I’ve been to The Real Seafood Company two other times before since I’ve been in Ann Arbor, once for my birthday, and once after my Masters graduation ceremony. Both visits were good, but I generally think if I’m going to go out to dinner, I like to go somewhere with an atmosphere reflective of the money I’ll be spending. I was pleasantly surprised to find not only was RSC a more upscale experience than I remembered, but also the freshness of the seafood was undeniable.
Taking friends and family from home out to eat in Ann Arbor is always a fun adventure because there are so many great choices. This time, my friend knew exactly what she wanted: seafood. It seemed appropriate to take her to The Real Seafood Company. We were seated in a little nook in the front of the restaurant next to a closet- a little strange, but it was probably for the best to keep us out of the way. We were perhaps a little boisterous thanks to pre-dinner cocktails. Oops. Immediately, we saw our menus were on touchscreen tablets. A new development and very impressive! Each menu description was accompanied by a picture, which I told our waiter we expected to see duplicated exactly. He laughed nervously and said, “Yes m’am.” Not really, but he did say usually the food comes out looking similar to the photos.
We ordered a bottle of wine and decided to get “risky” with the raw bar. I’m a seafood lover, and also like to consider myself an adventurous eater. I’ll try anything once. So when I tried oysters once upon a time, and didn’t love them, I wasn’t sure I’d ever go back. I am so glad I did. We asked our server for his recommendation on the best oysters to order. He admitted he wasn’t an “oyster guy”, but pointed out that most people go for the more familiar Cockenoe or Blue Point catch, while not as many choose the Beau Soleil because they are somewhat “different” from the other two, whatever that means. Of course, my friend decided this meant we must order the Beau Soleil, to prove a point or something. Served up shucked with lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce, and a vinaigrette marinade, I was shocked to find my favorite slurp was the oyster alone, in it’s fresh, briny goodness.
For salads, we each ordered a Caesar with fresh anchovies. Again, another delightful choice. I had a few pieces of near-rusty lettuce in my salad, but overall, it was tasty, not overdressed, as many Caesars are, and the salty anchovies took it to another level. Ya gotta get the anchovies!
Choosing an entree was difficult because there were a lot of directions I wanted to go in. I’m a sucker for a great piece of rare tuna. I also considered the seafood paella, chock full of seafood and saffron. I ended up going with the broiled Maine scallops because damn, I love scallops. I was nervous the preparation would be too simple, but I was wrong. Prepared perfectly, and cooked just right, the scallops came out melt-in-your-mouth, sherry-buttery wonderful. I chose a side of rice pilaf, but added the vegetable mix side as an afterthought; a great roasted combination of carrots, squash, onion, and my new favorite, brussels sprouts. It. was. good. My friend picked the baked, stuffed flounder, filled with crab, rock shrimp, spinach, mushrooms and leeks. She noted right away that the filling was actually more of “the goods”, and less filling, like so many other stuffed fishes filled with breading or cheese. The flavors together were great, but I might have liked a little sauce or something more than lemon to moisten it up a bit. She also had a side of the yummy roasted veggies.
Due to the fact that we pretty much licked our plates clean, dessert was not an option. Our dinner was filling, pleasing, and so fresh. The Real Seafood Company really impressed me and sent my friend home with tales of delicious food adventures. She’ll be back!
+ The Real Seafood Company, located at 341 S. Main Street in Ann Arbor is a good dinner destination if you like fresh, in your face seafood. You’ll appreciate the weekly fresh catches, always changing, and how all entrees are accompanied with an included side dish, and cole slaw that can be substituted for a dinner salad. RSC is great for large group occasions, and offers a “free birthday dinner” special. Always a nice treat. Atmosphere is casual. Location is primo, perfect for continuing your night downtown after a yummy dinner.
– If simple seafood preparations are not your thing, RSC has a few other options for you, but not a ton. You won’t find a ton of steaks or chicken options, nor will you find lots of dishes that “mask” the seafood like rich, creamy pastas and such. Service was good, but our waiter was a bit young, and a bit unexperienced with recommendations on the menu. In good time, he’ll be an old pro.