Less Is More at Mink Detroit

By: Karen Dybis | October 9, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Free Press.

Your Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers and the Detroit Free Press are proud to once again team up to support our local restaurants with the Top 10 Takeout series, a celebration of the 2020 Top 10 Best New Restaurants of the Year.

We will be highlighting each of those restaurants as tickets to their respective Takeout event go on sale. This week, Mink Detroit shows us that a large space isn’t required to create homestyle dishes people will love. Don’t forget that you can enter our giveaway for a chance to win a virtual cooking class with the chef of 2020’s Restaurant of the Year and other prizes!

Small spaces appeal to people on a visceral level, making adult-size humans feel like kids again or helping kids feel like the world is finally properly sized to their perspective. In other words, a small space humbles you in all of the best ways. 

That is why Mink Detroit is the kind of restaurant where people feel comfortable and comforted at the same time. The interior can be described as small for sure. Most of the food is prepared right there around the bar, like a gang of friends gathered at a kitchen island, watching the performance in front of them with awe and anticipation.

Anticipation is the name of the game at Mink, where oysters, shrimp rolls and sake serve as the main dishes and the primary attractions to this gem of a space on Trumbull. It is your new favorite neighborhood hangout, even if you don’t live nearby. It has that “everybody knows your name” vibe but with a decidedly Detroit vibe. 

The dining room is closed for the time; welcome to restaurant life in the time of coronavirus. But the patio is open for decent weather. All service is counter service as well, and they can do take-out orders for those who need to eat and run. 

Although the food may be served on disposable plates, it still maintains its beauty and other-earthly quality. There is something about its unadorned presentation, its fresh sea scents and lemony freshness. A plate full of beautifully prepared oysters served with a chunky wedge of lemon has that quality – it feels so connected to water in a way that only the Great Lakes State can.

The menu is also different for Mink right now; it is simple. But the ingredients used and the dishes that result are drool-worthy. There is the smoked whitefish spread, which comes with a salty mix of pickles, mustard, crème fraiche and a boiled egg. Spread on a cracker, that spread brings brine, fish and flavor together with spice in a way that is memorable and impressive.

There are lots of options for everyone at Mink, no matter what your food preference. There are great vegetarian dishes, stuffed with eggplant, delicata squash or local greens. Fish lovers will dive gratefully into the clam chowder with its garlic buttered bread on the side as well as the steamed lobster roll, which has a palate-pleasing combination of shallots, lime, chive dill and chili jam alongside chunks of lobster. 

There’s even a wide array of adult beverages to go alongside these seaworthy treats. One suggestion is to try the Hot Toddy, a beautiful composition that includes Valentine Pingree bourbon, hot water or tea alongside honey and lemon. It will definitely cure what ails you as well as give you an opportunity to raise your tea cup to the late, great Detroit mayor, Hazen Pingree. 

Detroit is a true part of this restaurant and its creators, who are the mighty brains behind another local favorite, Marrow. While Marrow focuses on meat and everything around carnivores, Mink is the kind of spot where vegans, vegetarians and fish lovers can all feel comfortable eating together. 

Mink is a fitting tribute to the women who created it, the diners who adore it and the community that supports it. They can find many preparations of traditional fish dishes, great oyster plates and fresh ideas about dining experiences all in one small location. Again, size doesn’t matter here, but there is something to be said for its jewelry-box sized feel with a big emphasis on food and its presentation.