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Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Common Grill, Chelsea

For a few years, I'd been hearing about this restaurant in Chelsea- a little town near Ann Arbor that doesn't house much other than the Purple Rose Theatre and a bunch of University of Michigan fans. Rumor has it that the hot spot in town is the Common Grill, and I'd never heard a bad word about the place. A few weeks ago I spent the day working in Ann Arbor and the boyfriend and I proposed meeting for dinner to his mother, who had celebrated her birthday that week. We all met at the Common Grill on Ash Wednesday and I broke my day-long fast with a vengeance.

Our server brought out a bread basket, which I normally try to ignore because I'd rather spend my calories on dessert. This was no ordinary bread. I grilled the waiter about it after scarfing down several warm slices, slathered in butter. It is a doctored-up pizza dough, he said. The bread had hints of tarragon, which is one of my favorite herbs (and is prominently featured in my favorite slow-roasted filet of beef.)

I started with a house salad, studded with pine nuts and full of crisp hearts of romaine. The raspberry-maple vinaigrette was flavorful and light and gave me an excuse to grab another slice of bread and drag it across my salad plate, mopping up the dressing.

On the advice of the waiter, I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Lake Superior Whitefish.
The pieces of fish were big- I had enough to share- and well prepared. The breading was light (I hate when all you taste is fry), the orzo pilaf was al dente, the spinach gave me the squeak between my teeth that I love. The CHUNK of lobster took me by surprise and melted in my mouth. I gave the boyfriend some taste of fish but the lobster, she was all mine.

We ordered dessert, as we are wont to do. I had to have the Warm Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding.
It was what a chocolatey bread pudding should be- soft, syrupy bread flavored with caramel and cream, but while these photos are impressive, the taste was nothing remarkable.
The birthday girl had the White Chocolate Banana Cream Tart.
Again, a gorgeous dessert, but I'd have been more satisfied with another slice of bread or two.
The restaurant has a bistro feel, cosmopolitan decor and a languid pace to service. I don't spend much time in the Chelsea neck of the woods, but the next time I have occasion to be there I'll head back to the Common Grill for more carb loading.

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