Hello, all! Happy weekend!
This week has been particularly exciting for me, because my birthday was Thursday, and I LOVE birthdays. I’ll be going out with friends tonight in Detroit, and I was down there Thursday with my mom for my actual birthday. I took the day off work – as I do every year, as I’m a firm believer that no one should spend his or her birthday slaving for The Man. My mom almost always takes my birthday off work, too, which is awesome of her, and we spend the day together.
After thinking for weeks that I wanted to devote my birthday to exploring downtown Wyandotte (I’ve heard good things about it, and I plan to visit it sometime soon for the blog), I was like, no, it has to be Detroit. It just does.
As you may know from reading this blog, I love going to the city. It’s a magical place for me. Detroit is my spirit animal!
I didn’t have to deliberate for long over my lunch spot. Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails has been on my list of places to visit for the last several years, ever since I read Hour Detroit‘s high praise of it and spied its vibrant green walls within its pages.
The restaurant is located in the Museum District, in the grand Park Shelton building at the corner of Kirby and Woodward streets; its entrance faces the Detroit Historical Museum.
I’m totally burying the lead here, but I had quite possibly the best restaurant meal of my life at Chartreuse. I know I am always raving on the blog about how great the places I visit are – we have a lot of awesome restaurants in the area! But I’m telling you, Chartreuse is exceptional.
My mom and I started with the Michigan Apple and Jicama appetizer, a unique blend of apples, jicama, celery leaves, smoked cashews, bacon, oregonzola (a cheese very similar to gorgonzola), and house-made fermented hot sauce. Then we shared the spare ribs and smoked corned beef sandwich.
The spare ribs were the best I’ve ever had. Man, were they good! I can’t even describe how fall-off-the-bone tender and flavorful they were. They were marinated in a “togarashi, soy mirin glaze” and paired with – believe it or not – a raw potato and seaweed salad. As our server explained to us, this side sounds like it would be nasty – raw potato??? – but it is crazy-good. The flavors were lively; the potatoes didn’t taste raw at all because they were shaved so thinly and marinated in this rich sauce.
The Smoked Corned Beef sandwich was a revelation. Relative to the ones I’ve had before it, this is not even the same species of corned beef sandwich. Slices of toasted, butter-soaked rye bread held thick cuts of corned beef, purple cabbage, pungent beer mustard, and melted white cheddar.
Then our server surprised us with a complimentary dessert – a creamy, custardy pudding with flecks of vanilla bean, a lime glaze, shortbread cookie pieces, and fresh blueberries. An excellent end to an excellent meal.
It was beyond a meal; it was an experience! That’s the mark of exceptional restaurants; they are experience purveyors as much as they are food purveyors. Because not only was Chartreuse Kitchen’s food some of the absolute best of my life, but the other details comprising the visit were captivating, as well.
The service was friendly, personal, and on-point. The ambiance was fabulous. This was a place that had me thinking, “Should I go back to serving again? I would have so much fun working here!” From the lime-green walls to the hanging dried flowers to the living wall of succulents, the decor is striking and inviting. And from our perch at the bar, we got a front-seat view of the adjacent kitchen line, where we got to watch the chef and his crew meticulously assemble appetizer platters for a private vodka tasting.
Thursday afternoon alcohol tastings? I LOVE this city!
15 E. Kirby St., Ste. D
Detroit, MI 48202