Opening Night Preview – July 21, 2014
I had been waiting for the opening of Wright & Co. for months. I heard rumors about how great the space was going to be, and how some of the best bartenders and chefs in town were heading there. Wright & Co. is the brainchild of Dave Kwiatkowski of The Sugar House, and Marc Djozlija former executive chef of the MGM Grand Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. I had to go on opening night, and it did not disappoint. The second floor restaurant space is in the historic Schwankovsky Temple of Music building on Woodward, with a very discrete entrance on John R., the side street. The drama starts when the elevator door opens and you are greeted by the logo on a black-grey patina steel paneled wall illuminated from the sides. The densly dark metallic passage leads you to the equally dramatic Dining Room.
The Dining Room’s tall ceiling is clad with shiny decorative tin panels and crown moulding. The bar has a tall exposed brick sidewall, and a huge stormy sailing ship painting as the backdrop. The dining side has tall windows and a prized round table in the corner turret space. I was told by the owner that they are waiting on the chandelier this week to hang above that round table. The views from the second floor up and down Woodward Avenue are great.
The food as expected was top notch – even on opening night ( as you can see the perfect execution of my dishes in the photos, -and I assure you the taste was even better ). I had warm dates, snap pea salad, and lime poached shrimp.
And the drinks, well as you would expect from The Sugar House pedigree, were perfect. The stemware was really nice as well. Chris and Jason will make the perfect cocktail for you, and yes Jason can create the perfect citrus garnish to match.
I will be back, probably later this week…
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In Historic Corktown
2130 Michigan Avenue Detroit MI
One of my favorite neighborhood haunts, this speakeasy style craft cocktail lounge is a great friendly place for a perfectly made cocktail. With a vast selection of spirits to work with, house made bitters and herb infused syrups and other concoctions, they really create unique and impeccable libations.
The Sugar House bartender’s showmanship in cocktail preparation is influenced by “Professor” Jerry Thomas and his 1862 book How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion. He is referred to as the “father of American mixology”. Each of the dapper Sugar House bartenders I have been told must read Thomas’ book (actually a book called Imbibe! by David Wondrich, a cocktail historian who has reprinted Thomas’ recipes for punches, cocktails, sours, fizzes, toddies, slings etc. with historical commentary on his legend and life as well).
For a real show – especially when the weather is chilly and you want to impress your friends – when the bartender asks what drink you would like….simply say “what would Jerry Thomas do”? They will make you a Blue Blazer. This is Jerry Thomas’ signature drink. I will not spoil the surprise with a description of the preparation, but will give you a clue: Blue Blazer does NOT refer to a conservative navy sport coat. Once the show is over, you will find that the drink is delicious as well
All of the Sugar House bartenders are experts, including Yani who is the Grand Prize winner of the 2013 Angostura U.S. Cocktail Challenge. At the Sugar House you can literally have your cocktail made by one of the best bartenders in the United States. Yani moves on to represent the U.S. at the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge in Trinidad in February. We will find out if your cocktail is made by the best bartender in the world! …(according to Angostura anyway).
(Click here for Yani’s Angostura Cocktail Challenge winning drink recipes)