My darling of a girlfriend, Stephanie, took me to Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor on Sunday for my birthday and it was damn delicious. I have been meaning to visit this place since it opened because of the huge variety of food it offers. The menu features “old-time American classics” but gives you a lot more than just simple comfort food. You are given the option of creating your own cheese plate, a large oyster menu, a great domestic beer list, and reading materials giving you detailed information of pretty much everything on the menu. The wait staff is readily available to answer any questions you may have, and is well informed on all things food.

I started off with an oyster. I had never had the privilege, mainly because I was a bit weary of raw foods until a few years ago. The oysters offered raw or smoked, and I went with the raw Steamhouse oyster, which was recommended by our waitress. I can not even explain how delicious it was, and I regret ever being afraid of them. With a bit of the house made horse radish sauce, this was a delicious beginning to he meal.

After the oyster, we moved on to the appetizer menu which boasts a great variety of starters.   We decided to go with the fried calamari and chili & cheddar fries.  The calamari was good, but not great.  I have had calamari many times, and this falls right in the middle of those experiences.  It was not over fried, but the taste of the calamari didn’t completely shine through.  I could give it a solid C+ as far as calamari goes.  As for the chili & cheddar fries, I have never had anything like it.  The twice-cooked fries were good, but the chili was complete with large tender pieces of beef.  It was topped with 2-year raw-milk Vermont cheddar.

For our entrees, I had to go with the Texas cabrito with mashed potatoes and mac & cheese.  The cabrito is pulled free-range goat that is smoked over wood and served with barbecue sauce.  Wow, never had goat but it was absolutely delicious.  I have to say that if you are not an adventurous eater, goat may not be for you.  I can’t really explain what goat tastes like, but if you’re interested I would highly recommend it.  The mashed potatoes were good, but the mac & cheese was very average.  Stephanie ordered the New Mexico black bean and hominy burger.  It was served with green chiles, avocado salad, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, on a fresh onion roll.  It was an interesting burger because the patty was not completely formed.  It acted as more of a spread.

All in all, I would give Roadhouse a solid B.  The appetizers and starters are the real star of the meal, while the entrees seemed pretty average.  If you visit there, I would stick to the oysters, cheese plate, and appetizers.

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