Hidden Gem Reviews: Rod’s Place & The Session Room

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By Joe Ramey

Whether you’re looking screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-40-50-amfor a snack or a sit down meal that doesn’t bust your budget, Rod’s Diner in Ann Arbor is the place for you. Highly recommended by students and Ann Arbor natives, Rod’s diner is a place to hang with friends and have a variety of different foods.

For our visit, we tried what is widely known as “Bipimbob” or the most notable entrée on the menu. This dish was a plethora of oriental goodness, with its rice base being accompanied by a variety of assorted vegetables topped of with your choice of meat and a sunny side-up egg. This particular dish was a standout amongst others because of its value and the overall enjoyability. Also, it was a very fun thing to eat because of the egg.

The dish was amazing, but wouldn’t have been complete without the pairing of a cup of fro yo labeled a “collider.” This frozen yogurt is nothing special compared to what other yogurt places provide, it’s just the manner the frozen yogurt is presented to you that makes this so special.

The inaugural reception of a yogurt cup from Rod himself is the initiator of the whole process. The rest is on you. The cup has multiple toppings on it, including different fruits, candies and cereals.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-41-33-amNowadays, the going rate for frozen yogurt is flatout outrageous, but the prices at Rod’s are pretty similar to what you’d see anywhere else; $6 dollars for a plastic cup of fro yo and you’re set. This is what put this diner on the map.

 

All together, the slight flare of asian cuisine plus the overall atmosphere is what makes this eating experience a fun one. You can never go to Rod’s only once.

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By Ben Daugherty

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-41-12-amWhen we walked into The Session Room, its log cabin-esque interior made us feel at home. Although the parking lot was packed full of cars, we were promptly seated and greeted by our server, Ashley. She offered us a drink menu even though we are clearly not of age, which isn’t unusual since the restauranthas more of a pub-like feel. This is a place that you could go to with your family or to visit when you’re returning from college, but this is not a likely place to go get dinner with friends.

To start, we orderedtheir guacamole. It was incredibly bland. If you’re looking to enjoy a mouth-watering bowl of guac, you should definitely avoid The Session Room. The guac was so unappetizing that it remained untouched; our server returned to offer a box which we subsequently turned down.

We ordered the Mississippi – a pulled pork sandwich – with the hope that it would make up for the unfortunately awful appetizer. We were disappointed to find that french fries did not come with the entre and had to settle for mediocre chips instead. The sandwich was delicious until we reached the middle to take a bite full of fatscreen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-41-49-am. The fat filled mess of a sandwich paired with it’s lack of fries left me with a bad taste in my mouth and $11 missing from my wallet.

Next, we ordered the Kale Salad, which, to our dismay, contained few ingredients other than chopped kale, making it impossible to achieve a perfectly balanced bite. The food you will find is most easily compared to bar food: it’s not terrible, but you won’t ever crave it. If you’re under the age of 21, The Session Room will likely leave you wondering why you just spent $30 on a dinner full of
disappointment.

Hidden Gems: Pieology & KouZina

By Jedidiah Howell and Caden Koenig

Subway, when it first started, became a pioneer for food service when we recognized its impact on ordering food. Subway set the bar for sandwiches, and now we see new people pushing that bar higher. In search of restaurants with a similar serving style, we headed to downtown Ann Arbor. This brought us to Pieology and KouZina.

Pieology

Only hearing about this new pizza place made us curious to how it would work with having a subway style order. Worries arose such as how long will it take? How much food will there actually be? Is it expensive?

Immediately walking into the restaurant some worries left as we scoped out pizzas from different tables on the way to the line. On the wall one menu stands with the best combinations of their pizzas, but they also let you create your own.

Photographer - Jed Howell
Photographer – Jed Howell

Along with the easy ordering process the atmosphere was nice. It was very modern and relaxed resembling a Chipotle-type vibe.

A big aid to the comfortable atmosphere was the customer service. The employees were easy going and well trained. After ordering and paying for our meal the waiting began. The music in the background and the comfortable booths made our five minute wait feel much shorter.

The fresh ingredients gave each bite its own flavorful experience. The only downfall to this pizza was that the eight pieces only lasted us about two minutes. To be fair there were three of us; however, for some it may be small for two people. This could change how the prices resonate.

At the $12 price point, one pizza would make a perfect lunch date or quick snack, but for a full dinner you may consider looking elsewhere.

The pizzas were very tasty, but if you are purchasing multiple pizzas the price starts to add up quickly. The overall restaurant was fantastic and we expect to be back soon. It seems Pieology has mastered the subway-serving style of one of the most beloved foods: pizza.

KouZina

As a fairly new restaurant in the Ann Arbor area, KouZina is relatively unknown, but we expect that to change. The first thing we noticed when we walked into KouZina was the modern, industrial style that occupies the space.

Another profound feature when entering the restaurant was the noise of the blaring music. The music was our only complaint concerning atmosphere. Once we got over the annoyance of the loud techno beats the experience was quite pleasant.

Photographer - Jed Howell
Photographer – Jed Howell

The ordering process began with the choice between a gyro, bowl or salad. We opted for the bowl mainly for sharing purposes. We were then helped down a line with a variety of toppings that we could add to our entrée.

In the end, we had a decent amount of food for under $10. The ordering experience was comparable to that of Chipotle or Subway. Personally, we thought the food was great; however, this was our first experience with greek food. We did find that we had an abundance of rice when comparing toppings.

The service was great as they were very quick allowing us to get in and out of the restaurant in less than twenty minutes. They were also quite friendly and helpful.

Our overall experience was positive, and we would definitely recommend for a lunch or quick dinner out.

Wings ‘n Things: The Next Hot Restaurant in Dexter?

By Steven Li & Ethan Stairs

Special for The Squall

Wings n’ Things is a small family-owned take out restaurant that is lost among Dexter’s many popular restaurants such as Aubree’s or Red Brick. Nestled on the corner of Broad Street, you could easily past it if you don’t pay attention but you better double back and stop in for some inexpensive and delicious food.

As we first walk win, we were greeted by friendly cashier and a waft of delicious scent from the grill. You can immediately see how small the restaurant. The entrance look straight into the kitchen. We happened to go after the dinner time rush, so there was no wait. The cashier was very helpful and patient as we look over their large menu. We are able to order and get our food in about 10 minutes.

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Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina provides true Italian food, relaxing dinner

By Abril Amacoria, Manuel Garcia, Jenniina Kortesalmi & Maddalena Pederiva

Special for The Squall

 

Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina is a modern and casual Italian restaurant located in Arbor Hills shopping mall. The owner and Italian chef Luciano DelSignore won James Beard Award three times and that’s why he’s really well known.

The restaurant is mainly famous for their Neapolitan-style pizza, cooked in only 90 seconds at 900 degrees in our custom-built wood burning oven.

None of us had been there before; however, we all knew it was gonna be a very good as soon as we stepped in the restaurant as we walked in a great atmosphere with delicious fresh Mediterranean smells.

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