HOUR Detroit June 2014
By Christopher Cook
Photography by Joe Vaughn
A year or so ago, we dubbed Birmingham the Octo-Mom of restaurant dining for a reason: It just keeps giving birth to one new restaurant after another. And now, here comes another.
The latest addition to the family is The Bird & The Bread, on Old Woodward Avenue, a refreshingly different restaurant among the brood born to Mama Birmingham in the last few years.
A unique identity, especially on the menu, is essential for any restaurant wanting to set itself apart in an area so dense with other choices.
What the owners, the Jonna family, have done is create a brasserie where the food trumps even its pleasant and energetic setting, with dishes that are consistently full of interesting twists.
For example, among a selection of pizzas is a square pizza with duck sausage, potato cream, and tomato tapenade. Another listed as “liver and onion” is made with a chicken liver pÃ¢tÃ©, a red onion jam, and arugula with truffle vinaigrette.
Mussels prepared in different styles dominate one corner of the menu, with departures from the traditional Belgian bucket of steamed mussels with french fries. Here, you get truffled fries with a caper mayonnaise. Or mussel choices such as steamed with ham and leeks in Founders Ale. There’s one that comes closest to the Belgian traditional: steamed with lemon and shallots in a pinot grigio base. Another version: tomato and horseradish in verjus, a pressing of lemon and spices that give the sauce kick.