Located in the historic Foundation Hotel, the Apparatus Room opened it’s doors in May of 2017. The menu, headed by Michelin starred, Chef Thomas Lent offers New American cuisine with Mid Western influences. Think classy, comfort food. The Apparatus Room caters to different dietary restrictions and everything featured below is vegetarian. The menu is seasonal, so some of what is critiqued isn’t available right now. I got to experience the menu with the company of Sous Chef Mark Butler.
Let’s start with bread….
Heritage Wheat Bread: Charred scallion butter, radish, pimento cheese, pickled marinated peaches. Fresh, warm wheat bread served with salty pimento cheese and marinated peaches. The balance of sweet, pickled and salty was wonderful. This was the perfect starter! And, I LOVE that mini pot it was served in.
Crispy Fried Cauliflower: Korean hot sauce, sesame, lime crema, and halved grapes. I am usually a lover of cauliflower, and if you fry it, hell yea! However, this dish was SO spicy, that I had a hard time enjoying it. I appreciated the sweetness of the grapes and the coolness of the crema. A little something extra to balance the heat would’ve been nice. Like a gallon of milk!!
Chilled Corn Chowder: Silky corn soup topped with a roasted corn relish. I am a huge fan of corn soup, chowder, sauce, and anything else that comes out creamed style. This was everything I hoped it would be and more. It had a subtle Southwest vibe to it that didn’t take away from the overall message of the dish: CORN!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Cherry tomato, goat cheese, scallion, shishito peppers, corn puree. Pillowy sweet potato gnocchi that just melts in your mouth. I really liked that some of the gnocchi had a caramelized crust to it, which added some texture. It paired well with the tang from the goat cheese, creamy sauce corn sauce and hint of heat from the peppers.
Fennel Risotto: Carnaroli risotto, heirloom apple, various forms of fennel. I was skeptical of this dish at first because of my previous experiences with fennel seed. It can be very strong and overpowering. However, this risotto blew my mind! The flavor combo of the fennel and apple was perfection. The apple was tart, yet added a nice sweetness. The texture of the pine nuts and the tangy, creamy goat cheese took this dish over the top. The risotto was cooked to perfection and superbly creamy. Hats off to Sous Chef, Mark Butler for his glorious creation!
The Kitchen, as crafty and creative as they are, sent out a detailed dessert. which was beautiful. They also decided to play a trick on Sous Chef Mark and I. Very funny!
Sea buckthorn ice cream with gooseberries, chocolate creameux, and hazelnut sugar. Presentation was on point! This was my first experience having sea buckthorn and it was very interesting. Tart, yet it paired well with the chocolate and gooseberries. All the ingredients were placed on top of a shortbread like cookie that was too hard. Every time I tried to break off a piece I was afraid I was going to fling dessert across the room. Delicious, but not practical to eat.
Overall, the food at the Apparatus Room is delicious and artistically appealing. What Chef Thomas and his team can do with layering unique flavors is impressive. A big shout out to my friend, Sous Chef, Mark Butler for the tour of the Apparatus Room and the beautiful Foundation Hotel. What was once the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters is now transformed into the gorgeous Foundation Hotel. Exposed brick, white subway tile, and a huge fire pole make up the Apparatus Room’s breathtaking dining room. You might get lucky like we did and spot a celebrity. Harry Connick Jr sat just tables away from us!