The dream of a restaurant that would be considered as the leading operation or flagship restaurant of his mini chain … Willow Tree eateries in Saginaw and West Branch … was never realized by Tony Gojcaj with his passing before it opened in February this year.

When talented co-owner wife, Ophilia Gojcaj, immediately took over the reins of their newest restaurant, Chef’s Table 12, at the former site of the closed upscale Tribute on 12 Mile, just west of Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, it was with added impetus to make it another culinary favorite of theirs … Along with its glittering atmosphere and fine selective menu of upscale dining plus prices not as high as those of the previous Tribute, Chef’s Table 12 has made certain to include the know-how of highly experienced dining personnel.

Ophilia Gojcaj
There may have been some thought among a few people that Executive Chefs Takashi Yagahashi and Don Yamaguchi and General Manager Mickey Bakst at the previous Tribute might have worn shoes too large to be filled … But recent visits there by localites and prominent personalities have found much to dispel this thinking … The independent Chef’s Table 12 kitchen personnel is very capably manned by Executive Chef Karim Habra who did his food mastery in Germany working with a prestigious Michelin three-star executive chef … And his present kitchen partner in dining goodness at Chef’s Table 12 is Chef Stephen Jalbert, who toiled with prominence at California’s magnificent French Laundry restaurant and the fine Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn … Two very high-powered stints indeed!

Now only open for dinner 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m., Chef’s Table 12 may soon open for lunch as well.

The elegant surroundings of colorful chandeliers in the soft-looking stylish 100-person seating main dining room with its high tufted booths and comfortable tables … downstairs kitchen level
with a chef’s table for 12, six-stool bar in the restaurant’s entrance foyer, 12 in lounge, etc. … bring out a highly delightful class of much sophistication.

Coupled with the presence of a striking and large wine list of exquisite selections in its own bill of fare, the ample food menu includes excellent culinary presentations that deliciously feature black tiger prawns with a lemon sweet and sour sauce side, mushroom bisque with a so-very-good savory delight, innovative salads, top-quality South African lobster tail with a citrus beurre monte, dissected at the table if you choose, 8-ounce filet, Colorado lamb chops, dry-aged New York strip, excellent fish selections, etc. … Dishes that at Chef’s Table 12 thoroughly exemplify the meaning of goodness … Also, the strict adherence to dietary and gluten-free requests … Since food is prepared only when ordered, such wishes among others are easily acknowledged … Even my “Arnold Palmer” was made with fresh lemonade and fresh tea.
In all-around fine dining spirit, it is with much meaningful appraisal that the new Chef’s Table 12 is without question a thoroughly delightful comeback to a restaurant that will and already has commanded much culinary appeal.

QUESTION & ANSWER DEPT. … “When is the Caucus Club going to open again?” … Millicent Foreman.
(The original Caucus Club owned by Les and Sam Gruber and sold to Mary Belloni has no date to reopen. The current use of the space and Caucus Club name by others is not of the original restaurant or owners.)

REARVIEW MIRROR … On Monroe Avenue, Detroit, yesteryears’ Grecian Gardens was the most expensive of its Greektown eateries … and notorious for Mafia attendances … Liquor in cups were filled in the back room, groups like Billy Rose Trio strolled among the tables … And bumper stickers outside were seen saying, “Support Your Local Police Force — Patronize The Grecian Gardens” … (Not by the Mafia patrons you can be sure!)

DO YOU REMEMBER a favorite restaurant of yesteryears? … Tell me about it in 100 or 150 words or so … They’re part of the column honoring the Jewish News’ and my 75th anniversary at the paper.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE DEPT. … Repeated by request …
The senior citizen drove his new car past the speed limit. Looking into his rearview mirror, he saw a state trooper’s flashing blue light and floored the pedal. Suddenly he thought, “What am I doing? I’m too old for this!”

The trooper walked up to the car, looked at his watch and said, “Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a new reason for speeding, one I’ve never heard before, I’ll let you go.”

The elderly gent paused and replied, “Three years ago, my wife ran off with a state trooper. I thought you were bringing her back.”

“Have a good day, sir,” said the trooper.

CONGRATS … To Elaine Schonberger on her birthday … To Norman Maher on his birthday … To Mark and Lorene Gutman on their 25th anniversary. •


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