You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Aug 14, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Frita Batidos preview gives diners a glimpse into Eve Aronoff's new venture

By Jessica Webster

turkey frita.jpg

Cuban sandwiches called fritas will be one of the centerpieces of Eve Aronoff's new Cuban-inspired restaurant, set to open this fall.

Jessica Webster |

Fans of eve the restaurant got a taste of owner Eve Aronoff's upcoming "Cuban-inspired" restaurant Frita Batidos Wednesday evening during a preview event held at eve.

About 120 patrons attended and paid $35 a head for an "all you can eat strolling buffet" that highlighted many of the dishes Aronoff plans for the new space.

Frita Batidos is currently scheduled to open early this fall at 117 W. Washington St., in the space formerly occupied by Cafe Du Jour. The name is derived from two classic Cuban foods: fritas, a Cuban-style hamburger, and batidos, a milkshake-type drink made with crushed ice and tropical fruits.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Eve-Aronoff.jpg

Eve Aronoff

But the key word in Aronoff's description of the restaurant is "inspired." Frita Batidos will not be a Cuban restaurant, or even a Cuban-themed restaurant. While there are elements of Cuban cuisine present in most of the dishes, this restaurant will be classic Eve.

"I was inspired by the Cuban culture, and really feeling the spirit of the Cuban people," Aronoff said, when reached by phone earlier this week. "But this will still very much be my style of cooking: fresh local ingredients and a menu that will change with the seasons."

Aronoff's style was evident in the dishes presented at Wednesday night's preview tasting. In addition to traditional Cuban flavors like lime, garlic, onion and avocado, you could also find her usual cross-cultural spice blends. Chicken wings were coated in a chili lime tamarind glaze. "Mexico City corn" was rolled in a melange of spices that Aronoff dreamed up with her kitchen team. 

Frita Batidos preview menu

  • Cilantro Butter Plantains
  • Conch Fritters
  • Chili Lime Tamarind Chicken Wings
Fritas and Sandwiches
  • Chorizo Frita
  • Turkey Frita
  • Black Bean Frita
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich with Tropical Cole Slaw
  • Cuban Sloppy Joe Inspired Cuban Sandwich
  • Tropical Salad
  • Black Beans
  • Coconut-Ginger Rice
  • Cilantro Lime Salsa
  • Mexico City Corn
  • Tropical Coleslaw
  • Tres Leches
  • Rum Macerated Pineapple
  • Batidos

On the whole, the dishes were tasty, if perhaps a bit familiar-tasting to regular eve patrons. The execution, however, left diners frustrated. After an initial flurry of appetizer activity, the flow of food out of the kitchen slowed to a crawl. Hungry customers paced the dining room, pouncing on the small trays of food that trickled out to the buffet table. "I feel like our ancestors must have felt when they hunted for food," laughed a hungry diner.

"We've done tastings for Frita Batidos before," explained Aronoff, "and we've gotten 35 to 50 people. We had 120 people show up for this one, and those reservations didn't come in until the last day or two. We just weren't planning on that many people, and this was a group of voracious eaters. We put out a ton of food, but there was a half hour period where we were in between courses and slow getting more food out. "

Aronoff stresses that while the menu she featured on Wednesday night represents the food people will be able to find at her new restaurant, the service is not. "We'll definitely have more of an even keel," she said.


Fritz Fontasio

Thu, Aug 19, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

What an unforgettable night of amazing food for the 120 of us who were lucky enough to be there! I couldn't agree more with the people who wrote that Eve is the best chef in the state and I'm beyond excited that she's opening an affordable, downtown haunt with long hours. What a welcomed addition to Ann Arbor's thin lunch and late-night options! The food at the Frita Batido tasting was entirely original - not traditional Cuban food, but maybe where Cuban food will head once they have access to more ingredients. I can't wait to have the chorizo frita again. Does anyone know if Frita Batido is planning to deliver (at least downtown)? Also, can't wait to see what sort of coffee she'll offer!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

About 120 patrons attended and paid $35 a head for an "all you can eat strolling buffet" that highlighted many of the dishes Aronoff plans for the new space. My oh, my. I'll stand by my earlier snarky comments. Eve may be a talented chef but she doesn't seem to have a lick of business sense. Those 120 people who paid $35 each are/were your future customers. We had 120 people show up for this one, and those reservations didn't come in until the last day or two. We just weren't planning on that many people, and this was a group of voracious eaters. Once she realized that the crowd was going to be big why didn't she make some easy to fix dishes to sprinkle in with her creative specialties? Because, she's Eve, the chef.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

I can't understand the excuse that they weren't prepared for 120 people, since they TOOK 120 RESERVATIONS. The food was what I would have expected at an Eve Happy Hour, but certainly not what I expected for $35. Some of it (if you could get it fast enough) was good, but the manner in which it was (slowly) served in smaller than needed quantities trained the diners to realize that this was a competition with no guarantee that everyone would get everything they wanted. By the time some more interesting dishes came out, the crowd had already evolved to understand that they would have to act quickly to grab anything at all, and when they did grab, they grabbed as much as they could. Each plate of food was devoured faster than the last. I finally gave up even getting up after twice finding an empty platter only moments after it had been set down on the table. It was fascinating to see how quickly 40 appetizers on a plate can disappear in a room full of 120 hungry people though! Quite entertaining. I'll still give Frita's a chance, since I do usually like the food at Eve. I hope it's managed better than the preview was though.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:37 a.m.

Ok- so it was really more like a great family party than a sit down dinner. Sure it was packed but the food was spectacular and the attitude fun and festive. I think some thought it was going to be fine dining sit down and came in with Grumpy Faces on. Wow is she talented. Sure we had to wait a bit but we talked to our friends, met some new people and just had a great time. Enjoy life! Every experience I have ever had at Eve has been amazing. Great service, Food, Atmosphere etc... She is the best Chef in Michigan- no doubt.


Mon, Aug 16, 2010 : 11:16 a.m.

I'm always ready for some more Chorizo in my life so I'll give it a try.


Sun, Aug 15, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

I have been a fan and regular guest of eve the restaurant for many years, and one thing i can state is that eve always delivers an amazing dining experience - from the food, to the ambience, to the warm and accommodating staff (who remember my wife and me by name). We have travelled and dined throughout the US and abroad and in our experience eve rivals the best! yes, the pace of eve is geared toward a relaxing, thoughtful dining experience to savor. we do go to eve when we have time to relax and properly enjoy all that the restaurant has to offer.


Sat, Aug 14, 2010 : 8:10 p.m.

Ditto MyOpinion on eve the restaurant. Had to order a day in advance! Food brought to the table cold---& it was an omelet! Maybe they had made it the day before?

Vivienne Armentrout

Sat, Aug 14, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

Sounds delicious but I keep thinking that I am reading "Frito Bandido".


Sat, Aug 14, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

This sounds like Eve's other venture: Slow service Slow food Slow billing I recommend that Eve go visit some high volume restaurants before she opens her door to learn how to allow separate bills at a table without making it seem like it is a big deal like creating a souffle in high altitude.