The French dip is served with with black angus ribeye, rosemary jus and bread from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, plus fries. (Photos by Jose Juarez / Special to The Detroit New)
Craft work. It means you don’t just go through the motions. You strive to excel at your craft, whether it’s making music, brewing beer or creating a restaurant.
And so Hubert (Hu) Yaro and his business partner and chef, Matt Dalton, call their new restaurant Craft Work. The two-room spot on the first floor of the historic Parkstone Apartments in the West Village neighborhood in Detroit has been handsomely updated without damaging the vintage quality.
Mellow old wood has been polished, from the mirrored backbar to the wall of shelves nicely stocked with books in the smaller bar area. The more spacious dining room boasts a soft, light color scheme on which black-and-white photographs are shown off nicely. The two rooms seat a total of 110, but the feeling is of a much smaller place. Behind the scenes, there’s a completely new kitchen.
The American menu is unpredictable as well as focused, with a choice of just five small plates or appetizers, one soup — it was golden beet with a pretty little garnish of crème fraiche, beet chips and a hint of saffron on one occasion; split pea on another — a few salads and six entrees. That’s it, and it allows the kitchen to work its craft efficiently without becoming bogged down by too many different preparations.
On the appetizer list, stand-outs include crisp little balls of herb-crusted fresh mozzarella, a dish that’s much subtler than it may sound thanks to the finishing touch of tomato jam. Also appealing as starters are smoked trout paté to be spread on little toasts, and housemade sausage and peppers. Not so successful: the warm chickpeas with shallots and lemon oil that is rather drab.
Entrées of grilled trout with lemon and thyme, paired with a surprisingly good sweet corn, delicately fried chicken with braised greens and mashed potatoes, and a vegetarian plate of beets, cauliflower and lentils are notable (although the latter is a little too heavy on the lentil component).
The eye-catcher on the dessert list is an upscale version of the campfire treat s’mores, with rich dark chocolate and meringue as a happy substitute for marshmallows.
The price structure is certainly notable, too. Nothing on the list reaches $20, and the gentle pricing also extends to beverages from espresso and cappuccino to wines and whiskies. The labels are carefully chosen, too, pretty much all top-shelf. At this point, the wines on a short list are from California, Oregon and Michigan, but it will probably be expanded.
Craft Work turns out to be an apt title for this attractive new spot.
8047 Agnes, Detroit
Rating: 3 stars (out of 4)
Hours: Dinner 4-midnight Mon.-Sat. (Sunday brunch will be added at a later date)
Prices: Appetizers $4-$12, soups and salads $6-$12, entrees $9-$19,
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar,
all-American wine list
Noise level: Moderate,
with well-chosen jazz
in the background
Parking: Small lot in rear, street or Parkstone Garage