Esther Allweiss Ingber shares her favorite dishes at Adachi.

By Esther Allweiss Ingber, Contributing Writer

Photos via Adachi’s Facebook

My friend Dave took me to a wonderful Japanese restaurant, new to both of us, for my belated birthday lunch.

Adachi by Michael Schlow is the official name of the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur’s first Michigan-based restaurant. It provides a new purpose for the iconic Ford-Peabody Mansion on South Old Woodward Avenue at Brown Street. A parking structure is conveniently located around the corner from the nearby Birmingham 8 movie theater.

Schlow Restaurant Group offers a variety of global cuisine at eateries operating in New England, the Washington, D.C., area and Los Angeles. And now Birmingham. Working alongside local developers Ken Koza and Clint Mansour, Schlow opened Adachi to the public on Aug. 18, 2018.

Named in part for Adachi Museum of Art in Japan, Schlow’s restaurant-bar maintains required historical aspects of the 1878 house, including its original exterior paint colors. Inside is a stylishly modern and comfortable space for up to 65. The light-filled, Asian-influenced décor features carved wooden doors and pink cherry blossom trees on ceiling wallpaper. A striking mural of a geisha is at the sushi bar. A vibrant blue fabric covers chairs, bar stools and two curved booths.

Executive Chef Lloyd Roberts, a veteran of Nobu Budapest, developed Adachi’s nouveau-Japanese menu along with Schlow. Some of the sections are Adachi Maki Rolls, Yakitori and Vegetables, Salads and Tofu. The Large Plates list includes Prime Koji Steak, Duck Meatballs, Spiced Shrimp and Seabass. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, Dave and I took cues on what to order for lunch from Detroit native David Kraus, Adachi’s experienced general manager.

Dave had one delectable piece of flattened and scored Mushroom with Lime and Truffle Salt, served over rice. It was one of four “Today’s Vegetarian Sushi” choices. “Today’s Fresh Fish” lists various nigiri sushi, thin slices of red snapper or other raw fish, atop a mound of vinegary rice.

Choosing among the “Small Plates,” I mixed up the separate sections that comprise Cucumber & Kani Crab Salad with Radish, Wakame & Sesame. Very nice, but my King Ora Salmon with Soy, Ginger and Kizami Wasabi was out of this world. Kraus highly recommended this firm and flavorful salmon sourced from Australia. It’s one of three “Adachi Signature Sashimi.” The others are Tuna with Serrano Chiles, Cilantro and Wafu, and Yellowtail with Uni and Miracle Sauce.

Dave gave me a taste of his Grilled Eggplant with Miso Dare and Crushed Peanuts, omitting the fish flakes garnish. This Small Plates-listed dish is a wow. I’d order it myself. More popular items include Rock Shrimp Tempura with Yuzu Chili Aioli and Kobe Slider “Umami Flavors.”

We also shared a mushroom avocado roll and for dessert, Molten Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice cream.

A full bar complements the exquisite cuisine, including wine, cocktails, and Japanese whiskey, sake and beer. Happy Hour, featuring a limited menu and drink discounts, runs 2:30-5 p.m. weekdays.

355 S. Old Woodward
Birmingham, MI 48009
Phone: (248) 540-5900
3½ out of 4 stars