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Captivating Cocktails, Culture, and Cuisine at Mélange

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Where you relax with a classy craft drink, eat some traditional French cuisine with Asian influences, and hear a DJ on the weekends in downtown Ann Arbor? Find the answer at Mélange on Main Street.

"We have a small, friendly, upbeat staff," says Dining Room Manager Cate Lindeman. "Our décor is classy, yet relaxing. Our restaurant is family friendly, business friendly and night-crowd friendly with our weekend DJ. Mélange is modern with our glowing bar, but classic with our food and the jazz music played throughout the dining room."

Start with one of their craft mixed drinks after a hard work week and catch the smooth sounds of jazz in the dining room. Lindeman tells us that Wildflower and Skeleton Key are their most popular craft mixes. "The Wildflower is made with Deep Eddie Grapefruit Vodka, Pama Liqueur, blood orange juice, grapefruit bitters and muddled basil. It's sweet tangy and refreshing." Jameson Irish Whiskey, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lemon juice, Barritt's Ginger Beer and Angostura Bitters go into the Skeleton Key, which Lindeman believes is the "perfect balance between sweet and bitter."

Of course, you can also pair your drink with food. The gingery taste of the Ginger Lily martini, for example, pairs well with citrus-based dishes. The menu is full of fish and some seafood, but there is an ample sushi section and some vegetarian and vegan dishes, along with duck and beef. "Our most popular dish is the Seabass," notes Lindeman. "It comes pan seared and roasted with herbs, topped with pickled cherry tomatoes, capers, and a sweet soy vinaigrette atop coconut milk jasmine rice."

From Rieslings to Chardonnays and Merlots, pick from over 1,500 bottles of California and European wines from their glass wine cellar. The staff at Mélange will happily make recommendations for those who pair with uncertainty.

A successful restaurant is one that gives back to the area that supports it, and Mélange does that in a big way. "We support Big Brothers Big Sisters," tells Lindeman, "and hold annual fundraisers for Art Alliance and Alpha House. In past years we have closed our business, but opened our doors to feed the homeless in Ann Arbor on Thanksgiving." Mélange is a restaurant not only dedicated to its food, but to helping others through community citizenship.

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