Definitely put this on your "I need to go" list, even if it's only for their drop dead amazing onion rings, which you won't get anywhere else on earth (probably :). There are other items on the menu that warrant repeat visits, but the onion rings are just so freaking good.
I love everything about this place. They have great ideas and I think once they fully hone in on what they do really well and what the customers like they will be one of the best places in Traverse City.
I first started coming here when they opened a few years ago. They had some creative dishes that were filled with flavors and unique touches. It's a mix up of a variety of different types of food from sandwiches to Thai to pizza to gourmet entrees.
The first time I sampled the bacon wrapped pork medallions and the duck quesadillas. They were delicious! The pizzas and sandwiches were excellent as well. I want to rate them a five in my book, but I just can't. They have a couple inconsistencies with food and though I really do love them and the ambiance I just can't look past that.
Let's talk about the positives first. They do have excellent food when it's good. They also have various different week day events such as Thursday Korean night, Tuesday Seafood night with great lakes perch and other seafood items, Wednesday Italian night for couples and so on. They also are located in a remote area, which is good and bad. Bad that maybe new comers won't know where they are, but good in that you can easily find parking, go visit the Inside Out Gallery for art and cocktails or walk next door to the Brew Pub to have some organic microbrews. All of this is in their little creative 'art district' hub. It's really a nice setup, but I do hope that they are advertising like crazy to make sure people know where they are at.
The inside of the restaurant is nice and quaint. It's very easily accessible for all types of people. Some times they have live music and they also display local artist's work. It's similar to the Cass Cafe in Detroit, but a little bit more casual. The quality of their entrees have run the gamut from 2 star to 5 star, mostly being 5 star. However, this last time I was in tipped the reviews. I ordered the roast beef sandwich. Online I saw these beautiful photos of delicious, hot, toasted sandwiches with tons of toppings and melted cheese and I thought, "hot damn, I should get one those!" But when the waitress set the sandwich down in front of me I couldn't hide the disappointment on my face. What I got was a cold, almost meatless, one leaf of lettuce and a tomato sandwich. Nine bucks is a lot for a sandwich and if I paid 9 dollars around Detroit, I would get a huge artisan sandwich with gourmet ingredients and unforgettable tastes.
I decided to be 'that' customer and sent my sandwich back to make it a hot toasted sandwich with cheese (which I thought was on it). I'm really happy that they not only toasted the sandwich, added cheese, and also added more toppings. If you look at the photos of the sandwiches above the one on the upper left (two stacked halves) is the original and the one the right of it is the adjusted. That's how the sandwich should have came out in my opinion. It ended up being a thick roast beef, with romaine lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and a white cheddar cheese with a thousand island dressing on a buttery toasted bread.
The waitress was super cool about the changes and she didn't charge me for the additions or the adjustments. I think that's the characteristics of good business. I hope they put out this sandwich in the future.
Don't let this review dissuade you from coming to Xylos. They are a really superb place that just needs a little bit of tweaking. If you come for one thing and nothing else, come for the onion rings. These babies are like crack. I don't know what it is... Once you put those hot golden rings of goodness in your mouth you are suddenly kicked back to childhood and walking around at the state fair. They taste like a corn dog/onion ring hybrid, but not with all the thick batter. They also sprinkle a homemade seasoning that gives it that extra salty spice that kicks you in your tastes buds. I'm coming back just for these.
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.