I’ve mentioned before that I’m from Michigan, haven’t I, readers? Before you run to grab your spoiled fruit and veggies to toss my way, please know that I attended Michigan State University, and that we can bond over our mutual dislike of that other school. All of my family still lives just North of Detroit, and we never see each other as often as I like. Last weekend, my parents drove down for a visit, which gave me an excuse to plan about a hundred wonderful meals. Usually, we stick around German Village, but, since husband and I are looking to sell-out and buy a place in the suburbs, we thought we’d branch out and show them some other areas. I’m a sucker for places that you’d describe as “quaint,” or “charming,” so I dragged everyone up to Historic Dublin for a meal at Mezzo Italian.
I’ve spent a lovely happy hour here before on their glorious patio, right before I offended some cupcakes with my terrible decorating skills at Our Cupcakery across the street (those cupcakes should have been happy — their icing is bar-none the BEST). But, I’d never been there when it’s quite as hopping as it was Friday night. The place was so fun and lively, and I have to give props to their decorator — the place is so hip! As we settled into the booth, my mother and I made what was to be our only bad decision of the evening: Opting not to order the bottle of prosecco and instead to stick to one glass apiece. Rookie mistake. But toasting was most definitely in order.
My parents love my husband; they think he’s way too good for me, so while the fawned all over him, I chose appetizers for the table. We went with the fritti and the arancini.
Such a pleasing presentation! The fritti was excellent — the calamari was great, and the fried pepperoncini throughout were a perfect spicy complement. The arancini were not quite as good, but still, the texture was delicious, and so was the sauce. Pretty soon after I fished out all of the fried peppers, our entrees came. Here’s my salmon with saffron risotto cake.
I was pretty much obsessed with the brussels sprout slaw, and I loved the crunch of the risotto cake with the softer texture of the salmon. Husband went another protein direction with the pork chop.
We’re a group that loves to try everything, so we all shared morsels of our dishes. The general consensus is that the pork was the best. I’m not always pork’s biggest fan, but even I had to admit that this was cooked and seasoned perfectly. It was superb. And on the side you’ll see the pappardelle and cheddar casserole, which is fancy-talk for macaroni and cheese from heaven. So good. My dad, uncharacteristically went for the capellini with shrimp.
Also extremely tasty. The pasta packed a huge punch of flavor, and, let’s be real, anything with goat cheese deserves a Michelin star. My mother ordered the gnocchi.
She actually told me she didn’t want to eat it, because she didn’t want it to be gone. No really! The gnocchi was very well cooked, and not at all chewy — just tender and soft.
After a small fight over the bill, we headed downstairs and out to Jeni’s. We momentarily lost one member of our party who misread the sign on the elevator, and found himself wandering around with the extra chairs in the basement before finding his way back to us (don’t worry, Dad, I won’t tell anyone it was you!), but together we made our way across the street to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
A trip to Jeni’s is one of the best parts of entertaining guests from out of town. The flavors are so weird, so fun! We embarrassed ourselves with about a million samples before placing our order. I went with the brown butter almond brittle and brambleberry crisp. My mom was brave and chose the birch, which tasted exactly like a root beer float, just like the girl behind the counter promised. She paired it with the goat cheese and cherries, which was unbelievably good (goat cheese wins again). Husband chose the coffee which was beyond delicious.
There’s my delightful dish. I am extremely saddened to be empty-handed at this moment. My parents were fans, too. I can’t wait till they come back so we can check out the new flavors. Or maybe I can go without them — who says you need an excuse for a few scoops anyway?
Mezzo Italian is located at 12 W. Bridge Street. M-F 11am-2pm, 4pm-close. Sat-Sun 5pm-close.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is located at 1 W. Bridge Street. Every day from 11am-11pm.