Morels: A Michigan Bistro
Bingham Farms, MI
Review by Runt
The space is L-shaped, with private party rooms on the open ends of the L. In the crook of the L is a lovely herb and flower garden. The restaurant's walls are all glass facing this garden, allowing for a gorgeous view while dining. Some of us wanted to play in the garden, but it started to rain; on the other hand, rainy skies seemed to enhance the colors of the verdant patch.
Despite its name, the restaurant was not dark or cave-like and didn't smell at all of manure. It was a tidy, spare space, which let the food and the garden do the talking.
The menu is not all mushroom, all the time. It's updated daily, to reflect market and seasonable variations. But being as the restaurant is called "Morels," we tried their fungi.
The Bisque of Spring Morels with Ramp Crème Fraîche was not heavy, as many mushrooms soups can be. Consisting of mushrooms, stock and the wild garlic cream, it definitely whets the appetite for more. The Morel Mushroom Risotto was served with fashionable mesclun greens, and was flavored with garlicky ramps and parmesan. The "principal plate" that was basically a local variation on the classic Duck à l'Orange -- Roasted Free Range Duck -- was served in a ginger-citrus glaze and accompanied by a hash made with three different types of potato and today's selection of vegetables: asparagus and carrots.
Other selections were equally French/Northern Italian in influence, with a local interpretation or twist. There was Michigan Turkey, a Wellington of local lake fish (encrusted in pastry), roasted lamb, veal, etc. Some were served with classical western European accompaniments, some with sauces made of cherries, corn and cranberries. They were executed very well. This is a taste of what used to be called "the Continent," a little bit of Europe in the Midwest.
The servings were so generous that we had no room at all for dessert! The waitress asked us if we'd like to simply see the dessert list, and all we could do was groan ...
Morels is reasonably priced, not difficult to get to, and the delicious food makes us want to return. Okay, we might end up groaning again, but next time, we're having dessert!
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