Over the last few months while I poured all of my time and various fluids into the making of (the soon to be epic) Scre4m, Girlie has been doing a kickass job with the blog. She's kept the corners swept and a steady supply of fresh words fluffed and primped for your reading pleasure.
But now, as God intended, I am again an unemployed house husband while the missus is out in the rat race earning the benjamins to keep me in the style to which I have become accustomed.
Unfortunately for you that means you'll be subjected to more of my crass food/travel/awesome yammerings as I attempt to pick up the slack and carry on the good show. But if you just relax and breathe into it you may enjoy it all the same.
Let's not delay the inevitable - come with me if you will on a little time warp back to merry ol' Michigan.
In between our crazy travel and work schedules, we had been trying to check out what was happening in the local restaurant scene. I was somewhat shocked and unduly excited to find out that Brian Polcyn, the meat magician who co-authored Charcuterie with the epic Michael Ruhlman, had an eatin' establishment less than an hour away from our place. Mandatory roadtrip.
With the innocuous name of Forest Grill I wasn't really sure what to expect from the menu other than heaps of cured animal parts. Speaking of which I'll take this opportunity to apologize for the impious if accurate title. It's not like the Saudis were gonna let me into Mecca anyway. Sigh.
Dressed and combed we piled into the Fit one festive Saturday and headed northeast. We made our way to the little village of Birmingham, Michigan that at first blush had a slick, nouveau riche, blandly antiseptic vibe. While I'm sure it has lots of history, it seemed to have been freshly assembled.
Our first glimpse of Forest Grill didn't help matters. The restaurant occupies the back lower section of a new mixed use development. When we pulled up, I wouldn't have been surprised to walk into a successful title company or perhaps a nice opthomology appointment.
The place was fairly busy, bustling with a decidedly older crowd that sported a touch of dusty formality.
We were early so we (naturally) headed to the bar. The cocktail list was uninspiring so Girlie ordered a pastis. The bartender carefully explained that she had no idea what that was. With a quick side shuffle Rachel shunted to Lillet. Which turned out to be Lillet Rouge but that was ok because my Cointreau turned out to be Cointreau Noir. At least they have a theme.
While I didn't love the bar I was still excited about the food. First order of bizness- charcuterie please! The waiter arrived with a lovely spread of coppa, lomo (possibly lonza but the two are so damn similar I don't know the difference) and guanciale. They were perfect. Each slice was interestingly and subtly seasoned while still showing off deep pork flavor. Plus they did that thing where if you hold a piece up to the light it looks like a stained glass window. I love that.
We had confirmed with the waiter that the prosciutto was most definitely on the charcuterie plate. When he realized it in fact was not, he awesomely brought us out a nice little side plate of it. Prosciutto! Polcyn's version is lovely- it's short aged and has great fat layers which combine to make it particularly smooth and mouth melting. It has an appealing rosy tinge and a rich savory finish.
While not strictly neccessary, the accoutrements of cornichons, celeriac and remoulade salad and roasted heirloom beets were all quite nice and certainly didn't detract from the meatfest.
Following that top-notch appetizer we had white corn agnolotti with black truffles and corn foam. Despite being known for their more carnivorous dealings, Forest Grill also excels on the vegetable front. This dish was just sick. Each little pasta packet burst with mouth coating, sweet and salty, slightly grassy velvety filling. The truffle added a bit of funk and the foam a little bit of tickle.
Best dish of the night after the jump.