Chartreuse is a color, a digestif and all found in a restaurant by the same name. It is a very quaint restaurant in the corner of the Park Shelton and it looks upon the Detroit Institute of Arts. It has the feel of a courtyard adjacent to an atelier. There are hanging plants from the rafters, there is a “living wall” near the bar, and a mural near the entrance with splashes of chartreuse color. It is a well-run operation with an abundance of trained help that work like Ninjas, keeping the water glasses filled, plates removed and new plates served all seamlessly and without interrupting dinner conversations. The restaurant was packed with all of the tables being utilized, we had no reservation and we had seats at the bar, and as long as the bar was in both directions, all of those seats were taken as well, as well as the sofas in the lounge area. My Bride was asking me what Chartreuse tastes like, and they immediately offered her a sample to try, as they stock several different brands of this famed drink, though she decided that she would prefer to have wine for the evening. The patron mix was interesting, half of the crowd was from about my generation and the men all had sport coats on, and the other half is what is now termed hipster. They were all there to enjoy the food.
After we had our appetizer and some wine, we selected our dinner choices. The menu was tight and the food was fresh, as the chef goes shopping daily to determine the menu. My Bride had the Short Ribs which had a Fusion accent to this classic dish, as it was prepared with Coconut Rice and a Mango-Pineapple Hot Sauce, I was not as daring, but it was right up her alley. I went with the Duck Confit, a natural selection for me when offered, and it came with Barley Risotto, Blueberry Mosturda and Mushrooms; I was a little concerned that the dish might have been too sweet for me, but there was just a tinge of sweetness. In fact, most of the food critics in the area tout the fact that if there is a fruit and mustard combination, don’t pass it up, and they were right. We then shared a Key Lime Pot de Crème with Michigan Blueberries, Graham Crackers and a Sea-Salt Chocolate bar; not overly sweet and a very enjoyable consistency.
As I said in the last article, the wine carte was very tight and well thought out. They were also touting California wines and donating proceeds from the sales for the month to send to California, so we did our part for dinner. My Bride had the Broc Cellars Love Red North Coast 2016. This was a blend of Carignan, Syrah and Valdiguie. Valdiguie is found in the Vin du Pays in the Languedoc-Roussillon region as well in Provence, it has been grown for years in Napa and was originally called Napa Gamay, but that name is no longer being used since the grape has been identified properly. The fruit is from the Frei Vineyard in Solano County’s Green Valley and the neighboring Wirth Ranch and Parenti Ranch. Chris Brockway calls his facility an urban winery as it is in Berkley and he prides himself on great contracts with specific growers. This wine was aged for eight months in neutral French Oak and it paired well with her dish, even with the hot sauce. Since I had the duck, I am a creature of habit and I looked for a Pinot Noir. I had the Bench Pinot Noir 2015 from the Sonoma Coast of Sonoma County. This wine is made by Brack Mountain Wine Company and they did a fine job with this finicky grape. Seventy percent of the fruit was destemmed and then the balance was placed in clusters atop of the first grapes for the pressing. After the fermentation period the wine was aged for eleven months in French Oak, of which thirty percent was new. I was very happy with the wine and you could taste the artisan and craftmanship in the glass. I am sure that we will be back, and I think that I delayed trying the restaurant for a while, because a couple years back they were selected as the Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press, and I am always afraid that an honor like that can be detrimental at times, but not at Chartreuse.