The entrancing scent of wood charred vegetables, bread, and meats will soon make its debut in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood when Magnet, the latest culinary venture from Takoi’s chef Brad Greenhill and developer Phillip Kafka, opens on Sept. 20. Located at 4848 Grand River Ave., the 2,100-square-foot restaurant will cook up its plant-centric dishes, which are developed around single ingredients, using only a wood-powered grill and oven. “It sort of limits what we’re able to do,” Greenhill says. “But I find, as a chef, personally, that the more I’m limited the easier it is to be creative.”
The menu is influenced by cultures from around the world with a focus on a Mediterranean style of dining. Flatbread, which is made from five different types of flour, can be ordered either with a chickpea or farm cheese spread, or topped with brick cheese or lamb. Vegetable-focused menu items include smaller plates like a sweet and spicy crunchy salad revolving around blistered corn and dishes focused on burnt tomatoes and grilled broccoli. Larger vegetable plates include a tender cauliflower steak dish served with dipping sauces as well as oyster mushrooms soaked in a flavorful broth. Although the menu is intentionally more plant-focused — an obvious plus for vegetarians and vegans alike — the restaurant’s small meat section doesn’t disappoint with red chicken, branzino, and prime rib being just three of the five options. Sides include a salsa verde topped crispy rice, while dessert options are a chocolate milkshake made with tahini, a lemon tart, and an apple concoction that’s still in the works.
For $65 a person, diners can opt for a “feast,” aka a chef’s selection that gives Greenhill the chance to curate the dinner. “It will change sort of seasonally or monthly, based on what we have available in the kitchen,” he says. “It’s more of an opportunity to let us feed you how we think the food should be presented.”
The drink menu is developed by Drew Pompa, the director behind Takoi’s beverage program. The lineup includes wine, beer, and cocktails, such as a refreshing aquavit drink that features herbed labneh, mint, and lime, and a fizzy fruit-forward gin drink made with blueberry, gentian, and aromatized wine. Housemade vermouth and amaro are meant to pair particularly well with the start and end of dinner, respectively.
Magnet’s desire to simplify the dining experience also extends beyond the plate. Housed in a former radiator shop, the minimalist space features an open layout design. A sunken bar, which puts guests at eye level with bartenders, is the main attraction. On the business side of things, simplicity appears in the form of a no-tip policy, which Greenhill says is something he’s always felt passionate about. “It seems that we can foster more of a professional career-oriented business model if we’re able to treat employees at a restaurant how employees are treated at hundreds of businesses in all sorts of different fields,” he says, remarking on the absence of proper salaries, raises, paid-time-off, and health care and benefits in the industry. “From an ownership perspective, it’s a little bit more challenging. So having [already] opened a successful restaurant, it makes it a little easier to try this.”
Magnet will be open for dinner, Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit facebook.com/magnetdetroit.com.
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