It's been eons since my husband Billy and I have gone out on a proper dinner date. One where we got to encounter new foods, new sounds, a new experience and really, to spend time with each other just the two of us.
This building is way cool, which is not depicted in this photo. Lol. The restaurant is in the Grand Army of the Republic Building in Detroit, and it looks castle-like. Republic is a scratch kitchen, meaning they make everything from scratch. They also locally source as much as they can, which is pretty darn awesome. Since it is locally sourced, it is also seasonal.
The restaurant was packed, as I had anticipated. Luckily, Republic takes reservations, something I am finding that less and less restaurants do. I love reservations, especially now that I am a parent. I don't have the luxury of waiting for a table anymore. My time is limited, so when I go out to eat, I want to know I can go in and get a table. So yay Republic!
The crowd was a little older, maybe late thirties and up, except for at the bar, which seemed to hit all age ranges. The hum of conversation was perfect - not so loud you had to shout, but not so quiet that you felt weird talking at a normal volume.
The drink menu had a few good wines and beer listed, as well as handmade specialty cocktails. They also offered a whiskey flight, which intrigued my husband, but he settled on a draft beer instead. I ordered a glass of Biutiful Malbec, and we settled back to peruse the menu. The waitress told us that the menu was designed for us to pick and choose and share, and that the food is served family style. It is also served as it is made, and is brought out as it is done. This wasn't a problem for us, as we weren't ordering very much, but I am curious as to how that works in a bigger group or with different food.
We started with the Ploughman's Platter, which was amazing. Black pepper bread, pub cheese, a sharp cheddar, venison salami, pickled celery, actual pickles, and some sort of smoky tasting jam. I didn't care for the jam, it was like eating a bonfire, and I don't eat meat, but the rest was so good. I could have eaten that pub cheese all night. The pickled celery was also amazeballs.
We skipped the Greens section of the menu and went straight to the entrees, or Pasture, as they called it.
I had the whole smoked trout, with aioli, nuts, and veggies. I knew to expect a head, since it said "whole" right in the description but I still couldn't look at it. My husband and our awesome waitress discreetly took care of it for me. I thought the trout was very good, especially with the sauce. No complaints, but I also wouldn't go wild over it.
My husband on the other hand, did go crazy over his. He ordered the Pork Steak, which was charred, and served with herbed jam, paneer, cherries and apple. It also had bacon with it.
I think it is safe to say that he enjoyed it.
We had also enjoyed a few drinks each by this point, so my photos get a little worse from here! But don't worry, there is only one!
For dessert we split the lavender lemon crumble, which was seriously the best part of the meal. It was tiny but delicious, a bijou jewel on the crown of the dinner. It was shortbread crumble, lavender and honey ice cream, with lemon curd. Oy. It tasted of summer and spring all at once.
We had such a fabulous time, and laughed like lunatics, and just in general, had a blast. We don't normally splurge on ourselves much anymore, and it was so nice to do so with my guy. Overall, I highly recommend Republic to anyone who is interested in craft dining. They bill themselves as American Rustic, and I would agree that that is their style. If you are a vegetarian, it is maybe not the best option for a night out, but would be perfect for a nightcap and dessert, maybe after visiting the Opera House which is just across the way a bit.
I love all these restaurant options in Detroit these days. We haven't been to the city for dinner for a while (try two years!), so we are behind on all the spots, but we are having fun discovering them!! Detroit's food game is en pointe these days!