Monday, July 25, 2011

Does the Ravens Club fall short?

A2GastroBoy levels the above criticism in a recent post. After detailing what he finds positive about the Ravens Club, GastroBoy proceeds to deliver a scathing critique of its atmosphere, drinks, food, and service. From the article:
The second issue that I can only assume to be financially constrained, was seating. I’ll excuse the cloth pattern as a matter of taste and say that Raven’s did install some impressive booths or banquettes. Their chairs however cannot be excused to taste. They clearly tried to save money and use the pub chairs inherited with the lease. Wether or not you agree with that choice, the real crime presents itself when you realize they supplemented those chairs with bargain basement black lacquer chairs clearly purchased from a restaurant supply company, not a furniture design group.
Now know this, I’ve only eaten one thing at Raven, but the experience was beyond sophomoric. My “medium rare” burger was served well done, and broken into two pieces. If you think I’m being harsh remember my preface, this is Main Street, not Arborland.

Menu Opportunity: In spite of these challenges, Raven’s club has made a commitment to local food and established a few advocates within the Washtenaw foodplain. I encourage the team to leverage these ties and re-examine their menu. Even if Raven’s decides that they’d rather be a bar, there’s plenty of room to drive revenue (and profit!) from a more thoughtful menu. Reduce choices. Do a few things well. And stop using the word Nicoise in a prohibition joint.

Zing! When it comes to restaurants, I'm pretty easy to please so I have no major complaints with the Ravens Club. I've been there twice and had a few great cocktails and appetizers. I don't have anything to complain about regarding the main dishes, but at the same time, they haven't been jaw-dropping. On my most recent visit, last weekend my party had a really great server. Also, Ravens Club doesn't seem to be hurting for business--there is almost always a good crowd there. Perhaps that says something about the success of their strategy.

Gentle readers, have you been to Ravens Club? Do you agree with GastroBoy that it falls short?


  1. Color me proud! A2GastroBoy on the front page of Damn Arbor. Thanks for reading & sharing.
    PS: I would be remise if I didn’t mention the fact that Mongolian BBQ does a strong business as well, though I dare say neither joint has a Michelin star in their future. Imagine the business Raven’s Club could do with some enhancements – like having the waitresses know how to pronounce the cocktail menu?

    PS: I don't mean to post Anonymous comments, but your site is crashing on my attempt to log in with Google

  2. I haven't had the food at RC, but I do wonder about its confusing provenance... it seems like it's 3 different ideas in one, and thus none are that good...

  3. I guess I'm confused where on Main St. GastroBoy is dining to justify his considering it some mecca of fine dining. Chop House? Steak on a plate. Gratzi, Palio? Predictably decent, but rather uninspired Italian fare. Shalimar? Damn fine Indian food, but not at $15 a plate. Melting Pot? You're cooking it yourself. Parthenon? Generic, if decent, Greek food. The list could go on, but why waste the space?

    Don't get me wrong, I patronize all these restaurants with some regularity, and I've had my fair share of above-average meals at each. I agree that the menu at Raven's club could use some work (they seem to focus on their cocktail offerings, anyway), but to imply that they're way behind the curve means you don't understand where the curve on Main Street is.

  4. I too recently tried Raven's Club and agree that the menu could use some work. I do feel that the menu itself is inspired, and interesting, but the dishes themselves didn't quite deliver. I do like this new addition to the Ann Arbor Main Street scene, but I think a reevaluation of the menu is needed before this place can shine. I am however, eager to try the unique cocktails that I wasn't able to try last time (it was half-off wine by the glass when I went!).