Three decades later, the Viennese-style café ethos continues in Downtown Ann Arbor
Just off the bustling corner of Washington and 4th Avenue, Amadeus (122 E Washington) offers a refined experience of Eastern Bloc cuisine in a building from 1876. Juxtaposed with the busy streetscape, the restaurant interior’s European-accented decor complements the classical music wafting through the room. Somehow quaintly baroque, this atmosphere includes clustered, smaller tables, as expected in a Viennese cafe, figurines perched on wooden shelving lining the walls and portraits showcased in gilded frames. The setting, elegant and classic, foreshadows the fare.
The kielbasa appetizer featured a surprisingly fine grind of meats with a delicate smoke flavor, pleasantly but not overly charred. Another starter, the pierogies, three coin purse-sized dumplings sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs included a savory mushroom version, a farmer’s cheese and potato variety, as well as a pork-filled pocket with acutely chopped fried pork and a sweet hint. The mushroom pierogi tasted rich and earthy, while the farmer’s cheese variation suggested a more subdued rural sensibility, with a smooth, velvety texture.
The rolls, with their crusty exteriors with an egg wash glaze encasing a sweet egg dough, indicated a homemade quality not typically represented in most restaurants.
The dill pickle soup arrived topped with sprigs of dill, which spotlighted potatoes as the sour soup’s marquee morsel accompanied by ribbons of carrots and the distinct pucker of dill pickle.
The ample wine list exhibits a range of bottles representing vintages from Central and Western Europe that our server was happy to suggest pairings for.
The calculated plating on all of the dishes visually sang with a considered degree of symmetry, itself paralleling the same attention committed to the restaurant’s interior design. The gala Baki, a pair of cabbage rolls, dressed in a subtle bath of chopped tomatoes, provided a fine complement to the slightly sweet flavored pork filling. The pork cutlet, pounded and tender in a manner echoing that of schnitzel, was also firm, yet not too thin, with crisp edges of light breading and a more tender center of the cut.
Amadeus has been open on Washington in Ann Arbor for over 30 years and during that time has maintained a reputation for elegance and consistency. We truly enjoyed our visits. When seeking a refined, authentic taste of Eastern and Central Europe in Ann Arbor, compose that meal at Amadeus.