Experiencing Great Restaurants and Delicious Libations

Posts tagged “Free Press Restaurant of the Year

Mabel Gray – Hazel Park MI

23825 John R. Rd. Hazel Park, MI

Visited February 2017

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2017 Restaurant of the Year – Detroit Free Press

A month ago we made reservations at Mabel Gray for a birthday dinner. As luck would have it, the day of our dinner Mabel Gray was named Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press. There was a buzz in the air.

This surprisingly small restaurant is a redo of an old diner – or partial redo. It still looks and feels like an old diner, outfitted with thrift store mismatched china and 1970’s vacation souvenir and 4th of July water glasses. I am not sure if the design intent was to be eclectic, campy, clever, or just cool. My impression was that it has a 70’s suburban recreation room vibe. It was packed with anxious patrons, including the Mayor of Detroit, ready to find out what the buzz is all about.

The staff was impressive – engaging, friendly, attentive, and described the details of the dishes as if they had prepared each themselves.

The Food:

We started with a few shared plates. Duck Heart Yakitori, Root Vegetable Salad, Kabucha Squash, and Crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes. All were delicious, beautifully presented – with only one reserved review on the duck hearts…because they were duck hearts.

The entree courses ordered at the table included Fried Pork Belly Salad, the Lamb Chops and the House Gnocchi. The reviews of the Pork Belly and the Lamb Chops were very good, and the presentation was appealing – but I had the Gnocchi. It was the only disappointing dish of the evening.  It was soupy, and extremely garlicky -too garlicky for my taste (and I like garlic). The plating /presentation also was not appealing at all, more like a diner dish from the building’s previous incarnation.

The desserts were all big hits – and we ordered one of each of the items from the dessert menu to share. The evenings selection included Heath Chocolate Cake, Goat Cheese Cheesecake and the Bananas Foster. All looked great, and all tasted great – a perfect end to the evening.

With the exception of my entree, the food was delicious. I do plan on returning for the Chef’s Tasting Menu. You do not know what you will be getting, but based on what we experienced, it promises to be inventive and interesting – I just hope there is no Gnocchi on the menu when I return.

Selden Standard – Detroit MI

Opening Night November 9, 2014

3921 Second Avenue, Detroit MI

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UPDATE: 2015 Restaurant of the Year as published by the Detroit Free Press!

Opening Night was a great success for the latest addition to Detroit’s growing restaurant scene.

Selden Standard’s food is delicious, the staff is well selected, and the restaurant design is great.

It is a sophisticated minimalist interplay of white glazed brick and wood planks levitating below a blacked out ceiling with rows of exposed-filament bulbs suspended in gaps between the planks.

The chef checked every plate that left the kitchen, and I can say that each of my plates were perfectly presented.

I sampled the Kale Caesar Salad with crispy chicken skin, lemon and sourdough croutons; Roasted Beets with Ricotta, pomegranate and walnuts; Lamb Meatballs with tomato, olives, yogurt and mint; and the Pumpkin Tart with heirloom pumpkin, and vanilla spice cream. It was all very, very good.

I look forward to trying out the other menu options soon in this well designed restaurant space. I will update my post when I have had a chance to dine at a table and get the full Selden Standard experience.

Andy Hollyday – Executive Chef

Tadd Heidgerken, of et al. Collaborative – Detroit – Architect

UPDATE: The architect now has a project profile page on their website showing floor plans, sections, renderings and finish details for the architectural minded. Click Here!

(Note: I am not affiliated in any way with the Architect, Chef or Restaurant – just a discerning diner that is also an architect, and very happy that this restaurant is conveniently on my way home from work!)

Selden Standard Website

Detroit Free Press Article

Detroit Eater Webpost

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