At virtually any hour of the day, any day of the week, my roommate Josh can be found sitting on the couch, watching the Food Network. That’s where I found him a few weeks ago, when I came home starving.
“Yo – you want to come with me to do a restaurant review?”
Josh’s eyes lit up. He actually turned off “Molto Mario” to join me. We decided to go to Prickly Pear.
“What the hell is a Prickly Pear?” my roommate Mike yelled at us as we were leaving. I guess he was mad because we didn’t invite him to go.
Josh and I started with a cheese ravioli in a toasted pumpkin seed sauce for an appetizer. Josh was impressed with presentation and taste:
“It was a nice blend of the southwestern style and homemade ravioli. They didn’t overpack the ravioli. A lot of people overpack the ravioli.”
The only thing lacking was a slightly time-delayed translator with a British lilt.
“Green peppers! This is great! Nobody garnishes with green peppers. They’re all about the red peppers. Red peppers aren’t that great.”
For dinner, Josh ordered “savory” blue corn crabcakes. He asserts there is a difference in taste between blue corn and regular corn. I think he was just swayed by the use of the word “savory” on the menu.
“The crabcake had a nice outer crust with the blue cornmeal. I don’t think they used any flour.”
Iron Josh, the veritable gas chromatograph of the dining experience:
“It was an interesting flavor. A tad salty. I’ve never had crabcake with chutney. It was chili chutney – similar to mole, but mole has chocolate in it.”
I had the baked sweet potato enchiladas with chihuahua cheese and squash salsa – tasty and very filling, yet not too heavy. The restaurant offers a number of vegetarian selections and unique versions of standards, such as jicama slaw.
During dinner, all Josh talked about was Bobby Flay. Bobby Flay, and how if Bobby Flay was a basketball player he could probably beat Michael Jordan in one-on-one. I didn’t say anything, because I don’t really like Bobby Flay. But the last time I talked shit about Bobby Flay, Josh challenged me to a red snapper battle.
I didn’t see red snapper on the menu at Prickly Pear, but the portions were generous, especially the black beans and rice that came with the meals. Mine lingered in the fridge until one of my roommates threw them out because the gooey, unidentifiable substance dripping from the container had begun eating through the cardboard of his case of Bud Light.
Prickly Pear is small and predictably decorated with a Southwestern theme. It’s comfortable, though, which almost made me forget we were in the “my parents are in town” restaurant district, or “M-PIT.” (I’m going to keep using that until it catches on. In fact, I think all the neighborhoods in Ann Arbor should have cute, Manhattanesque names. Like “SET-O” for the “student ghetto” or “SOS-LID” for the “South State Street liquor store district.”)
I remembered where we were when the bill came. Josh and I spent nearly $50, without drinking or dessert – though both were appealing: The restaurant offers a range of expensive (when you’re talking about liquor, expensive means good, right?) tequilas, house margaritas by the pitcher and a wide selection of flans, brulees and other things concocted by pussy French guys. BAM!
Prickly Pear is located at 328 South Main St. It’s closed Monday and open 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday -Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday.