"Where is a good place to go to watch the ___________ game?"
|Cochon de lait fries and sweet potato skins from Manning's.|
Even though Manning's labels itself as a "restaurant", most would consider it first and foremost a place for game watching. But as we all know from our own gameday parties, the activity on the field is only half the entertainment. In order to show special emphasis on the food, Manning's brought in Anthony Spizale, a chef who has had more relationships with restaurants over the past few years than Heidi Montag has had surgical procedures. Chef Spizale's menu (which largely remains in place today) was curiously heavy on knife and fork fare, which seemed out of place for a sports bar. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy grilled fish meuniere with seasonal vegetables every now and then, but not while I am yelling at Les Miles for calling a fake field goal pass behind the line of scrimmage on 4th and 12 from our opponent's 30 yard line.
|Duck "Wings" glazed with pepper jelly from Manning's.|
Unfortunately, several of the dishes fail to reach the end zone. Cheddar and Abita beer bisque was surprisingly thin, and the accompanying bacon popcorn terribly stale. Duck "wings" covered in a sticky sweet pepper jelly glaze would have better with a classic buffalo wing approach, and the Archie burger was thin, dry and flavorless. Looking back, the food reminds me a lot of a Mike Leach coached football team - lots of razzle dazzle which puts points on the scoreboard but weak fundamentals can cost them the game.
But while Manning's may not earn top honors as a restaurant, it excels as a sports bar, albeit a refined one. The beer is served ice cold and at a reasonable price. The servers are happy to accommodate most requests for turning the channel to a particular game, which is great news for those of you who have action on the Central Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan game. And even on busy weekends, a table is usually easy to come by after a minimal wait.
Manning's - Birdie for Atmosphere; Par for Food
519 Fulton Street
Sun-Thur 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11am-11pm