We recently tried a new restaurant that opened in Ypsilanti. Michigan. Ypsilanti is a rather unique city that lives in the shadow of Ann Arbor, even though there is a university in Ypsilanti as well. The name is pronounced as “ip” thought some people still pronounce it as “yip.” It was originally a fur trading post established in 1809 and eventually merged with a nearby community named for a Greek general Demitrios Ypsilanti, and the name stuck and in 1829 Woodruff’s Grove became Ypsilanti. Being in Michigan the city shares some automotive history like the ACE car of Apex Motors, the Tucker automobile of the Ypsilanti Machine Tool Company, the Kaiser -Frazer cars and the home of the last Hudson Motor Car Company showroom, which is now an automobile museum.
The Bellflower Restaurant only opened a couple of weeks ago and they are seafood oriented with a Southern influence, as in New Orleans influence. What I didn’t realize is that they have two different menus, one for the lunch trade and the other for dinner. We went in the afternoon and the menu was several “Po-Boy” sandwiches on house made bread, unfortunately by the time we got there, they were completely sold out of the sandwiches, which says something for their popularity. All that they could offer us was either Red Beans & Rice or Lamb Gumbo; we opted for the Lamb Gumbo which was braised lamb, local collards and tomatoes with Basmati Rice. The heat from the Gumbo was quite intense and our waiter stopped by and asked if we needed any addition hot sauces and we demurely declined, but eventually by adding the rice in, the heat gradually diminished, but it was very tasty. We will have to go back to try the dinner menu and I look at some of the options that they were preparing for that evening; Roasted Oysters with Garlic, Chilled Shrimp, Assorted Raw Oysters, Red Snapper with Okra, Scallops, Chicken Leg quarters and Pork Collar. Some of the dishes were Gluten-free and some were Vegetarian.
The Bellflower also had a bar that had liquor, beer and wine. They had thirty-eight wines, four dessert/fortified wines and three different offerings of Sake; of which eighteen were offered by the glass, and they also offered a 25% discount on a bottle of wine, if purchased with a carry-out order. I found it interesting that they had two different offerings of Austrian Gruner Veltliner, one still and one sparkling by the glass, so I thought it would be an interesting tasting for us. Gruner Veltliner is the signature grape of Austria, and the most widely planted grape as well. The finest examples of this grape are usually cited as coming from Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal. The first wine that we tried was Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner Kremstal 2018. Kremstal is found in the Niederosterreich wine district and a DAC appellation was created in 2007 for both Gruner Veltliner and the dry Riesling wines. Weingut Stadt Krems has been making wines since 1452 and they are located in the center of the city of Kremstal with their own unique micro-climate vineyard. The second wine that we tried was Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Osterreichischer Sekt Brut NV. Peter Szigeti took over his parent’s wine trading business in 1991 with the concept of focusing on the characteristics of the grapes involved. He emphasizes that the fruit is hand-picked and sun-ripened grapes predominately around the Lake Neusiedl in the Burgenland district of Austria. Burgenland is on the eastern border of Austria near Hungary and this area is known both for its white wines, but also for its red wines and the region along Lake Neusiedl is also known for sweet, botrytized wines. The Szigeti sparkling wine is produced using the Methode Traditionelle, with bottle fermentation. You could really tell that both of the wines were related with the crisp, green and flinty taste and the high acidity that makes you want another sip. We weren’t expecting the degree of heat in the gumbo and the wines that we had, were very refreshing. We were discussing a return trip for the dinner menu in the near future.