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“Missing the mark”
Review of Gastronomy - CLOSED

Gastronomy
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Lahser and Northwestern Highway
Description: Gastronomy - A Modern American Bistro is modern in every sense of the word, from cuisine and culinary technique to ambiance and service. The principal foundation of the restaurant is that it embodies the definition of Gastronomy, meaning the art or science of good eating. The culinary philosophy is that of a true scratch kitchen, meaning everything is produced in house. Using the term "American" not only signifies the multicultural influences over the menu but the caveat that nearly every item in the kitchen, and wines on the list, will come from American soil. The focus in the bar is equally committed to scratch production, and our mixologist team is dedicated to the art of hand made craft cocktails. Our culinary brigade embraces the art of food with the goal of transforming the culinary scene of Detroit as we know it.
Reviewed November 14, 2013

If this were a Twitter review, it would read, "need to find the right balance." Never have I dined at a restaurant that had all the trappings of fine dining -- and missed the mark across the board.

Gastronomy clearly has aspiration. That it offers a degustation menu suggests that it holds the creativity of its chef in high regard. That it offers some unusual dishes -- my oxtail ravioli, for example -- points to its desire to entice the adventurous and discerning patron. That the room is quite large and attractive with predominatly large tables and spacious seatings reflects its assumption that this will be a dining destination for special occasions.

Aspiration . . . meet reality.

Gastronomy's location -- a back entrance in one of the many indistinguishable office buildings in Southfield -- will make it very difficult to emerge as a dining destination. Once the work day ends, the population in those Towne Square office buildings dwindles to nothing. On my Wednesday evening visit, there was only one occupied table in the restaurant. Of course, that did mean that the empty parking lot provided ample parking!

My dining companion and I were professionally greeted as we entered Gastronomy and were promptly seated. At first, we were pleased with the enthusiasm shown by our waitress who was eager to review the menu. And we initially dismissed her citations of their "signature" dishes and "what we are known for" suggestions as a bit of misplaced marketing. (Gastronomy has only been open a year and has had far too little time -- and far too few patrons -- to make claims about what they are acclaimed for.) After receiving our order, however, attentiveness crossed over to intrusiveness as our waitress not only returned too often to our table but at two points inserted herself in our conversations, one time totally misunderstanding what our conversation was about. The manager also twice visited the table. As did the greeter. As did another waitress who was unaware that we ordered with the first waitress. Granted, working in an empty restaurant can't be fun -- but professional restraint still must be the order of the day.

Speaking of the order . . .

No complaints about the wine list: extensive, diverse, and generally right priced at each price/quality point. Our wine selection (a syrah and a pinot) was fine.

For starters, my friend ordered the dill potato soup and I the walleye chowder (the "what we are known for" soup) and both were disappointing. The dill completely overwhelmed the potato soup and the bacon dominated the chowder. Soups require a careful balance of ingredients to create subtle taste compliments and contrasts and that balance was badly skewed in our selections.

For our entrees, I ordered the aforementioned oxtail ravioli and was quite pleased. The oxtail filling was tender, bold and flavorful; the ravioli casing was appropriately textured (al dente); and the watercress-pepper "salad" (actually a small sprinkling of watercress on top of the ravioli; certainly not a salad) added a smart tartness to the overall sweetness of the dish (borne of the blended almond milk and pomegranate gastrique.) My friend was not nearly as pleased with her paella which oversampled the chorizo and underserved the shellfish, diminishing the usual complexities of good paella to the taste of the chorizo. Again, a balance not properly struck. That said, building a menu around changing ethnic cuisines is a commendable aspiration. But quite a challenge for a top chef wannabe.

Frankly, I do hope reality catches up with aspiration. There aren't many (any?) restaurants in the area that attempt dishes and cuisines as creative as Gastronomy. But my experience suggests that paring back the menu (and the chef's ego, possibly) to concentrate on what truly is done well will better serve Gastronomy in its infancy.

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3  Thank bigcitydiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (36)
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4 - 8 of 36 reviews

Reviewed October 12, 2013

One my second visit to Gastronomy, we tried the 8-course degustation menu. Once again, I was not disappointed. We were presented with eight impeccably-prepared and presented dishes, plus a unique amuse-bouche. While there were a couple of repeats from my previous visit (such as the walleye chowder), there were quite a few surprises like the chicken three ways. Service is top notch, as usual. Not cheap, but definitely worth it for a special occasion.

Thank Mooneydriver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

My husband and I live in the area. We received an advertisement in the mail with a sampling of their menu a while back and I've been wanting to check them out for a while. We went in dressed very casaully and just requested to sit at the bar. The bartender, Steve, was an absolute delight. My DH originally wanted to order his usual, Crown, but the bartender suggested he try another Whiskey made in Three Rivers, MI called Journeyman - he loved it and will be seeking to find a retailer soon to pick up his own bottle. We also were able to try a few other samples such as bacon vodka and a very nice dessert wine later. There was another patron at the bar who was in the midst of his tasting menu - course three of eight I believe. Steve explained what a degustation menu was and I was very intrigued. We both ordered the 6 course option. We're average people (not big foodies), but this was some of the best food we've put in our mouths! We couldn't come up with favorite off the bat, but after we talked at home, we really did both very much enjoy the walleye chowder that came on a campfire type caldron. The tastes, the smells, the whole expereince - Loved it! Overall it was about a 3 hour experience, but it really didn't feel that long. DH got to watch both the Michigan/UConn game and the extra innings Tiger game so that probably helped. I highly recommend this restaurant and really do hope it can withstand this economy as there aren't many options in Southfield for "real" food.

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Thank Flummery_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

Very creative menu. Delicious food. I loved this place. Our server, Lauren, was amazing. We liked her so much, we wanted her to join us for dinner. The sad truth of it is that she probably could have. It was a Friday night and I think there were only four other tables occupied. I really hope Gastronomy makes it. It's in a hard-to-find location, which may be their demise. We will definitely go back.

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Thank SingaporeSids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

The menu is enticing. We ordered a bunch of small plates, and shared almost all of them. Some of the combinations of ingredients work; others don't. For us, the unsuccessful dishes outnumbered successful ones, so we probably won't return. Others may have a different experience. (The preparation was fine, but the conception wasn't always inspired.) When we went, the room was nearly empty, so service was attentive. The decor of the room is striking, but doesn't really fit the aesthetics of the food.

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Thank TokyoVisitor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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