Restaurant of the Year 2011: Iridescence


Published:

(page 3 of 5)

A major factor in the quality and style of the food is a connection to the former Tribute restaurant in Farmington Hills. Both Watson and Iridescence Executive Chef Don Yamauchi, who oversees all food at MotorCity Casino Hotel, once cooked there.

Tribute’s influence on many area chefs is hard to overstate. Many chefs now running top metro Detroit kitchens learned their trade at Tribute under creator and culinary master Takashi Yagihashi. For more than a decade, Tribute was one of Detroit’s two paramount restaurants. Yagihashi today owns one of Chicago’s top restaurants, which bears his first name.

“I was working at Rugby Grille [in Birmingham], and one day, Takashi gave me a call,” Watson says. “There was an opening for a sous-chef but, needless to say, at 20 years old I was way underqualified.” But he offered Watson a lesser spot and Watson stayed at Tribute for just under four years.


Above: Chef de Cuisine Derik Watson at work.

When Yagihashi left Tribute, Yamauchi, a rising star in the Chicago restaurant scene, was brought in to replace him. Watson became his sous-chef. Later, Yagihashi hired Watson again as his sous-chef in Chicago. From there, Watson went to Iridescence.

The kitchen at Iridescence sits like a high altar at the rear of the restaurant’s top level. It’s fronted by a large pass-through and workstation that looks out and down onto the dining room.

A distraction to this set-up is that the venting is not always strong enough to keep grilling smells from wafting over to nearby tables. On some visits, when seated farther from the kitchen, there was no such problem.

Watson takes a seasonal approach to his menu, which includes a three-course, fixed-price listing or a more extravagant five-course chef’s tasting. On our most recent visit, the chef’s tasting was impressive. The first course was a delicate, sweet sashimi of yellowtail hiramasa with watercress, daikon, ginger, cilantro, and sweet onion. The balance created between the sweetness and acidity of shredded vegetables and vinaigrette was perfection.

 
Above left: Chef Derik Watson and Executive Chef Don Yamauchi consult.

The second course, a fresh Hudson Valley foie gras, came with a vanilla-poached quince, huckleberry, beet-root purée, and the requisite toasted brioche. The combination of sweet fruit and foie gras mimics the French tradition of serving sweet sauterne wine with foie gras.

Next came a shepherd’s pie in which all the right parts were there: lamb, beef short-rib meat, spinach, and mashed potatoes, all laid out side by side on the plate, as a modern reconstruction of the classic.

The fourth course, a cheese assortment, was far more than that. It included several little cheese-based assemblies, a Roquefort panna cotta with pine nuts, a brie grilled cheese, walnut-raisin bread with a raspberry compote, and, finally, a salute to the French-Spanish border — petite Basque cheese with chorizo.


Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

If You Build It Right, Millions Will Come

How an arms race architect named Dave Dombrowski has taken the Detroit Tigers from helpless to heroic

New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn Style

Tips for celebrating 2019 from the pros at Brooklyn Outdoor

The Makings of the Shinola Hotel

When the Detroit brand’s first foray into hospitality opens its doors, it’ll offer customers a more intimate way to connect with its products and experience the values central to its mission

It’s a #WonderfulLife

Powered by likes and public approval, how social media is squandering the holiday spirit

2018 Candy Cane or Coal?

Santa has been keeping tabs on who’s been naughty and nice over the past year. He’s his jolly old self when awarding candy canes for good deeds but look out — he’s got an icy-cold North Pole attitude when punishing bad behavior.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Makings of the Shinola Hotel
    When the Detroit brand’s first foray into hospitality opens its doors, it’ll offer customers...
  2. My Two Christmases
    An Armenian-Iranian, Detroit-based writer reflects on transposing the holiday across continents
  3. New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn Style
    Tips for celebrating 2019 from the pros at Brooklyn Outdoor
  4. Main Review: SheWolf
    Born in Detroit but inspired by Rome, SheWolf takes diners on a culinary journey
  5. The Art of Gifting
    Metro Detroit tastemakers from all walks of life offer a glimpse of what’s on their holiday...
  6. Comeback Catering
    Dish, in Detroit, pushes through hard times with consistently delicious food
  7. Meet the Makers: Tait Design Co.
    How an after-work hobby ascended to a booming business
  8. Precious Metals
    Layering necklaces, stacking rings, and placing bangle upon glitzy bangle: a definitive guide to...
  9. Food Recipe: Braised Beef Brisket
    Chef Aaron Lowen, of Empire Kitchen & Cocktails, shares one of his favorite holiday recipes
  10. An Hour with ... Ricki Friedman
    Founder, Break the Weight