Cheers: eve has a minimal look with maximum flavor

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

With its all-lowercase three-letter title, eve in Ann Arbor has a similar minimalist approach when it comes to decor.

Opened in December in the Bell Tower Hotel at 300 S. Thayer, the look is white on white, with very bright, elegant lighting.

The flavors coming out of chef Eve Aronoff’s kitchen, however, are anything but simple. Inspired by Latin, African and French styles, Aronoff’s menu starts off with shareable options like “inspired nachos” which are wontons topped with slowly cooked black beans, three kinds of cheese, cilantro lime salsa, avocado and crème fraîche. Another cheesey starter is the cazuela; a thick stew of potato, onion and chilies and topped with melted smoked cheese. It’s served with bread and apples to dip into.

Drinks are a priority here, starting with the table water which is infused with a bit of rose water. A 19-page wine list features vino by the glass, wine flights, and bottles that range from $20-$2000 (including an entire page of bottles priced $20-$30).

The 10-item cocktail menu has twists on classics like a tequila old fashioned and a very tart martini made with ginger and lime. The bartenders are cool with making up something off the menu to suit your mood. I asked for a whiskey-based cocktail that was not sweet and was presented with a very appropriate Buffalo Trace bourbon drink with maraschino and an absinthe rinse. It filled the need.

While waiting for your drinks, the servers supply diners with some julienned vegetables with dip infused with worldly spices. A small, round loaf of bread is also served as a starter and comes with three discs of souped-up butter in three flavors.

Main courses range from “simple fish” or “simple steak” to more elaborate options like macadamia nut-encrusted salmon that’s served with coconut ginger rice and a big dollop of lemon scented mayo, cilantro lime salsa and seasonal vegetables (it was chopped Brussels sprouts last week).

Aronoff also offers a “feast” for $35 per person. Choose among a whole roasted duck, sliced marinated rib eye, moroccan chicken or piquant tofu feast. Feasts for two come with your choice of one main item and two sides. Decide to feast for four or more diners, and you may pick two main items and four sides, which are listed on the menu as “bounty” dishes and include gingered sweet potato gratin, roasted yams, Moroccan lentil purée and the aforementioned coconut ginger rice.

Reservations are strongly suggested. The restaurant accepts bookings via the Open Table app or by calling (734) 222-0711.

Bid on a piece of Hogan’s restaurant memorabilia

Hogan’s restaurant in Bloomfield Hills closed Sunday after more than 40 years of business. The owners sold the restaurant, which was formerly a Howard Johnson, and it will be leveled.

Everything inside Hogan’s — furnishings, kitchen equipment, bar fixtures, etc. — will be auctioned off. A pre-auction inspection is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 10, and the actual online auction is 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Feb. 11. Items can be picked up 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 12. More info can be found at Biddergy.com or by calling (866) 260-1611.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

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Food and beverage events

North American Belgian Beer Festival at Ashley’s Westland: This is the largest beer festival in the United States that features exclusively Belgian beers. Feb. 11-21. $35 and up. 7525 N. Wayne, Westland. (734) 525-1667.

Les Deux Dachshunds dinner at Yemans Street: A five-course, French-inspired dinner from Les Deux Dachshunds pop-up supper club. 7 p.m. Feb. 13. $75. 2995 Yemans, Hamtramck. yemansstreet.com.

Vegan Feast at Bottle Tasting Room: Amber Poupore, owner of Royal Oak’s Cacao Tree, presents a vegan dinner with wine pairings. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 15. $40. 29932 Woodward, Royal Oak. (248) 850-7175.

Hockeytown BrewHaHa and Frozen Fowling Fest at Joe Louis Arena: Craft beer, seasonal small plates and fowling, a sport that is a mix of football and bowling. 6-10 p.m. Feb. 19. $47.50. 19 Steve Yzerman Drive, Detroit. (800) 745-3000 or DetroitRedWings.com/BrewHaHa.

Mac N’ Brews and Comfort Food at Royal Oak Farmers Market: You can’t go wrong with pasta drenched in cheese. Warm, gooey comfort food from more than 20 restaurants (both savory and sweet) will be available for sampling, plus dozens of craft beers. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25. $40-$65. 316 E. 11 Mile, Royal Oak. macnbrews.com.

Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ball Park: More than 100 Michigan breweries will be represented at this annual celebration of our state’s craft beer industry. The festival is expected to sell out. 3-7 p.m. Feb. 26 and 1-6 p.m. Feb. 27. $45-$50. A transportation package is available through motorcitybrewtours.com. 4500 West River Dr. NE, Comstock Park, Grand Rapids. mibeer.com.

Chene Street Grocers fundraiser at Antietam: To raise funds for a new “hyper-local” produce and bulk good store in Eastern Market, a three-course meal with craft cocktail is being held at fine dining destination Antietam. Seatings at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28. $60. 1428 Gratiot, Detroit. Reserve at chenestreetgrocers.com.

Melody Baetens