Studying Vinology

Because Ann Arbor’s central Main Street comprises the city’s gastronomical epicenter, the variety of restaurants operating along this corridor garner some level of notoriety based on their location alone. The fierce nature of the restaurant business renders the longevity of a Main Street-addressed establishment like Vinology something of a testament to its balance of consistency and adaptability.

Seeking shelter and sustenance on a recent blustery winter afternoon, we ducked off Main Street and into the warmth of Vinology. The venue’s exposed burnt red brick interior emitted a visual temperature lift, a fitting prologue to our meal.

Comfortably seated in a booth, we browsed the dinner menu and extensive wine list. Our server carried himself with a self-assured competence, sharing his knowledge in a tastefully exact manner.

Exquisite Food Preparation

We shared several small plates, also splitting a couple entrees. Helpfully, guests can order entrees in either the full dinner size or a smaller portion, each plated exquisitely.

An assortment of Marinated Olives ($8) and spices tinged with citrus included even the tiny members of the olive family that often find themselves overlooked at the grocery store olive bar. Even these size-challenged olives tasted heavenly. (Fellow olive lovers know exactly what I’m referring to.)

Our foray into vegetable-focused dishes began with a crisp Local Green salad ($8) with Gass Farm greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado and sherry-red onion vinaigrette, which arrived in a bowl made from lengthwise slices of cucumber. The Vegan Pierogi ($10) wrapped a mixture of potato, leek, black trumpet mushroom, cashew creme, red cabbage and caraway within a buoyant dough. Our Michigan-grown Beet and Burrata salad ($12) starred a plentiful amount of sweet red beets with a sherry vinaigrette and a generous sprinkling of tangy goat cheese.

The tender Fried Chicken Thighs ($12)––the tastiest part of the bird––skewered on four separate wooden sticks served with maple tahini, pickled apricots and chickpeas made this item perfect for sharing with dining companions. The Spanish Octopus ($16) braised in red wine along with patatas bravas, chimichurri, pea tendrils and espelette oil tasted so majestic that we required two orders.

The Black Cod ($26/$46) served with cauliflower puree, bok choy, Chinese black rice, and adzuki beans with a dusting of Szechuan peppercorns sang with global flavor. We savored the half order, which we found almost more than enough.

The market-price Charcuterie Board of rotating meats and cheeses, while tasty, struck us as markedly less inventive against the collective panache exhibited by the rest of the dishes we ordered.

A Satisfying Stop

Our sense upon leaving the restaurant after an enjoyable late afternoon demi-meal was that we could have ordered any item from the menu and each would have been created with well thought out ingredients possessing remarkable taste.

Vinology could have been a place, years ago, prone to the wine-bar-with-food fad. Instead, akin to the extensive list of bottles on the menu, Vinology has ripened over the last decade into one of Ann Arbor’s formidable dining establishments, with ample justification.

110 S. Main St. Ann Arbor
734-222-9841 |
M-Th 4-11p.m. | F 4p.m.-12a.m.
Sa 10a.m.-3p.m., 4p.m.-12a.m.
Sun. 10a.m.-3p.m., 4-10p.m.

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