CloverSamples: the new Mainstreet Venture restaurant, Mezzevino
I believe the last time I tried a Mainstreet Ventures restaurant was back during my first year, when I moved to Ann Arbor. Mainstreet Ventures is the powerhouse behind the cluster of restaurants, mostly on Main St., that offer those great birthday days, 50% off for two, 33% off for three, etc. You know, Palio, Gratzi, Chop House – the big restaurants. The newest of these is Mezzevino, described as “small bites with big Mediterranean flavors” – it just opened this week! I got an email about it earlier this week and after reading their website and the three Yelp reviews, felt like I had to visit it.
I love the turquoise colors, open windows, and decorations of the restaurant. It still had the vibe of a freshly-opened restaurant, with lots of extra servers buzzing around, people hovering to make sure things go smoothly. Our waitress was incredibly sweet and super enthusiastic; she answered our questions and provided lots of suggestions. My fiancé, who drinks exorbitant amounts of water and usually finishes both his water and mine before it gets refilled, was delighted in how often he got his water refilled, commenting that he never once finished the glass.
I was incredibly excited that the menus were tablets. (I was later informed by one of my friends that all the Mainstreet Ventures restaurants employ tablets as menus; guess that shows how long it’s been since I’ve been to one.) While it was really nice to have photos of most of the dishes, it got a little tiring to keep opening and closing new tabs to read about the detailed dishes, and I ended up just using the online menu on my phone. It’d be nice if it could be redesigned to have the titles and descriptions on the main page, so that it’s easier to compare between options. I also wish the tablets were more integrated with the dining experience – if we could perhaps place our orders with them? Play games on them?
Each table is loaded with extra plates and utensils, so that you may enjoy the food family-style/tapas-style. I ordered the Evolving Eos cocktail, which is sparkling wine with a colored, frozen spherical cube with aperol, orange blossom, and elderflower. The drink got more and more fruity over time; very fun and dynamic!
We started off with two “pikilia,” Greek for assortment or appetizers. We got the savory olive and pickled pepper crostini, with house made Greek yogurt cheese, and the fagioli misti, lenti and mixed bean salad on baguette. They were delightfully flavorful. Our waitress constantly brought out bread, fresh and warm, delightful little olive oil things that reminded me of a savory madeleine.
With regards to the poquito placas, Spanish for ‘little plates,’ our waitress recommended the Eggplant Chips with toasted cumin yogurt. They were thin, crispy, and lemony. We also got the Mezze Meatballs, pork and veal, hazelnut romesco, fried oregano, orange and olive, which had a big kick of flavor. The Couscous Marrakesh, braised lamb, herb couscous, and dried fruit compote was a complex dish that was very hearty. The Gyros Sliders, spit roasted seasoned pork or chicken with garlicky tzatziki on pita, were tasty but kind of simple in comparison to everything else. The Pansoti was another lemony dish, with a giant house made pot-bellied ravioli, with grilled chicken, ricotta and spinach filling, crispy prosciutto that tasted like perfectly crisped bacon, tomato, and haricot vert vinaigrette. Delicious!
To top things off, we got the Loukoumades for dessert – fried pastries in a honey, cinnamon, white sesame sauce that was amazingly flavorful and complicated. What an amazing meal! I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a meal as much as this in a long time. Mezzevino is definitely my new favorite Mainstreet Venture restaurant. It’s located next to Cupcake Station, where Kuroshio used to be, just a block down from the Fourth and William parking structure.
We also walked around a bit and saw the Violin Monster!