Hey Folks, this is Elisabeth here. I decided to take complete advantage of restaurant week, and ate out twice in one day. Lunch at The Melting Pot (see below), and dinner at Caf é Japon. Chelsea was not with me for the latter. Obviously, I am much more popular than Chelsea because people actually invite me to eat with them. The incomparable Adam Wilson took me to dinner a Japanese-French fusion restaurant. Perfect for us because Adam grew up in France and I grew up in Japan.
Atmosphere: 4. Café Japon was not what we expected. We thought we were going to a chic, inventive restaurant, but we arrived to find a hole-in-the-wall, order at the counter restaurant. When Adam called to get a reservation, he heard the hostess yell to the kitchen workers, "Do we take reservations?!?!" Needless to say, we were the first people to ever make reservation at Café Japon. The decor looked like it was a hand-me-down from a deserted diner mixed with some random Asian accents. The only cool decoration were the grass hut booth covers. Of course, we choose to sit underneath one.
Service: 8. The service was quite perfect at Café Japon. Our waitress/hostess was very kind and stayed past her shift so she could finish serving us. Our meal involved many different dishes and she brought each dish out at a perfect gradual pace so we were never overwhelmed with food, nor were we ever waiting for food. The business also seemed family oriented; our waitresses/hostess' husband played live music at the restaurant, and seemed to be the daughter of the chef.
Food: 6.5. The food at Café Japon was oishii (or delicious) but, as is the trend, not what I expected. I was prepared to find menu items that uniquely combined Japanese and French cuisine, but found the French and Japanese dishes to be pretty separate. Adam and I ordered two completely different 3 course meals off the set restaurant week menu and shared our food. This meant I got to try a lot of different dishes- from sukiyaki to a savory seafood custard (yuck!) So many dishes, I can't begin to name all of them. The highlights of the meal, for me (Adam might say differently), were the tuna tar-tar, lentil pilaf, ratatouille, and light orange and cream pastry dessert. This restaurant finds its strength in the authenticity of it's food. These dishes have no sign of Americanization.
Overall: 6. I had a wonderful experience at Café Japon. But I'm convinced that was because I got to eat with chopsticks and had great company. The food was great, but not something I would necessarily crave.
I have discovered a great strategy for this crazy adventure Chelsea and I have embarked on. . . get other people to take you to the restaurants so you don't have to pay. Anyone want to take Chelsea and I on a double date?
If you go:
113 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2109