Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dinner at The Ravens Club

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner for food bloggers at The Ravens Club. It was a wonderful opportunity speak with the folks who make Ravens Club such a great restaurant and also meet some local bloggers in the real world.

I am impressed with TRC's dedication to finding what works and willingness to adapt. Everyone from Jeff, the owner, and Chef Frank to us food bloggers think TRC's current menu is their best. In keeping to their dedication to using local and seasonal ingredients, most items will rotate through every 6 weeks. Chef Frank told us though, he realizes there is value for costumers in knowing that they will always be able to find something they like. To that end, the menu is ballasted by two stalwart american classics: fried chicken and a hamburger. They are both delicious.

There are of course, options for more adventurous eaters too. Having arrived late, I ended up sitting sitting at the end of the table with the wine bloggers. Thought they laughed politely when I mentioned I had been really enjoying Trader Joe's new boxed wine, I felt like I needed to impress them. I ordered the grilled bone marrow. It was delicious. Though it was a special at the time, the consensus in the blogosphere is that it should become a regular part of TRC's menu. I also ate other delicious things throughout the night.

Toasted cashews with truffle salt--thinking about these cashews is making my mouth water

Pork Rillete with sweet pickled onions--TRC makes great pickles.

Chef's Selection Charcuterie board--though this selection of meats and cheeses on the board change daily, it always seems to come with housemade pickled curried cauliflower. Yes, the meat and cheese selections here are superb, but I'm always blown away with how great the cauliflower are.

Now let's talk about the drinks. TRC has really mastered small batch draft cocktails. If you are looking for a great happy hour, check them out. At the dinner I tried the Vieux Carre, a hand drawn cocktail named for and inspired by New Orleans' French Quarter. It's a spirit-forward blending rye, cognac, benedictine, aromatic wine and house made bitters. If you like rye whiskey and cocktails that are not too sweet, you will really like this cocktail. The 5 Parts with Two James is a delightful gin cocktail based around the Detroit Distilled gin and grapefruit. You also can't go wrong with TRC's standby, the hand pulled Old Fashioned or their newer Ill Fashioned.

On the drink front, it's also worth noting that TRC has a small, but well curated selection of wines. Ben Eberlein, is TRC's wine guy and he has put together a selection of a dozen wines: 6 red and 6 white. In keeping with the theme of American food, all the wines are from the US save for the sparkling selection a cava from Spain. Now, I don't have the most refined wine pallet, but I think TRC has really done a good job striking a balance of having wines that are approachable for the casual drinker, as well as some exciting wines to entice the more hardcore vinophiles. I especially enjoyed the Corvidae Ravenna Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington. It's a delicious, semi-dry Riesling that the wine bloggers really liked. I also liked it because I thought it was clever that Ben tried to incorporate raven themed wines into TRC's menu; Corvidae is the raven and crow family.

Gentle Readers, I think The Ravens Clubs current menu is awesome and you should really check it out. But you don't have to take my word for it. Here are the articles from the other folks who were at the dinner that night:

Meg.Goes.Nom.Nom--The Ravens Club Blogger Dinner

Food and Wine Hedonist--Ann Arbor Eats: The Ravens Club

The Winegetter--An evening at the Ravens Club

Eater--Chef Frank Fejeran Helps The Ravens Club Realize Its Potential

Clover Eats--Visions and Philosophy at The Ravens Club

Beyond having their own unique prospectives on the menu, these folks also have much nice pictures than I do. You should check it out.