Detroit — Curators of Basan are celebrating their grand opening in downtown Detroit with the restaurant’s first 45 days already booked and not a single party yet served.
Basan — from Four Man Ladder Hospitality, the team behind the city’s popular Grey Ghost restaurant — will open Tuesday with a Japanese-inspired sharable menu and cocktail bar.
Located on Park Avenue near Little Caesars Arena, Basan is a 77-seat bar and restaurant that features a 12-seat private dining space, open kitchen featuring a large, red Robata grill, and next spring, a “spacious patio.”
The $1.5 million restaurant project is expected to give new life to a long-vacant historic hotel that recently transformed into a 97-apartment development spanning 13 stories. The project at the corner of Park and Sproat, was redeveloped by Olympia Development of Michigan, an arm of the billionaire Ilitch organization.
The menu breaks down into five categories: bao buns, skewers, small plates, large plates and cocktails.
Basan has an open kitchen that features a red Robata grill for cooking food over an open flame. Executive chef Eric Lees crafted the menu featuring buns, skewers, small plates, main entrees and desserts. Buns include bologna with spicy mayo, onion jam, nori and puffed rice, plus others with lobster, fried oyster, chicken katsu and Brussels sprouts. The menu also has lamb merguez gyoza, eggplant tempura, chicken liver mousse, whole fried snapper, kalbi short ribs and a tofu donut.
Prices range from $6 to $60, the most expensive being the whole fried snapper that’s an interactive meal serving two to four people. There’s also a set of waygu skewers on the menu, one American waygu and another waygu made from Japan so customers can try the beef side-by-side. That plate is $30.
“This is a traditional Japanese grill for skewered meats to be cooked over open flame typically done with charcoals however, space constraints required us to have a gas flame,” said chef and owner John Vermiglio. “However, you will see other Asian flavors and quarks that we will throw in. This is by no means traditional. The way we interpret it is unique here but with time-honored traditional flavors.”
Aside from working with Grey Ghost, the four-man team previously operated another Japanese restaurant called Yusho in Chicago, which closed after 12 years. Basan is their latest project and they said it’s not based on their location at 2703 Park Ave., but rather the concept.
“We want to do full experience, multiple courses, work your way all the way up to the snapper during your event dinner … or also, stop by pre-concert or game for skewers, buns, easy in-cocktail and bites,” said Joe Giacomino, co-owner of Basan. “This concept led us to both things simultaneously and that’s why we chose this.”
Cocktails and other drinks are under the wing of Four Man Ladder’s beverage director Will Lee and Basan’s beverage manager Alex Kirles. Expect craft cocktails, nonalcoholic concoctions, beer, sake, a wine list and coffee and tea. Lee recommends the “Swimming Bird,” a shochu, elderflower, Thai lime leaf, lemongrass, citrus and soda cocktail, or “Ube-B” a purple vodka cocktail with vodka, pasubio, blueberry, ube, condensed milk, black sesame, lemon and hawthorn that doubles for dessert.
The name Basan stems from a Japanese folklore of a fire-breathing rooster, said Lee. Inside, guests sit in low-light, leather and blush suede armchairs or at the black marble bar.
Basan will be open at 4 p.m. daily at 2703 Park in Detroit, hosting guests until 11 p.m. or midnight on Fri.-Sat. Walk-ins are welcome. Reservations books are full but join the waitlist here www.basandetroit.com/reservations or through the Resy app.
srahal@detroitnews.com
Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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