It’s that (second) time of the year again, folks! Ann Arbor’s Restaurant Week just passed by, and when Restaurant Week opens, students (or jobless alumni like me) go flocking!

This time around, I visited Real Seafood Company for lunch and The Earle for dinner. Unfortunately, my (mediocre) photos only came out for RSC since it was too dark in the Earle for me to photograph, especially since I make it a policy to not use my camera’s flash.

Both places were fairly decent considering their prices. My meals at both restaurants were three courses each. Since lunch is $12 and dinner is $25, some friends and I decided to go to RSC for lunch since their dinner and lunch menus were exactly the same.

I think I was pleasantly excited when I saw these door handles…a restaurant that uses giant seahorse as doorhandles HAS to be awesome to some degree right?

This is the menu offered at RSC.

(click for a larger version)

Matt and Jessica got the gazpacho, Alex got the New England clam chowder, and I got the Manhattan seafood chowder.

Apparently the gazpacho wasn’t particularly impressive (despite me liking the plating). It seemed like it was just a relatively chunky salsa with a dab of sour cream and a giant cucumber slice.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with my Manhattan seafood chowder either. It was decent, but much of the seafood had been overcooked (what happens when you cook in bulk, I suppose). I found myself chewing for awhile just to bite into the clam chunks, and the shrimp was entirely overcooked. I found myself wishing that I had gotten the New England chowder instead.

For the second course, the girls (aka, me and Jessica) got the Shrimp St. Tropez. Both Matt and Alex got the BBQ salmon. I stuck with shrimp because the idea of BBQ on salmon repelled me a little. In my mind, if salmon is fresh, it shouldn’t need something as strong as BBQ sauce. Especially orange BBQ sauce (which I unfortunately don’t have a photo of).

Well, back to the shrimp. The shrimp was good. Very good. They were cooked perfectly and the sauce actually reminded me of some sweeter Thai curries. It also complimented the rice very well with a good amount of tangy-ness from the tomatoes and richness from the cream in the sauce. The beans seemed slightly undercooked, but the broccoli was perfectly done.

The dessert was nothing particularly special. I opted for a raspberry sorbet (and so did everyone else). The sorbet was done well, but it didn’t particularly stand out.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures from the Earle. It was however, an excellent restaurant. I started out with the Potage Dauphinois, which was absolutely amazing. Despite the fact that I normally don’t drink cream soups, the potage amazed me. Although it was thick, it wasn’t so thick that it sat in your stomach as you made your way through the other courses.

Next, I got the salmon wrapped in puff pastry accompanied with basil cream sauce. This was also very well done, although the salmon was perhaps cooked half a minute to a minute too long for my tastes. I also got a taste of the duck and whitefish dishes, which were incredible. The duck was extremely tender and had managed to absorb the flavor of the fruits and wines, and the whitefish was, in a a few words, elegant fish and chips (without the chips). The whitefish itself was not fresh. I have to give kudos to the chef for managing to mask most of it though, since I only tasted the fishy odor intially.

Dessert was creme brulee. And…well, how do you go wrong with creme brulee?? I think I would’ve taken up on my friend, Gabby’s, tip. If it was a few degrees warmer, it would’ve been an absolutely wonderful creme brulee.

This time around, Restaurant Week was a bit pricey, but I think both restaurants were very worth it, considering how it was a three course meal both times with very good service.

What are you best (or worst) Restaurant Week stories? Bad service? Botched order? Do share, please!