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The New (new) Whitney Detroit


terapinchef
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This is an attempt to find out who has been in the past, who has been lately, and how you feel about the New Whitney from a current employee.

For those of you who didn't hear, the Whitney was purchased in late Febuary by Bud Liebler and his son Patrick. The restaurant was closed for several weeks while some personell changes were made and an extensive amount of cleaning was done. (The house is 113 years old!) The restaurant reopened March 22 with the kitchen under the leadership of James Gundy, a local chef whose resume includes local favorite Fiddleheads in Royal Oak and Forte (Birmingham) as well as the Tampa Club in Florida. Master Sommalier Claudia Tyagi joined the staff not long after the reopening and continues to bring in fun and exciting wines, both local, American, and European and has put together a great wine program that includes bottle, half-bottle, and glass offerings.

In August, Chef Michael Lutes was brought in to run the kitchen. His resume includes the well known Golden Mushroom, several years as Charlie Trotters sous, and most recently extensive catering work in New Orleans at the first class Joel Catering. The menu overhaul is nearly complete and he has brought many interesting changes to the food, and the menu continues to evolve on a day to day basis.

More information can be found here on the Whitney's website....

http://www.thewhitney.com

as well as Molly Abrahms review here....

http://events.detnews.com/venues/show/72946-The-Whitney

What I really am looking for is any responses from people who have eaten there recently, under Chef Gundy or Chef Lutes, and people who had eaten there in the past comparing the current operations to the former. Stories about your experience, praise, and criticisms are all encouraged!

Edited by terapinchef (log)
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Taken directly from the website under the "General Info" tab, under "Commonly Asked Questions":

"What days does The Whitney close for business?

Generally, Memorial Day, The Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Day and New Years day. Please contact us regarding specific holiday closings. The Whitney is not open for lunch but is available during daytime hours for special events and luncheons. The Whitney is open for luncheon during the month of December."

So, um, from this I can deduce that The Whitney isn't open for lunch except during the month of December? Is that accurate?

That's not the story I've been reading. Menu does look interesting, though.

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I had eaten at the Whitney a few times several years ago, and then decided to have my wedding reception (and ceremony) there a few weeks ago. I was able to compare the Whitney in the early 2000s with chef Gundy (our tasting) and chef Lutes (the wedding). In each of the 2 post-Liebler instances the food was far, far better than I had remembered it before Mr. Liebler took over. The main attraction for the Whitney, IMO, was always the space, which is totally breathtaking. While the menu was always fairly pricey (for Detroit), the food never really delivered and always took a backseat to the environment. From my experience, the new chef(s) have truly elevated the cuisine to some of the best the city has to offer. Hosting a wedding for 250 people, I would have allowed some room for minor decline in flavor/quality- feeding 250 people at the same time is a far more difficult task than to feed 150-200 people spread out over the course of an entire evening. I was, however, thrilled with the response that we got on the food- literally dozens of people commented on how great it was. I planned most of the menu myself, and asked A LOT of the kitchen staff, and they really delivered. Claudia, the sommelier also did a great job helping me choose the wines, and Penny was excellent in the overall planning of the wedding. The service was very unobtrusive and respectful, though maybe not as polished as you might find in NY or Chicago. The only criticism I would have would be that there is a (very) slight sense of missing some 'little details', such as a burned out light bulb, some crumbs on the floor, and other things that I (as a restaurant manager) can't help but notice. Overall though I would HIGHLY recommend the Whitney as one of the top 2 or 3 restaurants in the Detroit area (and the best venue in they city for a wedding!)

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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I didn't realize that the website had the hours marked as so confusing. Our current operations have us doing...

Lunch: Tuesday through Friday 11(?) to 2

Dinner Tuesday through Saturday 5-10

Brunch Sunday 11-3

I'll try and get the website updated...

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I didn't realize that the website had the hours marked as so confusing. Our current operations have us doing...

I'll try and get the website updated...

I looked today, and noticed an appropriate update which *greatly* clears up the whole lunch scheduling puzzle. Clarity is a good thing. Thanks for clarifying both here, and on the website. I'll have to swing by for lunch one of these days soon. Lunch is always a good way of "testing" whether a restaurant is good enough to invest an evening with, especially on the high end of the culinary scale.

Well done. It's a shame that I'm too late this year for the garden parties...

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  • 2 months later...

I had eaten at the Whitney under the old regime several times. The last time I was there (a couple of years ago), the food was truly awful. Everyone in my party was pretty disappointed.

Based on the comments and reviews, we are going to try the Whitney again tomorrow evening.

Edited by Maria (log)
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  • 6 months later...

Just wanted to bump the thread and get some new responses (I hope) and add that we now have a bistro menu available in the garden from noon to 10 with full bar service and a beautiful garden

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Thanks for the update. My small gourmet group of six (The Travelling Foodburys) are trying to coordinate a Sunday trip up from the metro Toledo area sometime this busy summer.

I'm really looking forward to it! :wub:

Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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