Friday, April 24, 2015

Restaurant Review: Cafe Muse

It's Spring and it's Delightful

I recently saw a post from Cafe Muse on Facebook announcing their new Spring Menu. Since we visited a couple of weeks ago, I think we had a preview of some of these dishes before they were officially announced. Cafe Muse has made a commitment to local grown which means seasonal offerings that vary. There are some staples to their menu but there are always new twists. For instance you may always find a spare rib dish but the way it is prepared, with the sides and seasonings, as well as sauces, will change. A risotto is consistently features as well, along with a seafood dish and typically a duck entree.

Cafe Muse will always have some staples that are just not going to change and that's a good thing too. One of those staples is their grilled cheese which is pretty famous due to Oprah's friend Gayle recommending it. It features three kinds of cheeses (havarti, fontina and fresh mozzarella) along with a bit of honey and basil. Their bread is a delicious organic bread that may be healthy but don't let that stop you. It's a wonderful sandwich and shouldn't change. I feel the same way about their mushroom bisque that is usually on both lunch and dinner menus.
This is a great restaurant for brunch or lunch but I typically save it for an evening out with just my husband. They have grown over the years with more space but never at the sacrifice of having it be an intimate experience. We sat in the newer of the two rooms which is more sparse and modern, with a bar and a row of tables that allow you to focus on dinner and conversation without much distraction. I would suggest you like who you are going with as you will spend a lot of time together.

I started out with a cocktail. Muse always has a variety of offering to provide choice and since I'm really just a novice when it comes to harder drinks and interesting concoctions, it's always an adventure. On this particular night I chose a Bouldevardier which featured bulliet bourbon, campari, sweet vermouth, and a cherry. It was potent and delicious.

We decided to be even more adventurous with our appetizer. Muse typically has a Mushrooms and Toast available but on this particular outing they had discovered some exotic mushrooms to add to this dish. I believe they were Chanterelle mushrooms that night. They were buttery with a wonderful nutty note, placed on a piece of buttery toast, covered with a hen's egg and garnished with what I believe were radish sprouts. I wasn't sure about eggs and mushrooms but this was a wonderful dish.

One of the items I  like to sample most at restaurants are salads. I won't make a salad at home and when I go to a place like Muse it has all those little extras that I just don't have at home. This one featured kale, goat cheese creme frache, along with roasted red and yellow beets, candied hazelnuts, roasted mustard seeds and cloves of pickled garlic. The dressing was a simple roasted olive oil. I would not have imagined adding things like mustard seed but it was wonderful. I would have liked a little more of the goat cheese as it was on the bottom of the plate and very subtle but that is the thing about Muse. Nothing in pretentious or overdone.

My main entree was the short rib offering for the evening. I have had short ribs there on several occasions because frankly, it's very good. Their short rib is typically boneless and oh so very tender. Often it is paired with a homemade Spaetzle that I lament does not come in a huge overfilled bowl. The Spaetzle on this day was green (and it wasn't St. Patrick's Day) due to some of the ingredients and it was very very good. The dish also featured endaname, Swiss chard, and greens. It was truly delightful.

Cafe Muse is a wonderful romantic spot. I love it even more when we can eat outside and watch the foot traffic in Royal Oak. It's one of my local favorites and I can't wait to go back.

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