Forest Grill / Birmingham, MI

Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press

Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press

After becoming enrapt in Bryan Polcyn’s book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, Michael was eager to try the author’s restaurant, located only a half hour from our home.  After being disappointed in previous dining experiences in the area, we weren’t sure what to expect from the restaurant, but we were ready to try Forest Grill.

Nestled close to downtown, we arrived for an early dinner on a Saturday, where we were seated immediately.  A friendly hostess handed us our menu and we were quickly engulfed in the descriptions of the seasonal menu.  Our waiter, a tall man with kind eyes, promptly brought us bread and water, and briefly filled us in on the menu.  Knowledgeable and proud of the offerings, he was incredibly helpful throughout the entire night, providing excellent recommendations.

To begin, I ordered a glass of Cave de Vendome Cocagne Rosé Pineau D’Aunis, Loire 2011, a delightfully sweet Rose reminiscent of a balmy summer day.  The large selection of wines could possibly overwhelming, but with a well read sommelier, and a much smaller selection of wines by the glass, it was easy to choose what might pair best with your night.  In addition to the wine we ordered a half plate of the charcuterie board and cheese plate.  According to Michael, the charcuterie board was out of this world, possibly one of the best he had ever had.  With Proscuitto, duck pate, and Pancetta, he was more than pleased.  The cheese plate was less impressive, but the pickled additions were perfectly preserved.

At the recommendation of our waiter, we ordered the farm egg, which was a beautifully wrapped 5 minute egg surrounded by Nameko mushrooms and Madeira Sabayon.  It was something I would be happy to indulge in every morning.

When Michael’s veal loin and my strawberry gazpacho arrived, we were a little floored.  For Michael, his loin was twirled alongside asparagus and chanterelles.  It was obvious that the chef had given some serious thought to what should accompany the veal, instead of just slapping a potato and vegetable next to his meat.  He claimed that the veal was cooked tenderly and the sides were impressive.  My gazpacho faired similarly, as the fresh strawberries were muddled together with an artful dash of sauce and the faintest hint of ramps and basil.  It seemed to be the perfect meal to kiss summer goodbye softly.

For dessert, we feasted on the sweetest Mille Feuille, a French delicate puff pastry with a lemon mousse, which was accompanied by fresh berries.   We also indulged in a marscapone mousse, complete with candied rhubarb and mint.  Both were delightful, melt in your mouth sweet pieces of heaven.

I am happy to say that Forest Grill gave us exactly what we wanted-a delicious, well thought out meal that didn’t leave us feeling stuffed.  The atmosphere was quite and clean, leaving only room for great conversation from the company you bring.  Certainly a great place to take a loved one.

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