(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 3, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – A “Rebel Waltz” seemed like the appropriate drink to kick off a night of culinary exploration at the new Otus Supply restaurant in Ferndale. One of many craft cocktails, this one had Flor de Cana Rum, Atsby vermouth, raisin, oloroso, and root beer bitters. The name went well with the unusual items on the menu.
My guest and I spent a long time on our phones Googling what the various items and ingredients were, which was probably the only frustrating thing about our visit. Sarvecchio, guanciale, chicarrones, cotechino, sugo and other names on the menu were perplexing. Others made sense but still required further investigation like bone marrow (which is exactly what you may presume it to be) and sweet breads (which is not what you may think). As a reporter I don’t really mind looking up stuff online, but putting descriptions on the menu might make it easier for newbies.
That said, once we translated the menu to something that our non-fancy brains could comprehend, my dinner companion and I had a very lovely feast.
The menu is full of small plates that are easily shared. The waitress also gave us a rather long speech about the food being locally-sourced, ethical, farm to table and organic when possible and a bunch of other traits that made it extra special. She finally took a breath and said “Basically, it’s made with love and we want you to be able to taste that.”
Indeed, it was fantastic.
I went for the Aged Beef Tartare which is made of raw meat mixed with other yummy things including radish and olives, topped with garnish and an egg yolk served with grilled sourdough slices. I thought it tasted somewhat minty, but I am not really an expert on defining flavors, just enjoying them. My mouth is watering right now as I write this. It was absolutely incredible. It was also very filling. Between the two of us, and in spite of the deliciousness, there was still some left after our tummies could take no more.
I also got the Jerusalem artichokes, which are not like regular artichokes that look like a big green flower with spiky petals. Jerusalem artichokes are a root vegetable shaped like a potato but with a more citrus kind of flavor. These were served topped with shavings of egg, Brussels sprouts, and bagna cauda (another word I had to look up, which means broth).
My friend went more for items he could recognize. The Sourdough Chicken was interesting but spicier than I would typically get. Its pieces of dark meat chicken crusted with sourdough and spices and served beautifully on a plate of tomato and habanero mustard.
He also had the Mafalde Pasta, which was made of thick ribbons of noodles served atop pulled pork and a sauce that includes sarvecchio and hazelnuts. The noodles were very thick and hearty and the hazelnuts added a distinct crunch and taste to the sauce.
Plus, there was the atmosphere.
Otus Supply could be a piece of art itself. Every wall is rich with detail, whether it’s the mural in the sun room or the wooden carvings of the main dining room, or the hostess area which is backed by a wall decorated with wooden rulers. There are two bar areas, and one of them has a stage.
Otus Supply is located at 345 E. 9 Mile, Ferndale, MI 48220, which is across the street from Credit Union One and City Hall. Another fun thing about this is that they are helping the prosperity of Downtown Ferndale to spread eastwards. The attention to detail of the interior also shines on the outside, making it a pretty classy, yet still “Ferndale Normal” (aka “come as you are”) addition to the community. And there is plenty of parking.
The website is pretty sparse, but you can find it at http://www.otussupply.com/.
Read more Reporter Food columns at https://oaklandcounty115.com/category/blogs/food-blogs/.