Great minds truly think alike – at least, they did one week in mid-February when my friend Jaclyn and I were trying to figure out which place in Detroit we should try next.
I was scrolling through Yelp when I found an intriguing prospect I’d not yet come across before, Lady of the House. I made a mental note to propose the place to Jaclyn.
A few days passed. The night before we were supposed to meet, she sent me a text: “Hey! Found this new place in Corktown!” that included a link to – where else? – Lady of the House’s website.
Of course we had to go there. The Universe had conspired to bring us to Lady of the House. And it was in Corktown, my favorite Detroit neighborhood? Oh, heck yes!
This was not a miss of a choice punted to us from the Universe, my friends. It was a resounding hit – one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had. I already know Lady of the House is going to be on my Blog Year Five top-ten list!
The food was excellent, the ambiance was awesome, the service was exceptional – and most importantly, there was a chair in the ladies’ room embossed with Ryan Gosling’s face.
YES. You can enter the women’s restroom of Lady of the House and SIT ON RYAN GOSLING’S FACE! Not literally, of course, but symbolically (sitting on Ryan Gosling’s actual face without permission would be bad indeed). You can see photos of this Gosling-face-chair on Lady of the House’s Yelp profile.
Kidding aside, the actual most important aspect about Lady of the House has nothing to do with Gosling-emblazoned upholstery: it has to do, naturally, with the food. It is excellent, expertly prepared and infused with intriguing ingredient mash-ups that pair perfectly.
For our dinner, we chose from the menu of shared plates (which appears to change regularly) the Farm Greens, Cracked Potato, Cauliflower, and Parisian Ham.
The Farm Greens are, as you’d expect, a salad. But they are not any old salad: they are a delectable combination of fresh greens, apples, shaved cheese, pistachios, and creamy tarragon dressing. I know these ingredients all sound pretty ordinary, but let me tell you, under the care of Lady of the House’s kitchen crew, these components combined together to make a damn near magical salad. These greens were GOOD.
The Cracked Potato with tobiko*, basil butter, and capers and the Cauliflower dish accented with fennel, parmesan, and olives were sumptuous vegetable dishes. I think more people would heart vegetables if they were eating ones as carefully and flavorfully prepared as these were.
(*OK, wow, by just now Googling tobiko, which I was previously clueless about, I learned that it’s “flying fish roe” – a.k.a. the eggs of a fish called a flying fish. So I ate fish eggs for the first time and didn’t know it! I achieved a milestone in my culinary journey that I was totally oblivious of at the time.)
The pièce de résistance, however, was the Parisian Ham.
Our server explained to us when we ordered it that it simply came accompanied by butter – not just any old butter, but a butter made with Dijon mustard and fermented honey. She said that bread was not served with the honey and butter because it was thought to get in the way; the intention was to spread the butter directly onto the ham.
It sounds weird. But it was EPIC.
This thinly-sliced ham cured in house was SO GOOD: tender, flavorful, full-out deliciousness. The butter was wonderfully addictive, infused with the rich flavors of the Dijon mustard and the fermented honey.
(Who even thinks to ferment honey? A culinary wizard does – that’s who.)
I could eat that Parisian Ham doused in butter every day of my life. It’s probably better that I don’t from a cholesterol perspective. But from a pleasure perspective, it would be an obvious win if I did.
You know what else resided in the win category at Lady of the House? The dessert menu. We only tried one item from the dessert menu, but it was very much a victory of a choice: the Potato Donuts.
I know a confectionary delight crafted from a potato doesn’t sound so delightful. But let me tell you, it was. These potato donut holes were perfectly fried on the outside and decadently soft on the inside. The chamomile-infused glaze they rested in and the dried yogurt flakes and sugared, crispy stalks of thyme that garnished them were – again, weird-sounding but epically amazing accompaniments.
The drinks were just as good. I had two of the craft cocktails: the Vanquish and the Winter Fashion. The Vanquish with its scotch, Montenegro and Cardamaro liquers, and lemon and blood orange juices was my favorite. I also had a sip of the Lady Gin + Tonic, which with its pickle brine and black pepper was surprisingly refreshing and wonderful.
You know what else was refreshing and wonderful at Lady of the House? The service. Everyone we encountered while there: the host who brought us to our table, our server, the servers and/or food runners who brought out our dishes was friendly, polite, and downright wonderful. Friendly, respectful service can be in scarcity at trendy, elevated restaurants – or at any old unelevated restaurant, for that manner.
That was not the case at Lady of the House. All of the dishes that were brought out to us were explained to us in detail. Everyone was pleasant and accessible and not at all snotty. I so appreciated it, as I’d experienced a string of not-so-warm dining experiences over the previous few months, and it was starting to make me feel sad. Thank you, Lady of the House, for helping to buoy my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity! You are AWESOME!
1426 Bagley St.
Detroit, MI 48216