The Rhinoceros is a restaurant that I only went to once, and it was a hot place for years, maybe I was too young to appreciate it and what they were doing. It was in Downtown Detroit, in what was called the warehouse district. It was on Riopelle Street and on the site of the original Riopelle farm, when Detroit was a series of “ribbon” farms that were long and narrow and every farm had direct access to the Detroit River. The building if I recall was originally a livery stable and the building eventually became one of Detroit’s earliest bars. The owners of The Rhinoceros attempted to give the establishment the feel of the Nineteenth Century with an eclectic collection of art, museum type pieces and some rather risqué artwork. The problem was, that when I went there, I felt uncomfortable as it was not the type of restaurant that I was familiar with, and I felt that it was too “frou-frou.”
At that time in my life, I was still more meat and potatoes in my diet, though I did enjoy seafood. I think this was one of the first places that I encountered that offered a vinaigrette for my salad, and to begin with, I was not big on salads, and I basically only did Italian or Creamy Garlic dressing, so I was at a loss. I think that I had escargot instead of a salad, followed by tournedos of Prime beef with Béarnaise Sauce. I was not that adventurous back then, and sometimes I think that I am still not the most open to trying new dishes.
I remember having Chateau de Pizay with my dinner. This wine is from Morgon which is one of the ten Beaujolais Crus, and the wines from Morgon are much more elegant and have more body then a regular Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages. This wine is made from the Gamay varietal, which is the grape of note in the entire Beaujolais district, and in fact this grape excels when you find a great bottle of wine from the area. Morgon is not seen that often here, but this wine is from the Barton & Guestier (B & G) negociants and distributors; hence this wine gets more distribution than probably any other wine from Morgon. Even though I had a safe dinner from the menu, I remember this wine more than the restaurant, and I never went back, but the restaurant survived for years with out me, so I guess it was just me, and I should have ventured back there, years later, but I never did. It is funny, how one remembers certain things.