19 July 2016
I had a very, very long day in the Detroit area that began at 6am so I was knackered when I got back to my hotel. When I was doing research for Detroit I was looking for places in downtown where I’m based for 2 days, and the one place that really stood out was Republic.
I walked there on a warm sunny late afternoon hoping for a better meal than last night’s mess at Roast. The place was not too busy yet as it was early, though a few folks were obviously having a quick one before heading to the Tigers game that starts just after 7pm.
I parked myself at the bar as it was nice and spacey and began to enjoy the evening. I went with mostly cocktails all night, knowing the beverage programme here is excellent — and indeed it was all night. Had wonderful drinks service throughout the night. But I was hungry having not eaten all day, so looking very forward to the food.
I placed my order from the day’s menu, just 2 smaller plates, and then see where we go. I chilled with another cocktail when the first showed up, and I love this…
Yeah, it’s a pun, cuz it’s heart. Excellent quality offal, lovely stuff. Not quite as perfect as at Black Market in Indianapolis, but it’s excellent. What a nice start, though I’m also getting a sense of the plate sizes. The second of the small dishes arrived soon after.
Nice fried smelts, lovely. I love eating these small fish fried like this, I could have snacked on this all night. Done in a tempura way, these were flavourful enough to not need any sauce. Excellent! Loving this dinner so far.
I could eat a bit more but was wary at the size of the bigger items, but I could always take it with me, so… I ordered and had another cocktail and chilled out… I really like this place, a fabulous environment, awesome bar, even more awesome bar staff.
After a bit more chatting with the bar staff and enjoying more of their concoctions the larger dish arrived, the guinea fowl.
Hmmm, this was definitely not as good as the previous dishes. The bird was covered in a sticky sweet sauce that wasn’t necessary, and frankly the bird way undercooked — it was bleeding very badly. And worse, the Spätzle under the bird were hard and cold, like it was left for hours. This was a big kitchen fail, totally unexpected after the previously excellent stuff. What a shame!
Unfortunately that marked the turn of the evening, as then things became less tasty and less fun. The bar got busier and messier, and some annoying people were there drinking by that hour so I took my leave and wandered the few blocks back to my hotel.
Overall Republic was really good at first, but it started to go downhill quickly. I don’t remember such a sharp change in a dining experience in ages, but it was unexpected and unfortunate. If everything stuck like the first half this would have been awesome. Maybe the latter bits were anomolies, but that’s the breaks I guess.
1942 Grand River Avenue