We went to a lot of casual eating, diner spots on my recent road trip to Michigan. However, there came a point in the trip where I had to email a chef I know in Detroit and ask for some restaurant recommendations in the city (about an hour and half from my parents house) I was in need of some exciting and interesting food to mix in with my diner and ice cream parlor stops! The message went like this:
“Hey Jeremy, I hope you’re doing well! I’m in Michigan visiting the fam and I need some recommendations of some good restaurants for the next night or two. I’m having a great time, but I’m dying for a good meal. Please send me 2-3 recommendations that a foodie like me would enjoy, thank you! I can’t eat anymore diner or cafe style food (I’m literially dying for a foodie fix!)”
He promptly replied and offered some suggestions and the rest is blog history:)
Of Chef Kalmus’s suggestions visiting Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails was definitely the highlight of my culinary experiences while on our Michigan road trip. I loved everything about it, super cool decor, good service and most importantly: AMAZING FOOD! I grew up in a small town with a big family, and though my mother exposed us to different styles of food and taught us to be open minded, we were not really exposed to fine dining or true culinary experiences. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to take my baby brother with me and treat him to dinner, since he was really interested in learning what exactly I do with the food blog. We arrived around 6:15 and the place was slammed…and for good reason, it’s spectacular! I couldn’t even make my way to the bar, so thankfully we got seated early, at the chefs table. I looked at the menu while I waited for our drinks to arrive, of course I had already gone online and looked at it like 5 times, I was super stoked!
The decor was really interesting, it consisted of several living art installations of flowers and succulents spread throughout the restaurant. One installation was comprised of upside down hanging flowers tied together to create a illusionary wall, another installation was comprised of a succulent mural that hung behind the bar. I loved this entire concept. It was unique and I have never really seen anything like this before…it was beautiful and inspiring.
Our waiter asked if I had any questions about the menu, I said I didnt-but I would like it if he would ask the chef to choose 4 dishes for us to share. I wanted the chef to pick the dishes that represented who the restaurant is and what they were all about. He relayed the message to the kitchen and the chef came over and chatted about any allergies we might have and make sure we were ok with trying anything-NO ALLERGIES AND TOTALLY OPEN, he smiled, I could tell he liked the challenge, and returned to his task.
Our 4 Courses:
1. Lamb Poke $8-mango, avacado, cilantro, sea salt, sweet chili, potato chips. I wasn’t sure how my brother would handle this dish…raw lamb?!? (I couldn’t be more excited, it had 3 of the ingredients that I really love most!!!!) I explained to him, that with each course, I needed to snap a few pics and then he was more than welcome to dive in. He was analyzing it over, again-and-again, with his eyes. I felt like I could hear his thoughts, but once I gave him ‘the nod’ he reached in and scooped up a huge bite on a chip (which were the mack daddy of all chips…yum!!!) He was chewing, he was thinking, he was processing and I saw a new foodie was born. He smiled, he took another bite…”this is pretty good.” I smiled and dug in too-“yes, bro…this is really good.” It was fresh and slightly salty (in just the right way.) I loved the summer flavors of each ingredients all mixed in together.
2. Grilled Spanish Octopus $10-fennel, pickeled onion, chorizo, cucumber, chili, sea salt. This was spectacular. I loved the spiciness of the chorizo and chili and the cucumber definitely cooled off the flavor nicely to give it that summer edge. It was beautifully plated (though it looked too good to eat)…we did and loved every single bite!
3. Recovery Park $9-daily selection from Recovery Park Farm, which is a local MI produce farm. This was one of my favorites…I loved the mixed melody of beets, carrots, onions, radishes, strawberries and greens. It was delicious. When we got home I googled some info about the farm…their story, goals, and mission-its truly unique and visionary. Knowing about Recovery Park made the dish even more enjoyable!
4. Duck Confit $15-barley “risotto” grilled mushroom. Wow!!! This was spectacular. A completely different take on any duck confit then I’ve had before, of course the meat was a traditional preparation but paired with the barley and drizzled slightly off to the side with this unbelievable blueberry sauce…I was happier with each bite I had. My brother might have inhaled his portion (which was a decent amount) in 5 seconds and just smiled and said he really liked it…well of course, because it was special.
I loved everything about this new Detroit Mid Town spot, everything met and exceeded my expectations. I especially loved the fact I could share it all with my brother who was exposed to something outside of his comfort zone but something he quickly appreciated. Enjoying good food shouldn’t always break the bank, good food can come from the farm down the road (even in a large city) and great service isn’t taken for granted! Big Thank You to EVERYONE that made our evening a lovely one.
(The 3 Instagram followers from Charleston who messaged me about either having recently been to Chartreuse to eat in the last week or during the same weekend I was there… so cool! Charleston represented itself well in Detroit! Gotta love social media for keeping us all connected…so fun!)
A few pics of Detroit…because contrary to popular belief…it is beautiful.