Ollie Offers O-wesomeness

. December 1, 2017.
The Ollie experience is one well worth savoring
The Ollie experience is one well worth savoring

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of terrific food to be enjoyed in Washtenaw County; a lot of places you can go where you walk out licking your lips and feeling like your money has been well spent. Then there’s Ollie Food + Spirits, a full-service restaurant which opened in April, where you walk out feeling sad, as if you just finished reading a book you didn’t want to end. You just had one of the best meals you’ve had in years, and now you have to go home.

Not that there’s anything wrong with home, but if you have a chance to spend a night out, Ollie is one heckuva good choice. Owner Mark Teachout created a spectacular spot for an Ypsilanti date night, a place where you can sit comfortably and enjoy intimate conversation, excellent food and enticing cocktails. The Ollie experience is one well worth savoring.

Date Night Ambiance

Start with the decor. It’s understated, nothing that will assault your senses or distract you from the food, drink and company. “The thought of a television above the bar never even crossed my mind,” Teachout says. “We didn’t want any kind of media to dominate the evening.” The volume level is soothing with spacious seating, so that voices from neighboring tables won’t overwhelm. The whole place channels a meal meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, a welcome outtake from the hectic bustling world, the perfect atmosphere for a meal you absolutely do not want to rush, a meal to be tasted one lovely, lazy, luscious bite at a time.

About that Jalapeño Cornbread Pudding

The menu is intentionally limited: seven small plates, seven large plates. Teachout says the smaller menu means each dish can be perfected with locally sourced ingredients amid versatility to allow seasonal changes. From the small plate fare, the Roasted Pear and Nut Slaw (cabbage, brussel sprouts, pickled onion, mustard seeds, spiced nuts, brown ale, peanut butter, maple vinaigrette with rice crackers) offers a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors with a texture that’s alternately crunchy and melt-on-the-tongue soft. And then…there’s the Jalapeño Cornbread Pudding (served with maple syrup and Jake’s hickory smoked bacon). The texture is creamy, the melding of flavors luxuriant. Each bite is an absolute joy. It’s the kind of dish you’ll think of like a holiday, something to look forward to, to break up the monotony of the calendar’s unrelenting grind, an extraordinary dish you’ll think about re-visiting, for a long time.

Among both the small and large plate fare, find vegan options or meals hearty enough to satisfy any devoted meat-eater. The Legends of the Fall Burger, for instance, features Knight’s beef ground in-house, with a winter-squash spread, gruyere cheese, house pickled apples and hickory smoked bacon, served with herb smashed potatoes. Again, every detail is carefully designed so the diner’s experience is a cascade of mouth-watering moments, one after another, until, sadly, the meal is gone.

Masterful Mixology

Lest we forget, it’s worth noting the Ollie experience is not just about food. It’s about spirits too. Bartender Ray Martell explains the high level care put into the design of each cocktail. “We put a lot of thought into the ingredients,” he says. “A good mixed drink is realizing the balance between booze, sugar, acid and water. It’s chemistry. What we’re doing is creating a cocktail that has balance and is consistent. Each drink is the same thing every time you get it. We’re elevating the cocktail above the sum of its parts.”

The same can be said of the overall experience at Ollie. Combine the atmosphere with the food and the drink and you’ll undoubtedly have an O-wesome, and memorable, time.

Ollie Food + Spirits
42 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti
734-482-8050
Open Tues-Thurs. 11am – 11pm; Fridays, 11am-midnight; Saturdays, 8am – midnight; Sundays, 8am-3pm; closed Mondays.
For more info or to glance at a menu, visit ollieypsi.com

Trending

Monticello Van Odom – ‘In My Mind’

An essential way to craft a resonant piece of music is to unpack the existential pondering, the fleeting but insistent anxieties, the hard truths and easy reminders, that are swimming around up inside the head of the songwriter. The sublimity of Saline-based folk/Americana artist Monticello Van Odom‘s album is in how its spilling out all

Heavy Color’s River Passage

Toledo’s future beat/psy-jazz/hybrid electro duo Heavy Color recently premiered a new music video that commemorates an inspiring musical odyssey charted by one of its songwriters back in 2015. The group formed several years ago around the collaborations of Ben Cohen and Sam Woldenberg. Their Toledo’s answer to cerebral ambient electronica acts like Four Tet, Caribou,

Green Book is Worth the Trip

An elite black pianist tours the segregated south with a white roughneck chauffeur. Green Book combines two crowd-pleasing formulas—the road movie and the true story—with two stellar lead actors, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Mortensen plays Tony Lip, a white, working class second-generation Italian-American from the Bronx who works as a nightclub bouncer. Ali plays

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

The most recent book of Kalamazoo-native Bonnie Jo Campbell is as visceral as it is honest. A compilation of short stories, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters explores the lives and relationships of women in rural settings. With varied character perspectives, the book runs the gambit of trials and tribulations: sexual assault, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancies, neglect,