The Motor City once had a bad reputation for high crime rates and a declining population, but today, Detroit has a hidden wine scene that is drawing visitors in for a closer look. Here are a few of our top picks:
Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro Owner Mindy VanHellemont stocks her Birmingham bar with everything from lesser-known wines from Michigan to St.-Émilion, all perfect for sipping with funghi of the day or fresh pasta dishes. For their Sunday Somm SLAM series, diners judge Tallulah’s Director of Liquid Operations, Antoine Przekop, against a guest sommelier in a multicourse wine pairing challenge.
Motor City Wine is part wine bar, part bargain wine shop (all bottles cost $20 or less). Located in downtown Detroit, the casual, red-walled space features wine tastings, Wednesday night jam sessions, live jazz and affordable, by-the-glass pours.
Southfield’s Bacco Ristorante specializes in wines from Italy. Chef-Owner Luciano Del Signore imports not only the Italian wines offered from his parents’ home country (the list includes 700 selections by the bottle and 30 by the glass), but cheeses, too. Lunch and dinner dishes incorporate fresh ingredients from Michigan farms, although the sardines are flown in from Italy.
Try this savory lamb recipe from Chef Don Yamauch!
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Roquefort and Radish
Courtesy of Chef Don Yamauch; MotorCity Casino Hotel; Detroit, MI;
For the lamb:
2 8-bone racks of Australian lamb
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
½ cup olive oil, divided
¼ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (recipe below)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the seasoned bread crumbs:
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, whole
¼ cup cilantro leaves, destemmed
For the Roquefort sauce:
2 cups white wine
4 cups veal stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 ounces Roquefort cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the haricot vert and caramelized radish garnish:
20 red radishes, trimmed and quartered
20 haricots verts, blanched
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Watercress, to garnish
To marinate the lamb:
Remove and discard any excess fat from the lamb. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the lamb, garlic, curry, rosemary and ¼ cup of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to marinate for 24 hours. After the meat marinates, season all sides with salt and pepper.
To make the seasoned bread crumbs:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine bread crumbs, garlic and cilantro, and blend until bread crumbs are fine and the seasonings are well incorporated, about 3 minutes.
To cook the lamb:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix together the hoisin sauce and the Dijon mustard in a small bowl and reserve.
In a medium sauté pan, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat, until smoking. Place the marinated lamb in the pan and sear on all sides.
Remove the lamb from the pan and thoroughly brush with the hoisin and mustard glaze and then coat with the seasoned bread crumbs.
Transfer the coated lamb to a baking tray and continue to cook in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes for rare or 25 minutes for medium rare. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes prior to slicing it.
To prepare the lamb sauce:
While the lamb is baking, in a medium saucepan set over low heat, reduce the white wine until almost completely evaporated. Add the veal stock and reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Whisk in the butter and Roquefort cheese, stirring until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
To prepare the haricot vert and caramelized radish garnish:
In a small sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until smoking. Add the radishes and cook until they start to caramelize. Reduce heat to low, and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Continue to cook over low heat until the radishes are cooked through but still remain textured. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
In a second small sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil and butter over medium heat. Toss in the blanched haricots verts and season with salt and pepper.
Place the haricots verts and radishes in the center of a plate. Arrange slices of the lamb around the vegetables and drizzle with the Roquefort sauce. Top with a small bunch of watercress. Serves 4.