by M.B. Lewis
If you range hungrily down Washtenaw east of US-23, watch for the small blue sign of the howling wolf just past Golfside. Turn in and you will enter a small, minimally designed, eight-table dining room with a kind of goofy-folky rural scene mural up high over the kitchen and spreading over most of one wall. But there's nothing goofy about the lovely slow-food plates from the tiny open kitchen at Blue Wolf Grill.
House-smoked whitefish, lightly moistened with mayo and dotted with green herbs, is nothing short of Michigan bliss when stuffed generously in a toasted rye panini--and a good value at $10. Spring for the upgrade from chips to wondrously crispy skin-on fries ($1) and ask for a little cup of Blue Wolf dressing for dipping. It adds a spicy kick.
A house-made mushroom barley soup of the day had lots of different mushrooms, light if salty chicken broth, and a pleasing fresh flavor. The resourceful "Alpha Wolf" chili comes chunked with various meats, and the spinach-feta salad with toasted almonds and strawberries couldn't have been tastier. And there's much more on the menu, from unusual pasta combos to meaty entrees to homemade desserts--details are at bluewolfgrill.com. There you can also read the story about how a group of local restaurant pros quietly launched this impressive enterprise in late December. They appear to be well down the sleeper path to a winner, for both lunch and dinner.
[Originally published in February, 2013.]
Ann Arbor should strive to be the first michigan Slow-City.
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