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Dining review: Shewolf brings impressive take on Italian cuisine to Detroit

Molly Abraham
Special to The Detroit News

    Detroit’s center from, Downtown to Midtown, has seen a number of impressive new restaurant openings lately, from Prime + Proper,  Lumen and Empire Kitchen to the meatless coney island, Chili Mustard Onions. Now there’s another contender, Shewolf.

The menu offers dishes from "The Composition of Roman Pasta" which includes this "Amatriciana" of tonnarelli, white wine, organic San Marzano tomatoes and guanciale. 

Executive Chef / Owner Anthony Lombardo sends artful plates of pasta, entrees of grilled pork shoulder and dishes like fig toast and grappa cured Arctic Char to diners in his new restaurant called "Shewolf" in Detroit, Michigan on September 29, 2018. The popular eatery on Selden Street in the Cass Corridor boasts a glass enclosed pasta-making room and an outdoor patio.  (Brandy Baker / Special to the Detroit News)

   On  the first floor of a small building on Selden just west of Cass, it’s gotten a lot of attention already, not just for its name, which harks back to the origins of Rome, but with the impressive resume of chef/proprietor Anthony Lombardo, who did his research at the source in Italy.

   Another Italian restaurant, you might ask? For one thing,  this one offers an array of pastas made with house-milled flour, and in addition, such locally unfamiliar dishes as roasted Mediterranean sea bass presented head and all, accompanied by a superior wine list that is predominately Italian and includes numerous champagnes, even in magnums. I can only conclude that Shewolf is expecting many celebrations.

   There’s also a $65 steak. Expensive? Yes.

   The setting is contemporary and inviting, centered around an open kitchen that stretches across the back wall, with windows looking out on the covered patio and street scene in front. It was designed by Ron Rea. 

Chef de Cuisine Mark Camaj, left, and Executive Chef / Owner Anthony Lombardo are the force behind the Roman-inspired food at Shewolf, a popular new restaurant in Detroit's Cass Corridor.

   The menu is a la carte, but designed to encourage the ordering of three courses: appetizer, pasta and entrée and all are listed in Italian with English descriptions. The only exception to that rule is the soup. It’s currently Italian Divorce Soup, a spicy take-off on Italian Wedding Soup, pork meatballs and egg in broth.

  Pasta servings are portioned to be side dishes rather than mains. They include a delicious Amatriciana with tomatoes and cured pork jowl, and it was my favorite of two pasta dishes sampled. The other was caio e pepe, literally pecorino cheese and pepper, classically simple and satisfying. The freshly made durum and egg pasta has more heft than dried pasta.

  Entrees of lamb ribs and grilled scallops were not as impressive as the whole roasted sea bass, tender and flaky and easily pulled from the bone.

  Service is very knowledgeable and helpful and shows the extensive training the staff received before Lombardo unveiled the restaurant a few months ago.

   Shewolf is a very professional production.

  abraham67@comcast.net

 

Shewolf

438 Selden, Detroit

(313) 315-3992

Rating: 3 stars

Hours: 5-11 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 5-midnight Fri Sat., 4-10 p.m. Sun.

Prices:  Appetizers $6-$42, pastas $16-$26, entrees $26-$65, salads $9, desserts $9-$13.

Credit cards: All major

Liquor: Full bar and extensive wine list

Noise level: Moderate to high

Parking: Street and unattended adjacent lot

Wheelchair access: No barriers

What the ratings mean

★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good

★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding