With a name like Otus Supply, it’s obvious that a restaurant is not going to be conventional. And the big Ferndale spot that was unveiled in late December certainly isn’t.
Named for a genus of owl, it is a one-of-a-kind place in an impressive free-standing building that includes a separate space — the Parliament Room — dedicated to live music and a series of dining areas for its highly distinctive menu.
About that menu: When was the last time you saw a dish featuring wild boar, or a combination of blueberries and pistachios as an accompaniment to beets, or a pizza topped with pickled cabbage?
And that’s the kind of creativity shown by chef Myles McVay, who heads the active, from-scratch kitchen visible from four prime seats in the Parliament Room pulled up to a window overlooking the action. Seats by reservation, by the way.
Not everyone wants to be that close to the flames, and other seating arrangements vary from high-topped tables down the center of the restaurant seating six and sometimes used as communal tables, to cozy tables for two tucked against the wall or into nooks and crannies in an almost overwhelming setting with decorative effects including dusky murals, metallic wall-covering, leather and reclaimed wood, all in murky tones that set the midnight mood.
The menu, presented on a clipboard, has just a handful of choices. The beverage menu, on the other hand, showcases a long list of craft cocktails and beers, as well as such extras as house-made ginger beer and root beer — both very good, by the way.
As for the food, many dishes are sharable, and they range from beef tartare made with Wagyu beef and served with some of the house sourdough bread, to market-priced oysters and duck sausage. The rustic bread, with house-made butter to accompany it, is also available as an a la carte option, and it is very much worth ordering.
Bone marrow, one of the small plates, includes onion marmalade and dried apple tucked inside the bone, to be spread on the rustic bread.
The five pizza varieties are as distinctive as the rest of the menu, and about as close as the kitchen comes to a traditional pizza is the “Ourgherita,” a takeoff on the familiar Margherita.
A big plus, given the offbeat menu, is the well-trained service staff working ensemble fashion and offering help in deciphering the unusual menu.
The owl theme is carried out in artworks throughout the space, which is filled with high ceilings and many windows. The building was under construction for more than a year by partners Thom Bloom and Scott Myrick. As the weather warms up, the garage door window in one dining room will roll up for al fresco dining.
There’s no halfway about Otus Supply. You’ll either appreciate its originality or cross it off your list after one visit.
345 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale
Call: (248) 291-6160
Hours: Dinner only 5-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., bar later
Prices: Pizzas $12-$14, small plates $5-$15, full plates $16-$26
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: High
Parking: Small attached lot and street
Wheelchair access: No barriers
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★— good ★★1/2 — very good ★★★— excellent ★★★★— outstanding