Wright & Company in Detroit, MI
Jeff and I recently had dinner at one of Detroit’s newest restaurants, Wright & Company. To set the scene, it was a rainy and cold night, plans for a homemade dinner were undefined at best, and it was a few days before Jeff’s birthday. When I sent him an article about new restaurants and told him we should definitely check out W & C, he replied “tonight?” Alright, let’s do it.
We headed downtown at the fashionable hour of 5:15 pm. Hey, we’re old and we don’t care what people think. Things got off to a rocky start when we were greeted with the above welcoming entrance. Ummmm, really? It was sort of our fault for taking the stairs instead of the elevator (the restaurant is on the second floor, not street level, and the elevator puts you out directly inside the restaurant), but still. Luckily, this door was not a predictor of what was to come.
The inside of the restaurant is absolutely beautiful. Lots of wood, marble tables, and a really cool tin ceiling. It’s somehow dark and moody and filled with natural light from the large windows, all at the same time. Not sure how it’s possible, but W & C makes it happen.
Wouldn’t this corner booth under this pretty chandelier be a great place to spend an evening with a group of friends? Because there were just two of us, we were ushered to a two-top table. We figured the restaurant would get busier as folks who work downtown started to trickle in, but that never really happened. In the two hours or so we were there, there were never more than 15 customers at a time. However, it was a Wednesday night.
Hopefully, for W & C’s sake, this place is busier on the weekends. I do worry that they won’t get a lot of foot traffic, since they’re on the second floor. They have a sign on the sidewalk directing people upstairs, but still – you kind of need to know about this place in advance if you’re going to end up there.
We started off with cocktails. This place makes the fancy, super tiny kind of cocktail that is crafted with fresh juices and homemade bitters and the like. I had The Last Word, and Jeff had something with whiskey. They were both tasty, and very strong. However, I just can’t fully get on board with these tiny cocktails that seem to be all the rage right now. They actually appear bigger in this photo than they really were. They were small. They might be good if I was *just* drinking, but when I’m having them with a meal, they just don’t work for me. Three sips, and they’re gone, and there goes like $11 or whatever they cost. Meh. I’d just order a glass of wine next time.
W & C gets bonus points for somehow knowing they should sit us in front of this painting. Jeff is a shipwreck fanatic. Seriously, he loves Titantic more than any other person I know, and I don’t think it even has to do with Kate Winslet’s boobs (maybe 99% shipwreck, 1% boobs). He just loves shipwrecks. I think the scene in this painting was about 10 seconds before a shipwreck occurred, so Jeff seemed pretty happy about what was about to happen to these poor sailors.
The savory portion of W & C’s menu is divided into two lists: “Snacks” and “Plates.” Our server told us there was no difference between the two, which sort of confused us. The “Plates” were a few dollars more expensive and had fancier ingredients, so I guess that was the difference.
Jeff and I have been eating snacks and appetizers for dinner since before it was so cool to do so, and we generally like ordering 3 or 4 small plates and splitting them, so we get to try multiple things on the menu (even if we don’t finish every bite). It was hard to judge how large each dish at W & C would be, since nothing was designated as an “appetizer” or “entree” and our server told us that everything was the same. It turned out that some dishes were larger and could have served four as a starter, and some were smaller and were better off being split between two. It worked out well for us, but it might be hard with a large group, or a group that doesn’t like to share food. I don’t think anything on the menu could be considered a true “entree” in the traditional sense of the word. Everything is for sharing and tasting.
We decided on three “snacks” and one “plate.” First up, the Duck Liver Mousse, served with golden raisins, fried capers and sourdough bread. Even thought it was a “snack,” this was one of the larger plates we had. It came with a HUGE cup of mousse, so much so that we almost could have used a few more slices of bread. The mousse was rich and flavorful, and you could build our own bites including the sweet raisins and crunchy and briny capers. I though this was very good. The only thing that I didn’t like was that the mousse came with a thick layer of duck fat resting on top. I know this is done so that the mousse can be spooned into cups and refrigerated in advance (the layer of fat keeps the mousse from drying out), but that thick layer of fat just kind of turned me off. I ended up just scraping it to the side so I could enjoy the mousse underneath. It was a small price to pay for how delicious the mousse itself really was.
We also tried the Sriracha Chicken Skewers that came with marinated cucumbers and Chinese mustard. I thought these were pretty good, but they didn’t blow my mind or anything. I wouldn’t come back just for these. I was expecting them to be spicier, but they didn’t really have the kick I was looking for. They were also kind of small, so this is a plate best split with two people so that each person can have two skewers.
We made several puns about “date night” and ordered the Warm Dates, which were served sprinkled with smoked bacon, gorgonzola cheese and almonds. They were served with some sort of cream sauce. I couldn’t exactly figure out what it was (just cream? more cheese?), but everything on the plate came together in a lovely sweet + salty, soft + crunchy sort of way. I assumed these were going to be pick-up finger food, but they were knife and fork kind of bites. They were so delicious that I didn’t care how I was eating them, just that I was eating them. I would definitely order these again!
Finally, the one item from the “Plates” menu that we ordered was the Charcuterie and Cheese Platter. While I generally prefer to keep my charcuterie and cheese separate (preferring a just charcuterie platter when available), this was very well put together and I really enjoyed it. It came with two varieties of cured meats and two cheeses (the exact names of which I can’t remember), orange marmalade, pickled onions and pickled apricots. Like with the warm dates and the duck liver mousse, everything on this plate was a nice balance of sweet and savory. W & C definitely excels at that!
If you’re ever in downtown Detroit, looking for a few cocktails and some sweet and savory snacks, be sure to check out Wright & Company. Just take the elevator. And let me know what happens with that shipwreck scene.