Solid Gold

Pawn shop turned farmstead-cuisine restaurant feels like home sweet home

On one hand, Gold Cash Gold is like the type of laid-back joint where you come to hang out: The servers are more friendly than formal, the music could be from your Spotify profile (seriously, I think they stole my “I Love ’80s Alt-Rock” playlist), and the drinks are potent (the Boom Box “will blow your mind right off,” the bartender pitched us).

On the other hand, everything — the welcoming service or the delectable dishes — is executed at a high level, like what you’d find at fine dining restaurant, minus the white tablecloths and stuffiness.

There’s no shortage of restaurants touting seasonal and local menus, but Gold Cash Gold puts its spin on the concept with the Southern-influenced “farmstead” cuisine of chef Josh Stockton.

The former pawn shop has been outfitted with repurposed materials such as vibrant stained glass and gleaming hardwood floors. Also repurposed: Pieces of the shop find new life as bathroom stalls.

As for the food, brine and swine are the stars.

Jars of homemade pickles line the walls. Several dishes come with the power of a sour element, such as using pickle brine in the fried chicken and even in the drinks such as pickled grapes.

Pork is well represented, including the pork-fat peanuts and braised pork cheek. Another creative use is in the buttermilk pie, which comes with pork-fat streusel (and should come with a Surgeon General warning, but it’s worth the risk).

While the menu sounds casual, the presentation is anything but. A shaved vegetable salad with lemon vinaigrette, apple, cheddar, and greens is eye-popping. House-cured gravlax finds a perfect match with fresh Greek yogurt, lemon-parsley salad, and grilled bread — a composed plate of contrasting colors, textures, and flavors.

Entrees sound like comfort food, but are taken to the next level. The three-day short rib with carrot puree, confit rutabaga and turnip, and pickly gremolata is a rich and luxurious dish. Sides include cornbread and hot sauce gravy, and try the suggested pilsner or bubbly pairing.

While we’re talking about booze, the drinks are unique and creative, and if there’s something else you want, the knowledgeable bartenders will make cocktails not on the menu. My friend and I were talking about how we wanted bourbon mimosas, and the bartender gave us a new spin on the French 75, subbing bourbon for the gin. Craft cocktails not your cup of tea? There are several wines and beers to suit many tastes.

On the receipt, it says “See you tomorrow!” At first I thought it was a little presumptuous, but after a few visits, it’s beginning to feel like home.

2100 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-242-0770. L & D Tue.-Sun.

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