When I heard it was Ann Arbor’s restaurant week, I definitely wanted to check it out. This was my first restaurant week and I am sad to say that it was disappointing. Inda, Lora, and I decided to try out Gandy Dancer, an upscale, historic restaurant located in the Michigan Central Depot. The ambience and atmosphere were lovely, but this was not ideal for an intimate setting. Not only was the noisy Amtrak disrupting dinner, but every time the train went by, the guests would clap. This reminded me of the annoying triple clap that occurs in MJR theaters right before the movie starts.
For restaurant week, Gandy Dancer offered three courses (a few different options to choose from) for $28.
Inda ordered a Raspberry Martini with a sugar rim. Good, easy drinking, but too sweet for my tastebuds.
I decided on a Dirty Martini (Tito’s Vodka) with blue cheese stuffed olives. One of my favorites, made well. Not too dirty (salty from the olive juice).
The meal started out great with the Butternut Squash Bisque with crouton, goat cheese, brown butter. This soup was creamy and comforting, yet not overly sweet. The dollop of the tangy goat cheese was nice. The crouton was missing which was a bummer.
Our server brought out the second course before we were even finished with our first course. I liked that the food came out quickly, however, I felt rushed. It would have been nice to have some downtime in between courses to enjoy my martini and conversation.
Inda and I went with the Deconstructed Chicken Cordon Bleu featuring roasted airline breast, smoked gouda mornay, smashed redskins, and a pancetta crisp. I liked the concept, but the chicken was bland and unseasoned. The red skin mashed potatoes were good, but as Inda put it, they were “Applebee’s mashed potatoes, but only twice the price.” The dish was served with crispy pancetta that was too salty and tasted like it had been sitting out. Dried out, dehydrated, if you will. This dish was not hot when it came out, just room temperature.
Lora chose the Roasted Vegetable Ravioli with a vegetable bolognese and shaved parmesan. Lora was not a fan, but compared to my dish, I thought this was good. The ravioli had an almost sweet and sour sauce. It was bright, flavorful, and different from any bolognese I’ve had.
Warm Butter Cake with an orange blossom glaze which I didn’t care for. This was warm, but tasted like it was store bought. Meh
Chocolate Decadence with a Raspberry coulis (fruit puree made into a sauce). I was hoping for a warm, thick, rich, oooey, gooey, piece of chocolate goodness. What I got was a cold, hard, stale, dense triangle that tasted like chocolate.
I really wanted to like Gandy Dancer so my unsatisfying experience was upsetting. One of my co-workers even had her wedding reception here so I expected the food to be amazing, but overall, it was unacceptable. Service was OK. The timing of the courses was inconsistent and at one point our server cleared Lora’s drink before she was finished with it (Oh, hell no)! Yet, our empty bread basket and dishes were left on the table well after we were done. I expected more from a restaurant in the Muer family. I heard that Gandy Dancer has excellent seafood, but in my opinion if a dish is on the menu, it should be executed well no matter what the restaurant may be “known for.” I am glad that restaurant week provided me with the opportunity to try out Gandy Dancer for a lower price. Had I spent what it normally costs on this meal I would’ve been extremely displeased. Unfortunately, I will not be returning to Gandy Dancer.