Over the past few years a plethora of trendy restaurants have popped up throughout Detroit. With the buzz and rave reviews many of them have received, I have been trying to check as many as possible out, especially over the summer months. Some are better than others.
Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails located near the Detroit Institute of Arts is by far the best. By far.
Though Mom was hesitant to try it worried not everyone would find something to eat or be satisfied at the end of the meal, a hesitation that was only intensified by the need to put down a credit card at the time of making the reservation, we all left thrilled and eager to go back.
It was recently my parents’ thirtieth wedding anniversary (congratulations!), so we met up with some friends to celebrate. It was a yucky rainy night, but we didn’t let that get us down.
The brightness of Chartreuse with the green painted walls is welcome amid the often dark dining destinations. It is not very large and has high ceilings, so the noise is a factor but mostly adds to the fun vibe. We were seated at a large, nice table, perfect for all the food we were about to order.
The only, literally only, bad thing I can say about the entire evening is that I ordered the Good Fortune cocktail. It’s a great drink and I just loved the spiced infused Saint Germain along with the sake and lemon. Even better, it came with a fortune attached to the drink with a tiny clothespin that I took home as a souvenir along with the menus printed with Happy Anniversary. But the fortune was so dumb and had a grammar error. Again this is the only bad thing I can say, but seriously, Chartreuse, up your fortune game.
We requested the complementary bread (be sure to do so), and though I am not a big bread eater anymore, I can tell you this bread with the homemade basil butter was outstanding. I would put that butter on anything and everything.
Before long the appetizers arrived. Burrata with cucumbers, tomatoes, prosciutto, and balsamic. A salad with cornbread croutons and vegetables from Recovery Park, a farm not too far from the restaurant. Melon salad with stone fruit, peppers, bee pollen, and the best dressing ever. We devoured them unable to say which was better.
We were debating ordering the eggplant hummus, so the waitress, Tricia, who was fabulous sent it out for the anniversary. It was to die for! The peppers on top added the perfect spice and the pesto rubbed naan bread is something I haven’t stopped thinking about for the past eleven days.
Also one of the food runners noticed me struggling to get at the dressing left in the melon salad with my fork. He presented me with a spoon without even having to ask. Now that is service!
The entrees arrived not too soon after. The meal, in general, was paced incredibly well. Dad and one of our guests both ordered the short ribs with eggplant and chicken and dumplings. they enjoyed both, but Dad said the short ribs were his favorite.
Mom had the steak, a tender cut from the sirloin that melted in your mouth. The onions, leeks, and green beans that accompanied it were tender and delightful. Our other guest had the rainbow trout, golden and crispy on the outside and served with a Dijon cream that was to die for.
I had the tomatoes with an egg yolk cream, corn, green beans, pesto, and little flowers on top. I devoured it. Though I tend to order salads and lighter dishes, this felt entrée worthy to me with the plate full of vegetables. Just to round things out and because we seemed unable to stop ourselves from ordering anything, we tried the potatoes, which were red skinned, blue, and sweet, accompanied by cubes of crispy ham and colorful sauces whose flavor was as vibrant as their appearance.
Before dessert came (yes we made room for dessert), Tricia brought out a little tasting of chartreuse for each of us. We really appreciated this. It is something I have been curious about but would never order on my own. It was super strong and had an anise flavor, but we all really enjoyed it.
Then dessert came. OMG! Just thinking about it has my mouth watering all over again. We had the vanilla pudding with basil gel on top, blueberries, and rosemary cookies. It is the pudding dreams are made of, and though I don’t always love herbal desserts, the herbs here were used in moderation and didn’t overpower anything.
The tart cherry and nectarine cobbler came steaming hot out of the oven with whipped cream melting all over it. The filling was fab, but it was that topping, softened just enough by the fruit and cream that kept me going back for bite after bite long after I was full.
If you are ever anywhere near Detroit, do yourself a favor and head to Chartreuse. I promise you will not be disappointed.