Visions and philosophies at The Ravens Club
Last week, The Ravens Club generously invited a group of bloggers for cocktails and dinner. Among those in attendance were MegGoesNomNom, The Food and Wine Hedonist, The Winegetter, David Bardallis, Key to my Cellar, Next Stop: TBD, The Detroit Foodie, Awesome Michigan, and Damn Arbor. It was awesome to be able to meet some of these great writers in person, and I felt glad that for once, I wasn’t the only one at dinner with a camera.
Over the course of our meal, we were visited by several key members of The Ravens Club, including Jeff, one of the managing partners, Ben the wine curator, Zack the cocktail creator, and Frank the chef. It was so great to hear everyone’s visions and philosophies, and their goals for the bar. Each person who spoke with us was incredibly passionate.
We were welcomed to the club with cocktail menus, and I tried the Ill-Fashioned (above), which had rye, amaro, sweet potato syrup, and Aztec chocolate bitters. Later, upon cocktail director Zack’s suggestion, the Vieux Carre (below) with rye, cognac, benedictine, aromatic wine, and bitters. Both were fantastic, and I have to say the Vieux Carre is a new favorite! Zack has worked everywhere from Sidetrack to ABC before finding a place at The Ravens Club, where he says that above all, his goal is to make people happy.
Jeff spoke to us about following the 80/20 rule, and drawing on his manufacturing background when thinking about the restaurant. He told us about visits to White Lotus Farms, a Buddhist farm, bakery, and creamery, which sounds amazing. Appetizers included beautiful deviled eggs and delicious smoked cashews with truffled-herb salt.
I have always loved the mood of The Ravens Club, with its black and gold raven wallpaper, globe lanterns, and seriously stocked bar.
If you look at the wine menu, you’ll notice that everything is from the US. Ben explained to us that the bar felt very American to him, and he wanted the wine list to reflect that. The wines are actually on tap, kept in barrels the way beer is, which I found super interesting.
My favorite part of dinner was the chicken liver mousse that came with apple chutney and was absolutely great with the pistachios. Frank, the chef, talked with us about constantly switching up the menu. He recommended the fried chicken with mac and cheese, which was surprisingly spicy! It was really interesting to hear his story about how different dishes make it onto the menu and then how some of them get rotated off.
My beet salad – beautiful to look at but I think it’s hard to eat this many beets at once.The mushrooms on toast – levain, poached egg, sherry – I noticed that everyone who ordered this dish devoured it, so it must have been good.
Dessert was this delicious toffee and peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Frank talked about how he had originally bought a ton of matzo to make a different dish for Passover and had a lot left over, but now with this dessert goes through way more of it than before. I loved the toffee crunch.
I had an absolutely amazing time. It was so fun to be able to talk with other writers and photographers, and it was awesome to hear the different visions and philosophies from the team. Check them out on Yelp or at their website!
Oh, and also check out this awesome video featuring Chef Frank with some shots at White Lotus Farms!