Fall has brought with it the opening of a hot new restaurant with more just about to open for the first time. It’s an exciting time to live in Detroit, and it was a pleasure to visit Lady of the House not too long ago.
It had only been open for a couple weeks, and Mom, Dad, and I met two of our friends there. The first thing we noticed was the beautiful garden against the side of the restaurant. We had to wait to be seated even though our reservation was for the time the restaurant opened. Since it was such a nice, late September night, we chose to wait outside. Why not?
Honey bees fed on the flower and a Monarch butterfly hung out with us. It was really something. The inside of the restaurant is rather special as well. Unlike the warehouses that are often turned into restaurants by applying a fresh coat of paint and moving in some tables, you can tell this place took time.
From the lighting that prevents tables from plunging into darkness like in too many restaurants these days to the well spaced tables allowing for privacy to the candle filled fireplace, my personal favorite touch. They said the candles take twenty minutes to light but that it is worth it, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Service was friendly and prompt throughout. Upon sitting, we were presented with tea and housemade Ritz crackers. The crackers really did taste like a cheesy Ritz Bit, but more than one per person would have been nice.
From there it was a free for all of ordering. We sampled a lot of the menu. In general, I would say the stand out dishes were the vegetables. The cucumber carpaccio was delicately acidic with the nutty walnut romesco and punch of juice from brined grapes. The farm greens could have used slightly more apple and turnip as advertised, but the creamy cheese and vibrant greens were excellent. You’d be surprised how many restaurants have trouble serving greens that are … well … green.
The roasted carrot escabeche was another hit. The long greens on top were a bit unwieldy, but it was a dish we all agreed we would order again and again.
Bread and butter may seem simple, but I find more and more it is a hidden gem at restaurants. That is no exception at Lady of the House, which does it with a twist: the bread is charred and served not only with butter but also peach puree. Can I have that every morning for breakfast?
We also tried the corn dog rillette. The cheddar cheese sauce was a creamy revelation and paired so well with the crispy corn dogs. The lamb meatballs were also nice paired with stems of roasted grapes.
The prime rib was the biggest dish we ordered. The couple with us received theirs medium rare and Mom’s came more on the medium side, as requested. It was some of the best cooked meat we have had in a long time. Served with a small radish salad, au jus that is fantastic and almost went unnoticed, and cauliflower risotto it is a nice sized meal though a bit of a stretch for two as the menu suggests. Another caution, the menu does not mention horseradish, but the risotto is loaded with it. This isn’t necessarily good or bad, just unexpected.
The desserts were my favorite part of the evening. We were split pretty much right down the middle on identifying our favorites, but I can tell you both the rum cake with sesame brittle and coffee sauce and the potato doughnuts with chamomile cream and fried thyme were outstanding. I liked the doughnuts a little better, super hot, crispy on the outside, almost creamy inside, and the fried thyme was an excellent touch. I actually think they are and should continue to be a signature dish for the restaurant.
Lady of the House was great, really, and if you are in the Detroit area you should try it. But someone told me recently that at 27 I’m still finding my voice as a writer, and I think Lady of the House, having been open less than a month, is also still finding it’s voice. I hope that like any lady it gets better with age.
We also visited The Skip, an outdoor bar in the Belt alley. It was our first time there, but it definitely won’t be our last. The frozen cucumber margarita and awesome vibes are not to be missed.