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Ann Arbor Restaurant Week: Vellum

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The last time we went to Vellum was back around when it first opened.  I remember being impressed with how knowledgeable and articulate our waiter was, but not so much with the food.  I thought it’d be worth trying them again during Restaurant Week.Vellum-2 Vellum-3

Pea & Mint Soup with creme fraiche and English peas

Pea & Mint Soup with creme fraiche and English peas

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Fried beets with truffled creme fraiche

Fried beets with truffled creme fraiche

Salmon rilette with citrus, crostini, and pickled ramps

Salmon rilette with citrus, crostini, and pickled ramps

Parsnip cakes with cauliflower, mixed greens, with champagne vinaigrette and cornichon dressing

Parsnip cakes with cauliflower, mixed greens, with champagne vinaigrette and cornichon dressing

Fish and chips - beer battered Michigan late trout, triple cooked fries, slaw, tomato jam, herb-ramp aioli

Fish and chips – beer battered Michigan late trout, triple cooked fries, slaw, tomato jam, herb-ramp aioli

Nanaimo bar - chocolate brownie cookie, vanilla marshmallow, mint mousse

Nanaimo bar – chocolate brownie cookie, vanilla marshmallow, mint mousse

Salted caramels!

Salted caramels!

My favorite part was the fried beets – they were savory, warm, bursting with flavor.  The parsnip cakes were also tasty.  Unfortunately, since it was so busy, there was less time for elaborate explanations; not to say anything bad about our waiter, on the contrary, he was quite proficient and clearly experienced – observant and fast, moving between a whole bunch of tables effortlessly.  It just felt like a colder, business-like relationship rather than the relaxed, friendly, and knowledgeable chattiness of the waiter we had last time.  I tried being adventurous by trying the pea and mint soup, but it was very strong on the mint and neither of us wanted to finish it, despite it being a pretty small soup.  The mint mousse in our Nanaimo bar was also strong – Fred joked that they froze the soup and put it on the bar; the actual chocolate brownie cookie was quite dry and flavorless.  Last time, my favorite part was the cocktails; this time, my cocktail tasted like straight-up bitters.

Although the Restaurant Week website lists four courses, with the instructions “choose one item per course,” when we got there, we were informed that you can only pick 3 courses, with the option of adding a fourth for $7.  I’m sure this was an accident, someone’s oversight, but the fact that it was still there and not corrected by the time we went, near the end of Restaurant Week, was inappropriate.  This was especially disappointing because it was one of the reasons we picked Vellum over some of the other restaurants, the other being it was one of the only restaurants still with openings on OpenTable when we were looking for a last-minute meal to make a reservation at day-of (perhaps a red flag in and of itself).

Local bloggers appear to have varied opinions on Vellum – The Food and Wine Hedonist likes them, Gastroboy practically wrote a thesis on them, Meg was a little more lukewarm. I was extremely excited when Vellum opened, and couldn’t wait to try it.  While I believe the atmosphere at Vellum is definitely sophisticated, I still feel like I’m missing something with the food.  Check them out on Yelp or at their website!
Vellum on Urbanspoon

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