since and probably not at all in the last 15 years.

A really cool story about Joe Muer. I had a friend in A2, Dores McCree, who was one of my favorite people ever. She died at the age of 90 eight or ten years ago. Her husband was Wade McCree who was quite a guy. He graduated from Harvard Law after serving in WWII and later moved to the D and became a Federal Appeals judge. The pair had a gaggle of highly educated children, many of whom are UM grads Their son. Wade Jr., a former judge in DTW is a royal POS, though. My house got broken into due to him drawing a bad element into A2.

Even though both Dores and Wade were highly educated they experienced a lot of racism in Detroit. They weren't able to enter most of the restaurants where you'd think a judge would be welcome. They had their windshield bashed in by a gang of white dudes while sitting in their car at a drive in A&W in the 1950's, for example. 

They really rose above all that as people. When their daughter wasn't allowed to attend a private school in DTW their answer was to found The Friend's School. Wade ended up being the US Solicitor General under Jimmy Carter and then moved to the faculty at UM Law before passing away in the 1980's. 

They were welcome at all of Joe Muer's places, though. Chuck had been gone a decade by the time Dores told me that story and I wasn't able to relay it to him. One of these days I'll run into one of his daughters and will be sure to tell them that story about their granddad.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^

Went to Pacific Rim for an anniversary dinner recently, and it was excellent. Cheaper than Chop House (which I also love), but equally good food. They also have booths that are conducive to a romantic vibe; just ask when reserving.

Sione For Prez

July 20th, 2018 at 1:35 PM ^

I'll put my vote in for Chop House. Wife and I got a small corner booth recently and it was perfect for an anniversary setting and obviously the food was amazing.


July 20th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

I guess this is unpopular, but Chop House is mediocre, especially for the price. For steak, I'd go with Knights or even Ruth's Chris.

In general, Pacific Rim and Taste Kitchen are our favorites. West End Grille is pretty good as well. Heading to dessous tonight, which we're excited about because anything Eve touches is typically great.


July 21st, 2018 at 2:08 AM ^

Sounds like I need to check out Taste Kitchen.  I was sad to see Eve close as it was one of the only restaurants in AA that I felt lived up to the hype.  I enjoyed Pacific Rim as well, though got bored of the menu after a few visits.  Nowadays when I visit the area, I have more fun finding interesting restaurants in Detroit which has a great restaurant scene these days.


July 21st, 2018 at 12:12 AM ^

Very good, but its a brazillian steakhouse (there's another chain called Texas de Brazil which I thought was the exact same quality). Essentially all you can eat. You turn over a green/red coaster thing and the servers will give you as much meat at you want.

The big scam is the nice salad bar they have (and offer) before the meal. Don't fill up on salad - fill up on meat and get your $80 worth or whatever it costs now.


July 20th, 2018 at 2:16 PM ^

My girlfriend took me to Chop House for my birthday, and it didn't disappoint. I had the venison and it was excellent. 50% off of food on your birthday, too!