Before I started my new job, I went out for a mid-week girls night dinner to celebrate with my mom and my auntie/godmother/blog reader Bissy. When I heard that Hanna Bistro & Bar offered half-off bottles of wine on Wednesdays, I was sold!
Located in downtown Traverse, Hanna is is housed in an old fire station and has an “American Bistro” menu with an emphasis on foods from the Great Lakes region.
The interior is warm, cozy and intimate. Small tables, crisp tablecloths, lots of candles & dim lighting. The decor reflected a perfect blend of rustic & modern art. I adored the fabric coverings on all of the lights!
Our server was extremely attentive and helpful all night. I spent 6 years in the service industry during college, leaving my expectations rather high and can say Shannon was one of the best servers I have had in a long long time. We started with the Mark West Pinot Noir ($13 for the bottle with the 1/2 off deal!!), and- on Shannon’s rec- the fondue.
It was fabulous! A modern, deconstructed take on fondue: a beautiful wedge of brie surrounded by a luscious creamy tomato sauce, served with julienned green apple slices, sauteed morel mushrooms (said portobello on menu, but I think that morels are definitely an upgrade), and the most dense doughy focaccia. Delicious. We licked the bowl clean.
For our next course, we tried the caesar salad & the port poached pear salad. The caesar was great- not a heavy creamy dressing, more like a caesar style vinaigrette. Very generous portion for the small size. The port poached pear salad knocked my socks off- baby spinach tossed in a cinnamon pear balsamic & topped with melt in your mouth delicate goat cheese, candied pecans and port poached pear slices. Again, great portion size for a $4 salad!!!
Entrees were all knock-outs: my Aunt had the Little Neck Clams Pomodoro- perfectly steamed clams, fresh pomodoro sauce and al dente fettucini. They were even able to furnish her crushed red pepper upon request.
My mom went with the Bacon Wrapped Sirloin with Parsnip Frites, ordered medium-rare. It came out juicy and pink in the middle, with a wonderfully crispy bacon outer. The bacon was very smokey, and had hints of herbs- I say fennel. Delicious. The parsnips were prepared two ways- chunked & roasted underneath the steak, and shaved & fried as garnish. Can’t forget to mention the bleu cheese butter in there too! Not so much as to drown out the steak- just a hint of it. A perfect accouterment.
I went with the appetizer portion of the Mussels & Clams. I must begin this by saying I am a Mussel FANATIC. Order them anywhere I see them on a menu. These were, hands down, in the top 3 of ALL time. Cooked PERFECTLY, not a single unopened shell in the bunch. Not chewy, nor too fishy. The clams were excellent as well. The ground chorizo was spicy and provided great depth of flavor to the sauce. Can we talk about the sauce for a second? Citrus-saffron aioli based sauce. Not exaggerating in the least when I say I would BATHE in that sauce. It was so flavorful & complex, yet light and did not overwhelm the mussels or clams. I will order this every time I come back to Hanna. Wonderful. Also, the portion size was VERY generous! Made for a perfect entree following app & salad, yet would have definitely been a perfect size to split as an app for 2-4 people.
Even though everything had been phenomenal, I whole heartedly believe you cannot fairly asses a place without trying dessert. We finished our meal with the Bittersweet Chocolate Marquis- basically a dense frozen chocolate mousse. Not too rich, and when paired with the brandy soaked cherries & honey roasted hazelnuts, it was elevated to a dessert experience I had yet to find in Traverse City.
All of the food came out perfectly timed- neither too early nor too slow. Shannon was attentive without being obtrusive and offered frank and honest recommendations when asked. Our wine (and water) glasses were never empty. Overall, I HIGHLY recommend Hanna, and am planning on returning next time I am going out for a special meal.
6 thumbs up!