You’ll check your winter woes at the door entering tranquil Gastronomy, A Modern American Bistro, on the ground floor of Southfield’s 17-story Baker Tilly Building. Yes, finding the place is a little tricky, even with the high-rise’s name clearly marked on top. I took 11 Mile Road and turned on Corporate Drive, east of Lahser. Others drive through the sprawling Towne Center complex off Evergreen. Just keep looking up!
Gastronomy has a fresh, green setting. Walls, pendant lights and patterned carpeting and upholstery all feature that color. The cherrywood chairs and tables provide contrast. I liked the tiny white lights on ceiling-hugging branch fixtures and giant food murals by David Lamarand Photography. They’re opposite the wall with wood-framed windows. The dining room, banquet space and Gastro Bar accommodate up to 250 guests.
“Green” also reflects the culinary direction of Gastronomy’s crack cooking team, anchored by Jonathon Aceves and Brandon Zarb, chefs de cuisine; Shannon Kellett, garde manger chef; and Emily Davis, executive pastry chef. They’ve all been on staff and influencing the menu since the Epicurean Restaurant Group opened Gastronomy in August 2012. Chris Salazar is the bistro’s general manager/sommelier.
Gastronomy takes pride in being a “true scratch kitchen,” serving house-made menu items.
“Food from local suppliers is used as much as possible,” said Brigette Gossett, assistant general manager. “We change the menu as often as needed.”
Adventurous diners might want to try the “degustation menu or chef’s tasting.”
Gastronomy’s culinary brigade will custom-create a proportionately sized dinner menu of six to 16 courses for a table, exploring “the bounty of seasonal flavors present in the kitchen.” The culinary tour is available nightly, but only Friday and Saturday require reservations. Come by 6:30 p.m. for 12-16 courses; otherwise, 8 p.m. is fine.
The beautifully arranged Grassroots entrees feature complex, creative flavors. Grilled Cider-Glazed Wild Salmon, for example, includes warm quinoa, green apple horseradish salad and curvy endive, and Braised Rabbit Pappardelle comes with winter mushrooms, forester sauce, fig, brandy and huckleberry toast.
Among the featured soups, the most popular is Great Lakes Walleye Chowder. It’s very flavorful and tasty, but I wished my serving had included bites of fish.
I had chowder as part of a clever dining concept, the American Lunch Box. The $16 meal includes choices for soup, salad, main dish, side and dessert. Reminiscent of a Japanese Bento Box with its various compartments, all five courses come to table in a wide white dish with depressions to hold each item. It doesn’t work out very well here, though. People tend to eat their soup first, which results in a cooled-off entree. My chicken enchilada in mole sauce had tasty, well-defined flavors, but was stone cold when I tried it; the same held true for my co-diner’s Baker Tilly (313) Grilled Cheese. My suggestion is to serve the soup first, and then bring out the rest of the meal. That’s the Japanese style, and it makes sense.
Pastry chef Davis gets kudos for her delectable Red Velvet Cupcake and crunchy-topped brownie. Complimentary warm naan bread with a version of tzatziki sauce is a nice touch.
Ground Breakers (appetizers) at Gastronomy include Halibut Sashimi, Steak Tartare and Brie Brulee. Non-meat-eaters can dine well here, too. The Cold Kitchen section offers a Compressed Apple Salad of grapes, celery, raisins, blue cheese and walnuts in yogurt dressing. The Contemporary Beet Salad is basically a delicious Greek salad that needed more “candy stripe beets.”
Gastronomy celebrates the ethnic diversity of the United States with specialties from rotating regions of the world. Selections currently representing Northern Europe include Arctic Salt-Cured Duck and two styles of venison.
Open daily except Sunday, Gastronomy carries an extensive selection of wine, including several Michigan vintages. The Pub menu fills in the gap between lunch and dinner. Service is excellent here.
1 Towne Square
Southfield, MI 48076
$$$ 1/2 out of $$$$$