The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Detroit Eats Part 1: Selden Standard

A couple of months ago, Boom Boom and I spent the night in downtown Detroit to celebrate my birthday.   I know, I know – not exactly the most romantic place.   The first choice was Toronto, but nearby Buffalo just got socked with 5 feet of snow.  So even if Toronto only got a fraction of that amount, it would’ve made for suckish drive.   Chicago was a close second, but Boom Boom just got back from there the day before.

Although we’re only 45 minutes away, I don’t go to Detroit that often.  Outside of a couple concerts, the last time I spent any time in the city was February.   Of 2012.   Back then, I wrote this about Detroit:

This is a particularly tough post for me to write because I expect it will piss off a lot of people – especially people I know who’ve spent their whole lives here.   So I might as well just let it loose – Detroit’s a shithole.   Worse than you can ever imagine.  I ’d say it’s a lot like Beirut, but I think I’d be doing Beirut a disservice.

So it’s been a couple years.  Have things changed?

A little.   There are more and more younger people moving into Detroit – even non-hipsters.  Shinola is making gorgeous watches, bikes, and leather goods there.  And quite a few new restaurants have sprouted up.

Selden Standard is one of them, having opened two weeks before we went there.  They describe the food as rustic, farm-to-table, cooked in a wood-fired oven and served as small plates.   I personally am soooo done with rustic farm-to-table, but I vowed to keep an open mind.

Selden Jessi

Jessi Sunset: Tequila, Cointreau, ginger, lime, Cherry Heering

 

It’s driven by Executive Chef Andy Hollyday, who until recently held the same position at Michael Symon’s Roast.   I have not been to Roast, but have heard excellent things about it.  I’d still like to check Roast out, but it seems a little “polished” or “corporate” to me – celebrity chef, housed in the Westin.   So I was curious to see how a bright young chef like Hollyday would do in a more independent setting.

Speaking of setting, it certainly didn’t look like a rustic farm-to-table place –

Their picture, not mine.

Their picture, not mine.

 

The décor was as simple as could be – black walls, bare bulbs, subway tiles, and unfinished planks on the ceiling.  It’s odd, the simplicity of the surroundings is also very striking and feels upscale.

 

What we ate

Selden Caesar

Kale Caesar – with crispy chicken skin, lemon, sourdough crouton

 

 

Selden Tuna

Tuna Crudo – with blood orange, radish, lemon oil

 

 

Selden Squash flatbread

Squash Flatbread – Roasted squash, mushroom, mozzarella

 

 

Selden Octopus

Charred Octopus – with fennel, citrus, olive, saffron

 

 

Selden Shrimpi

Shrimp a la Plancha – with grits, chow chow

 

 

Selden Agnolotti

Celery Root Agnolotti –short rib ragu, mushroom conserva

 

 

 

Everything was absolutely delicious, well-balanced, and completely devoid of frivolous ingredients.   Everything had a purpose and nothing was lost.   The Caesar had me asking, over and over, “Why aren’t more restaurants including chicken skin?!?!”   The short rib ragu was luscious.   The juxtaposition of the octopus and shaved fennel was mesmerizing.   Unbelievably, the best of the bunch was the flatbread.  Yes, you read that right.   My unapologetically meat-leaning palate was tamed by a vegetarian flatbread.

 

What we Drank

Selden Canavese

 

I’m usually pretty good with choosing one wine that will go with different kinds of food.  The problem was that we chose six very diverse dishes.  The simple solution would’ve been to get two different bottles, but it was just us two and one of us had to drive.

Our waiter recommended the La Torrazza Canavese Rosso, from northern Italy near France.  It’s a lighter wine made from Nebbiolo and Barbera grapes.  The nose was floral and smoky, and the palate had a lot of fresh berries and earth.  It was light and acidic enough for the tuna and flatbread, yet paired well to the short rib.  I really think that it would’ve stood up to heavier, grilled meats as well.

 

So is Detroit back?

I’m going to talk about that a little more in Part 2.  For now, my answer to that question is a resounding “WHO CARES?”

Selden Standard was so good that I thought I was in Toronto or Chicago.
 
 

Selden Standard on Urbanspoon

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

14 comments on “Detroit Eats Part 1: Selden Standard

  1. Max D.
    January 13, 2015

    Holy coincidence, Batman! A colleague of mine told me about this place earlier today, before I read this. We agreed to go, so it’s good to know it has the FWH seal of approval. He spoke fondly of a porchetta sandwich, but I didn’t see it in their lunch menu (it’ll be a manly lunch date for us).

    We went to roast last year and were suitably satisfied. Without reservations, we decided to show up at opening time, which was the same brilliant idea a hundred other people seemed to have. The food and wine were excellent, but we had to sit in a tight corner at the bar.

    Also hit La Feria last month. Have you been? It’s on Cass. My quick review? If I worked at Wayne State, I’d go a couple of times a month. But I work twenty minutes away, and there are too many good restaurants between work and La Feria.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 13, 2015

      No, never even heard of it. Just peeked at the menu and it looks like good. I really have to be in the mood for tapas though.

  2. A2sicilian
    January 13, 2015

    Sounds super yummy.

  3. pegoleg
    January 14, 2015

    I was going to say the squash flatbread looked disgusting. Goes to show – never tell a book by its cover.

    I am a total, total wine idiot. At this late stage of life, I’ve finally switched from sweet whites to red. Can you recommend a good, basic red, not too dry (maybe a bit fruity) and under $10?

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 14, 2015

      Hmmm. There are some grape and region combos to look that are good values. The examples i give are big names that im pretty sure are in range. If not there are many others producers available. Off top of my head – spanish garnachas like Volver and Garnacha de Fuego. Many reds from Chile. Penfolds Shiraz from Australia is good. Domestically, chateau st michelle from washington st, but not sure what price point is. Cline Zinfandel from Cali. Merlots are going to be a good bet too. Id stay away from Pinot Noir as theyre still inflated. Youll need to spend closer to 20 to get a decent one. Hope this helps! I want a full report back!!

  4. the winegetter
    January 15, 2015

    Cool, was looking for a place to go to for Nina’s birthday in early March, and looked at Roast as well. But this really looks more unique. Nice!!

  5. thewineraconteur
    January 19, 2015

    Welcome to Detroit, and I am glad that you had a memorable evening. There are plenty of hidden gems, as there are everywhere. Of course even after a great dinner downtown, I always try to sneak over to Lafayette for a quick loose-burger coney. LOL

  6. shelveenstra
    January 22, 2015

    yummy! have you ever checked out Cliff Bell’s? Great little jazz venue and restaurant. I heard Carl Craig there (amazing!) and on another visit had charred brussels sprouts that I still think about fondly.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 22, 2015

      Hey Shel, no i havent. I know i should check it out, but i really dislike jazz… But good sprouts might be temptib enough

  7. Pingback: Detroit Eats Part 2: Brooklyn Street Local | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  8. cocottrell
    February 23, 2015

    I went to Selden Standard for a friend’s birthday celebration recently and loved it. I was able to eat vegan with no problem. Got the veggie carpaccio sans parmesan, the roasted cauliflower, and celery and pear sherbet. All great.

  9. cocottrell
    February 23, 2015

    Also, then I met one of the cooks through tinder, went on a date and talked shop. Sounds like a fun gig.

  10. Pingback: Ann Arbor Restaurant Scene Part 2: When Prosperity Fails Us | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  11. Pingback: Detroit Eats: Wright and Company | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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