Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lots of New Developments; Here's a List

Originally published in D-Tales here; edited for content.

...Level: This new martini bar will inhabit the former site of the once-popular Buzz Bar, which shut down for some damn reason or another, who can keep track anymore? So much for the rumored reopening...but I will always welcome a new martini bar. The sign says "Opening Soon," but you never really know what that means in this city. I'm still waiting on that new French restaurant right across the street.

Mercury Coffee Bar: Phillip Cooley (who, with his brother, owns Slows Bar BQ and half a block of Corktown) and Todd Wickstrom, co-founder of Heritage Foods USA and former managing partner at Zingerman's Deli, have teamed up to create Mercury Coffee Bar in Corktown. This two-floor building will have seating for about 50-60 diners, and will serve fresh-baked pastries and sandwiches made with ingredients supplied by local urban gardens and Michigan farmers. The idea is to create more jobs for locals as well as to drive economic development using food. With the recent shift in Detroit backs towards more agrarian roots and urban gardens cropping up all over the east side and Midtown, there's no time like the present. Mercury Coffee Bar promises to be the first wave of a sure new trend in Detroit: one that focuses on the highest quality ingredients and promoting the local agricultural economy.

Tre Monti Ristorante: This newly-opened Italian-esque restaurant behind the San Marino Club in Troy is open to the public, unlike the Club it is adjacent to. Some interesting things about San Marino: it is the oldest constitutional republic in the world and boasts the smallest population in the Council of Europe as well as one of the highest Gross Domestic Products per capita in the world. Membership to the San Marino Club in Troy is open only to those of San Marino descent. Which makes me wonder how many there could possibly be in Michigan, but apparently there's enough.

Tre Monti is the result of a longtime desire to extend the Club's cultural heritage, and is said to highlight the cuisines of tiny San Marino, the landlocked enclave republic completely surrounded by the rolling hills of Italy. The cuisine is shockingly similar. But, the decor is bright and welcoming and the fare sounds tasty enough, though pretty painfully basic. Some standouts include osso buco and involtini with prosciutto and mozzarella--again, nothing too fancy, and certainly not the work of a Chef de Cuisine, but I'll spare my judgement until I actually dine there. In my experience, it is oftentimes these non-flashy restaurants owned and operated by a long tradition of families from the Mother Country featuring menu items that sound pretty basic and simple that are the ones you'll rave about for years afterwards as being one of the most flavorful meals you'd ever experienced.