Grey Ghost Detroit: What’s not to love about an eatery named for a Prohibition-era Detroit River pirate?
By Michael Haggerty
Photos provided by Grey Ghost Detroit
Our recent visit to the new neighborhood restaurant Grey Ghost Detroit, just north of the new Red Wings/Pistons arena in Brush Park, was exceptional. I call it a neighborhood restaurant because several of the apartments across Watson Street have been recently remodeled and occupied.
In addition, The Scott at Brush Park, a major residential development with 199 rental units surrounding the Ghost on the north and east sides, is in the final construction phase and will add volumes of new residents to the area. Although parking is scarce, the new M1 rail will allow riders to hop off the train within walking distance of the restaurant.
The owners, General Manager Randy Densmore, Chef John Vermigilo and Chef Josef Giacomino, are all from Chicago, where they honed their culinary skills. Will Lee, beverage director, and Rudy Leon, bar manager, came from Selden Standard.
It’s got the right team, and it’s got the right location near the soon-to-be Red Wings/Pistons stadium. Does it have the right ambiance and food?
The restaurant is appointed with full-glass windows along the front, a small outside patio and gray awnings. Your eyes are drawn to the 50-foot bar made of old bowling alley wood and appointed with dark gray metal seats; a full view of the premium liquor selection on the back wall is also a focal point. The bar-forward concept is suitable for a restaurant named after a Prohibition-era Detroit River pirate.
The main dining room seats 70 to 80 guests on cozy two- and four-top tables made of lacquered wood and surrounded by comfortable gray upholstered seating.
The wine selection is minimal with four whites, four reds and two sparkling rose. It’s evident this establishment is concentrating on its bar menu, and craft cocktails in “shaken, stirred and draft categories” were the way to go.
We perused the appetizers consisting of “cured” (charcuterie board, $15) and “raw” (steak tartare, $15) starters. The soup and salad menu is referred to as “not meat” with offerings such as sea scallops, $28, and cauliflower soup, $8; I’m sure you can guess the name of the list of meat, which included pork belly ($18) and fried quail ($26).
Our entree selections included grilled flat iron steak served with pastrami spice, dill pickle and potato ($25). This dish was perfectly prepared, and the steak was tender and flavorful. For die-hard steak eaters, the menu had a dry-aged ribeye for $55. One member of our party enjoyed a dry-aged New York strip with steak sauce hollandaise ($47), just perfect.
Pork schnitzel with malted parsnip and pub mustard ($26) was another hit with our guests. We shared some sides, including French fries ($4) and Brussels sprouts with chicken skin scattered in ($7).
We finished our dinner with a PB&J sundae ($8) served with concord grapes, peanuts and fry bread. The dessert menu offerings included chocolate doughnut or red kuri squash pie with thyme and oatmeal.
The owners of the Grey Ghost have hit the ball out of the park with this venue. Make sure you stop by the Grey Ghost soon. NS
Grey Ghost Detroit
47 Watson St
Open daily at 4 pm. Sunday brunch 10 am – 2 pm.