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Jul 11, 2013 02:06 AM

Guns + Butter Pop-Ups, Possible Permanent Location (DTW)

I don't much do $80 meals, so did anyone else go to any of Craig Lieckfelt's dinners? Other than being just another decently good locavore chef, I'm not quite grasping what sets him apart-- $80 worth anyway. The menus I've seen didn't look all that enticing to me.

Anthony Bordain got to go to one of his pop-ups and I did not, so perhaps I'm just bitter ...

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  1. I was lucky enough to attend one earlier this year (got shut out of the most recent one). Given what I tasted, "decently good locavore chef" is underselling him just a little bit.

    Everything is relative in Detroit, and I'm probably a bit biased because of my desire to have a local place put on the national map, but his food was some of the best I've had in years. The menu is kept intentionally vague and undescriptive to provide more of a surprise factor to each dish, so I wouldn't try to judge it based on that alone.

    I say this as someone who's been very fortunate to have dined at a handful of three star Michelin places (not on my own dime). But a couple of Craig's dishes really blew my mind - awesome stuff.

    And, yes, he did confirm to our group that a permanent location is almost certain for 2014, which is something to be very, very excited about. Aside from possibly Torino in Ferndale, no one's doing anything close to this in Metro Detroit right now. It's the kind of thing that (along with Torino, hopefully) could draw some national attention to the area that's been lacking since Takashi left town.

    EDIT: BTW, the dinner was $80, but included drink pairings with each course. That's something that should be considered. The one I attended was $50 without pairings, so that's probably a good guide for the food-only price. That's not outrageous for a world-class tasting menu.

    EDIT 2: Dave Gilbert (formerly of The Forest Grill) and Andy Hollyday (formerly of Roast) are also opening their own places either later this year or early in '14. They might also be in the same ballpark in terms of possible national recognition. Add in the possibility of Craft Work in the Village and Frontera next to Eastern Market and it's a fairly exciting time for Detroit dining - for the first time in a while.

    2 Replies
    1. re: phamburg

      Frontera by Eastern Market? Do go on! I hadn't heard that.

      1. re: coney with everything

        Not THAT Frontera, coney!

        Explanation here, where both "our" Frontera and CraftWork are mentioned--

        I'm rather looking forward to the openings of La Feria tapas house in Midtown and of Ottava Via in Corktown. Apparently OV is a collaboration between the Mercury Buger Bar guy (meh-- I'm just not a burger person) and the Crispelli's fellow. Extremely hot Imported-from-Italy ovens and artisan pizzas do interest me, so I'll be there. OV should be opening any minute now.

        I don't know when David and Monica Gilbert's new place will be open. Location shifted from Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Park to a much larger 2 storefront corner space in the (City of Grosse Pointe) Village, under construction now. I don't know why the location change, but I suspect parking (non) availability may have had something to do with it. The quick success of Mindy Lopus' Red Crown has made parking scarce down there, and the opening of her other enterprises and of Atwater Brewing's outpost will surely tighten it even more. Grosse Pointe Park's Kercheval strip is going to need more parking, sooner rather than later. That's a good problem to have-- unless you're a restaurateur looking to accommodate guests right now.

        Takashi's back in town, sort of. I read the other day that he's bringing his Slurping Turtle to Ann Arbor.

        Okay phamburg, you've convinced me. I'll find a way to get to a Guns + Butter meal.