Tannin had been on our radar for quite some time, and we zeroed-in last week to eat at the Okemos restaurant. Tannin was my 41st new (to me) restaurant of the year.
I liked the wooden paneling and canned lights surrounded by corks and the pictures of Detroit above our table. Seeing pictures of Detroit usually makes me glad I’m not there. (No offense people who live there.) Service that night was a little slow, but the waiter did have a lot tables, and he was hustling. He reminded me slightly of Zak Galifianakis, a name I was nowhere close to spelling correctly the first time. For the record, he did not slip us roofies, so it wasn’t a “The Hangover 4” situation. And he made a good wine suggestion for Andrea which made her happy. I made a nice choice of white, and I was happy. We were both winning at life.
But when it came to the food, there was only one winner. That winner happened to be me and the choice of champons, chicken carbonara. Though its gray-colored pasta shells didn’t look appetizing (they looked like undead button mushrooms, a food I dislike weather a member of the undead or just a normal fungus), but the taste made up for that. it was cheesy with super tender chicken, and though not among my favorite pasta dishes in Lansing (Red Cedar Grill’s mac & cheese and Bravo’s braised beef ravioli come to mind), it was a decent dish.
Andrea ordered the hard-to-pronounce amatriciana. I had considered ordering the same, but I have a thing where I don’t like ordering what my wife orders. It’s nothing personal, I assure you. The problem with her pasta was the taste, which is kind of a big thing for a meal. The red sauce seemed like plain tomato paste, and there was an overwhelming amount of it. It had plenty of flavor, just not a good one. Perhaps they were trying to cover up the underwhelming noodles. There were a lot of those noodles, but a lot of something you don’t want isn’t much of a deal.
I’m torn on a return visit. The wine selection looked strong, and the appetizers also looked appealing even if the pasta didn’t impress. There was more on the menu than just pasta, and that would be my target dish. Service and ambiance were positive, it just fell a bit flat on the food.