Sunday, February 9, 2014


I am a foodie and love to experience new and different cuisines.  While I am a foodie, I try not to make it an exclusive thing.  I really like to give other people to stretch their boundaries, so for Christmas, I bought my brother-in-law a gift certificate for an 8 course tasting menu at a restaurant in the Detroit area called gastronomy (He lives in Michigan so it would be easier for him to get there than to Chicago).  The second in his party was my sister, his wife, but as I had never been to this restaurant and because my brother lives in the area, they invited us to dine with them.  I think though, that it was also because they had little experience with finer dining.  It was fine though, because I am always happy to try something new and to help understand what they might be having.  The word gastronomy means the art or science of good eating so I hoped the restaurant lived up to it's name.  I journeyed to the Detroit suburbs on the day of our dinner and we made our way to the restaurant.  While it wasn't that far from a major road, it was a little hard to find.  It was located in an office building in an office park.  There was a sign outside the park indicating that we were in the right place but the entrance was not obvious and we ended up driving around the office park, entering through the office building, and wandering around the building before finding an entrance.  We found that there was an entrance to the restaurant at the front of the building but it wasn't exceptionally obvious.  Once we arrived though, we were immediately seated.and presented with menus to let us know what we would be eating.  After our water was poured and when drinks were ordered, a bread course was presented to us.  It didn't count as one of the 8 courses but as it was a little different than your standard course, I thought I would include it.  The bread served was Naan, the Indian flatbread that is cooked on the side of a hot oven.  It is typically crispy on one side and fluffy on the other and has a slightly sweet flavor.  It was served with a Tzatziki Sauce, a yogurt sauce with herbs and spices and finely chopped cucumber.  The naan and tzatziki both lived up to their identities.  The naan was crispy on one side, fluffy on the other, chewy, and slightly sweet.  The tzatziki was more course than I would have expected but it had a good sour and fresh cucumber flavor and went well with the naan.
 Our first course was an Amuse Bouche.  In many restaurants, I have noticed that the Amuse is not counted as a course and is generally thought of as a little something extra.  I have noticed other restaurants counting it so I will let it pass for now.  The amuse bouche literally means happy mouth and is generally used by the kitchen as a pre-appetizer to try something new out or to use something for which there isn't enough for a complete dish.  The Amuse in this case was a Pancetta-Wrapped Date with Microgreens and a Lemon Sauce.  A common Spanish Tapa is the bacon-wrapped date which this was a variation of.  The pancetta was slightly crispy and sweet which went well with the sweetness of the date.  The microgreens added a little bitterness and the lemon sauce rounded out the dish with it's tartness.  While I might have a slight semantic disagreement with the naming or numbering of this course, it was very good.
 The next course was an Orchard Salad.   It contained Mixed Field Greens, Compressed Candied Apples that were candied with Cinnamon Candy, Sliced Radishes, Apple Cider Doughnut Croutons, Cracked Almond Brittle, and Cider Vinaigrette.  It was a vibrant and colorful dish with the green of the greens and the red of the radishes and the cinnamon candy that was used in both the candied apples and the almond brittle and the salad had a lot of cider and cinnamon flavor that played together well.  The croutons were less crisp than croutons normally are but that was okay because it was easier to spread the cider flavor.  The brittle was very crisp and spicy-sweet from the cinnamon and the vinaigrette added to the cider flavor.
 According to our menu, our next course was supposed to be a Pate course, but we were told when our next course, which was not pate was brought out that there was a miscommunication in the kitchen and the pate would come out next.  We were brought instead, the course that was supposed to come after the pate:  The Pan-Seared Diver Scallop with Miso Panko-Basil Sand, Champagne Sea Foam, Rock Chives, Sriracha Candy Coral, and a Littleneck  Clam.  This was a very creative and tasty dish, so I easily forgave the error in service.  The scallop was perfectly seared and tasted very fresh.  The miso panko-basil sand was creative and went well with the scallop and the clam was fresh and flavorful.  The candy coral was interesting.  It was bright red rock candy laid in the shape of a coral formation.  It wasn't exceptionally sweet although it did have a little sweetness to it.  What it was was spicy.  The Sriracha did not provide an immediate burn, but it did come as the candy dissolved in your mouth.
The next course was the pate.  It was a Duck Liver Pate that was presented with three different sauces to eat with it and some Housemade Chips.  The Sauces were Cherry Jam, Thyme Honey, and Blood Orange Candied Nuts.  Everything was very good separately and together, although admittedly I didn't try to eat everything together.  I think that the best combination was the pate with the cherry jam on a chip although the nuts and honey were both good together as well.
 The next course was an Intermezzo, a break with something brightly flavored to use as a palate cleanser.  We were served a Passionfruit Granita, a course frozen dessert similar to a sorbet although with a coarser texture.  This was bright, flavorful, very tart, and it readied our palates for our next course.
We were next served a Petite Filet.  It was a very complex dish with a lot of things served with it.  In addition to the filet, which was fork tender and very flavorful, it was served with Yukon Gold Potato-Bacon Risotto (potato and bacon prepared like risotto but with no rice), Sambuca Cress, Fried Brussels Sprout Leaves, Carrot Puree, Cranberry Caviar, and Veal Demi-Glace.  Everything was good and went together well.  There was so much variety here that if it was bigger, it could have been a meal in and of itself.

After our entree, the filet mignon, we were presented with our dessert.  It was a Sweet Potato Creme Brulee and came with a Toasted Marshmallow, Candied Walnut Dust, and Cherry Coulis (a thick fruit based sauce).  This really reminded me of a Sweet Potato Casserole that you frequently see at Thanksgiving and I really enjoyed it.  The sweet potato custard had a nice crust and the marshmallow was nicely toasted.  The walnuts and cherry coulis were flavorful and went together well with the sweet potato creme brulee. 
For our final course, the menu listed mignardises.  Mignardises are petit fors that serve the same way as an after dinner mint.  Our mignardise was a Chocolate Covered Strawberry.  The strawberry was large, fresh, and very flavorful and the chocolate was also very good.  It was a nice finish to a very good and creative dinner.  Despite the slight hiccups, I enjoyed my meal here and would enjoy to return.  I am not sure that I would again go for a degustation menu, the a la carte menu is exciting and there are several things that I would be interested in.


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