SNEAK PEEK: Inside Chartreuse Before Their May 19 Opening Date

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Detroit is adding to its reputation as the new “It” city with the addition of Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails, where the food rivals the surroundings in show-stopping pieces. Major players in the Detroit food and art world worked together to develop what promises to be an extraordinary experience inspired by Chartreuse, the bright green herbal liquor with centuries worth of staying power.

Inside Chartreuse
Inside Chartreuse. Daily Detroit Photo.

Owner Sandy Levine, whom established his reputation with popular craft cocktail bar The Oakland in Ferndale, is working with Chef Douglass Hewitt Jr. on this project. Incidentally, his $75 pop-up dinner, with Top Chef alumnus James Rigato, sold out in March.

The Living Wall at Chartreuse. Daily Detroit Photo.
The Living Wall at Chartreuse. Daily Detroit Photo.

The lush plant art inside Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails is enough to turn anyone green. Guests will be greeted in the front vestibule by artist Louise “Ouizi” Chen’s swirling large-scale mural of painted plants from the Chartreuse Mountains in France.

A large dried flower installation, created by Pot and Box in Ann Arbor, hangs from the ceiling like a falling firework show. Two pieces of living plant art sporting curiously textured succulents, some bulbous and some spiky, hang on the same bright green wall. It was created by Chris Best, founder of Ferndale’s Rust Belt Market, and Tiffany Best, owner of Lady Lazarus. The interior design is just as eclectic and stylish as the menu, which includes shrimp and mussels topped with popcorn in a coconut curry sauce.

One incredible edible egg. Daily Detroit Photo.
One incredible edible Twice Cooked egg. Daily Detroit Photo.

There is a wide range of prices from the $6 Twice Cooked Egg (which was done to perfection on a bed of complimentary greens), to the $22 Grilled Cap Steak. Unusual flavor combinations like duck and blueberries, or baby back ribs and seaweed, should have you salivating for the grand opening.

The drinks were on point, including their take on one of Detroit’s iconic libations, The Last Word. A drink that was originally created at the Detroit Athletic Club, it tastes little of its gin composition and packs a sweet yet refined punch. As it’s classically one part gin, one part lime juice, one part maraschino liqueur and one part chartreuse, it’s a selection befitting of the establishment.

If you want to check the place out for yourself, you might get lucky and stumble upon a soft opening or two; but no guarantees on hours or anything, as is the case usually with soft openings, but we were super impressed with our visit.

May 19 is the official grand opening day, and you can find it at the corner of Kirby and Woodward at 3965 Woodward in Detroit and may just be the perfect, classy yet accessible compliment to a Friday night at the Detroit Institute of Arts across the street … or any night.

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