Make it your own

. January 15, 2013.
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Flat Top Grill

3275 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-531-0230
Fax: 734-531-0231
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm;
Saturday 8am-11pm; Sunday 8am-9:30pm
www.flattopgrill.com

a new create-your own stir-fry restaurant on Washtenaw, felt lively. Maybe it was the red walls, dark tables, and TVs. Or maybe it was due to streams of people coming and going from the large grill in the middle of the room.

After being seated for dinner on a recent Saturday night, our family of four listened as our server explained how Flat Top works. You get one bowl for meat
and another bowl for everything else. You fill them up with choices from the “fresh food line.” Add sauce, plus assorted sides like Roti bread. Each stir-fry is cooked on the flat top grill and finally your server brings the final creation to you.

A fresh selection

The fresh food line was impressive. Picture a salad bar on steroids. The kids were excited to choose what to put in their bowls—until they realized the choices were mostly vegetables. Both ended up with rice, noodles and meat. I snuck in some vegetables, throwing green beans and edamame in their bowls. I selected rice, noodles, mushrooms, green beans, pea pods and peppers. I could individually list the ingredients my husband selected or I could summarize them in one word: everything!

There were dozens of sauces, such as Korean bbq, Thai curry and black bean garlic. The kids opted for water, while I let the sauce bar worker top my bowl with
sesame ginger and soy sauce. Next we picked proteins, such as chicken, beef or pork. Last, we all selected a side of Roti bread
before handing our bowls to the cooks.

Flipping and stirring

The kids lingered by the grill, mesmerized by the cooks flipping and stirring, while perfecting each dish. Our dinners were in line awhile so we returned to our table where we tried an appetizer of lightly salted and grilled edamame. They were fun to pop in our mouths and gave us something to do while waiting.

The fun continued when each stir-fry was served. My creation tasted tangy, fresh and hot. My husband liked his so much he opted for unlimited servings ($14.99 vs. $12.99 for one bowl). Meanwhile my son was outraged upon finding the errant vegetables I had added to his stir-fry selections and picked them out with laser-sharp pincer skills.

The Roti bread looked like a grilled pita, but tasted more like a chewy, dense crepe.

Topping it off

Besides good food, we enjoyed excellent customer service. When the manager noticed my son’s waning enthusiasm for stirfry, he offered both kids a grilled cheese, which they gobbled up. Also, our server changed the TV channel to the Red Wings game after he noticed my son was wearing a hockey jersey. He also suggested the perfect fiery sauce for my husband’s second trip through the fresh food line.

If it’s stir-fry you seek, and a fun, interactive dining experience you crave, then give Flat Top Grill a try.

THE SHORT COURSE
Kid-friendly Yes
To avoid wait Go before 7pm for dinner or try lunchtime
Noise level moderate to high
Bathroom amenities both men’s and women’s have changing stations
High chairs Yes
Got milk Yes
Kids’ menu Everyone makes a stir-fry: ages 5-10 are charged $5.99 while ages 4 and under eat free. They can also make a grilled cheese for finicky eaters.
Anything healthy for kids Plenty of fresh veggies to choose from!
Food allergy concerns Anyone with allergies can have a stir-fry cooked in a separate wok. Also check their website for an extensive list of ingredients which consider dietary restrictions.

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.