After moving and starting a new job, I was in the middle of a health life crisis. I wasn’t going to the gym, I wasn’t eating great, I was busy drinking beer at every microbrewery I could find. So I decided that I needed to make a conscious effort to make more healthy life choices. Which lead me to the decision….
that I needed to start drinking more wine.
Enter Vinology. Vinology is located on 110 South Main Street, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As the name would suggest, the main draw is definitely the vino.
The restaurant is located far enough down Main Street that you lapse into a quieter, more relaxed, environment, but close enough that you don’t have to worry about walking to wherever you parked your car, or walking to a show at the Ark (or round two of drinks elsewhere).
The ambiance of the establishment is definitely grown up, no flashy paintings, no fancy decorations, but exactly what you would want in a wine bar—dark wood, dim lights, cozy booths if you want them.
The first time was there I went for a heart healthy red, a delicious Dona Paula Estate Malbec from Mendoza.
Returning for a longer evening, knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we ordered a bottle of the Chilean Leyda Pinot Noir, which I would enthusiastically recommend.
One thing I love about Vinology is their wine guide, simplified enough to make any person feel comfortable ordering a wine, but not simplified too much to take away from the sophistication of the place. Listen, when you tell me that a wine is lushly proportioned but tightly wound on the finish, I have no idea what you are talking about—a horse about to get out on the racetrack or something I’m supposed to imbibe—but I do know enough about what I do and what I don’t like that picking a wine out with their helpful guide is a breeze.
Since the wine was really the main course, we stuck with sampling some of the smaller plates, or teasers. When I heard they were out of the main “duck jamon fresco”, and I wouldn’t be able to get the half order, I was thrilled they had another dish featuring duck as an appetizer—duck wings.
The duck wings were really the only disappointment of the night. Encrusted with a spicy parmesan-garlic glaze, I also tasted some intense orange/citrus tones, as if the duck was originally cooked l’orange and then dipped in the glaze. It was overwhelming to the point of underwhelming, making me wish that with this particular dish, the kitchen would have taken a less-is-more approach.
Luckily, a second teaser accompanied the first which was absolutely satisfying—the sauteed calamari.
Oh, what an unassuming name for the dish! In the sauteed calamari, the squid played an equal part to the rest of the flavors on the plate. Accompanying the calamari was chorizo risotto and melon amoygue, the whole thing doused in a red pepper vinaigrette.
First of all, if you only ever eat your calamari fried, you are desperately missing out. The sauteed calamari was delicious, and didn’t leave me with that sinking feeling I get when I realize I just finished an entire basket of its fried counterpart. Because the calamari was sauteed, it also allowed you to enjoy all the other flavors without feeling overwhelmed. The chorizo risotto was perfectly creamy, like a grown up, fancier version of mac and cheese. I have no idea what “melon amoygue” means, but I can tell you that there were little chunks of melon dispersed about the dish like giant sprinkles, given you an occasional, surprising, and refreshing burst of melon goodness every few bites. I would order this dish as a main course and be very satisfied.
To top our meal off, we opted for the liquid nitrogen spumoni milkshake. I didn’t quite bat an eye at this. You know how some restaurants put embellished descriptions of items on the menu and you have no idea if it actually has anything to do with what’s going to get put on your table? Given my restaurant jadedness, I was completely surprised when our server came out with a whole batch of gear looking like this:
Little did I know that she was literally going to make our milkshake with liquid nitrogen at our table. But she did.
Just in time for Halloween, it’s a witches brew!
In the end, we were delivered a totally delicious (non-toxic!) milkshake that we downed enthusiastically.
Overall, I can recommend Vinology not just for their heart healthy drinking options, but also for some delicious eats.
Overall Grade: A-
Mentionables: If you feel like shelling out the cash, Vinology also has wine lockers for rent. Private Rooms are also available.