Five Favorite Dishes
Lisa Leutheuser & Joe Saul
We avoid the obvious haunts to bring you five dishes that’ll motivate you to get in the car (or hop on the bike) and grab some grub.
Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop at Arirang
No Ann Arbor top five food list would be complete without Bi Bim Bop, a student staple and a community favorite. This is the hot stone bowl version — rice, topped with marinated beef, a fried egg, and a variety of vegetables, served in, literally, a hot stone bowl — and Ari Rang does it particularly well. Try carefully mixing the meat, veggies, rice and hot sauce without disturbing the bottom too much. The heat of the bowl will crisp the bottom layer of rice, a delicious finish worth waiting for.
Arirang, 3135 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. (734) 222-5959.
Fish Fillet with Bean Cake Soup (#51)
from the red menu at Middle Kingdom
If we could only choose one Chinese dish in the entire county, this one is it. Tender bites of fish and tofu in a bright red chili sauce flavored with Sichuan peppers and topped with cilantro, toasted soybeans, and crispy wonton bits. When we take out-of-town visitors out for Chinese, if they can tolerate spicy heat at all, this is what we insist they have to try.
Middle Kingdom, 332 S Main St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. (734) 668-6638.
Karnabeet at Zamaan Café
Zamaan taught us that oh-so-dull-looking cauliflower is actually delicious, especially when fried crisp (with a soft, moist center) and dressed with a drizzle of tahini and a generous sprinkling of tart pomegranate seeds. We're coming into the prime pomegranate season, so this is the time of year to give this a try.
Zamaan Café, 3580 Plymouth Rd. (near US-23), Ann Arbor, MI 48105. (734) 213-3350;
865 W Eisenhower Pkwy. (in the Colonnade), Ann Arbor, MI 48103. (734) 769-1113.
Pickled Tomatoes at Mani Osteria
A bit of summer captured in a jar, Chef Brendan's sweet pickled cherry tomatoes are as delicious to eat as they are beautiful. Eat them straight from the jar or with a bit of tapenade and ricotta on Mani's fire-toasted bread. Pair it with their Crispy Pork Belly appetizer and apricot marmellata, or their Chicken Liver Pate with pistachios.
Mani Osteria and Bar, 341 E Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. (734) 769-6700.
Steak Sandwich at Samosa House
Thin slices of crispy fried beef wrapped in a flaky chapati with potatoes, tomato, lettuce, and a sweet-smokey BBQ sauce. Perfect for a lunch to go. In fact, perfect just about anytime.
Samosa House, 1785 Washtenaw Rd., Ypsilanti, MI 48197 (734) 340-6121.