Þrír Frakkar (“3 Coats”), Reykjavik, 7/27/17

Building and entrance
Building and entrance

Prír Frakkar is a small place with 2 inside rooms and a covered patio.  The name is for the 3 people who opened the place, however now there is only 1 coat in charge and thus a single large coat graces the bar.  The walls are covered with decorations that are fun to look at,  tables are fairly close and tables are set with paper napkins.  There is a casual and welcoming ambiance with friendly and helpful servers.  At lunch it wasn’t hard to get in but I understand at night there can be quite a wait and I would bet the noise level is much louder.  It is a good sized menu with lots of choices of very typical Icelandic foods which they have offered for 27 years.  It is off the main tourist walkways and seemed to attract lots of residents.   Continue reading

Matur og Drykkur, Reykjavik, 7/26/17

building
building

Matur og Drykkur is a medium sized place located in an old salt fish factory built in 1924 that now also houses the Saga Museum.  The name means “food and drink” and they specialize in Icelandic food with a modern twist.  American music plays in the background of this lively spot, where it was packed on a weekday evening.  The bare wood tables are slightly spaced and there are also 6 seats at a bar in front, near the open finishing kitchen. Soft warm lighting is pleasant but can effect the food colors and the nice cloth napkins are way too small. Reservations are for a 2 hour block and they did turn the tables but rushing would be difficult with the slow pacing.  Service was friendly but disorganized – they brought the wrong plates a couple times and you’d notice someone doing the same tasting menu who was behind you and then ahead as their food came out more rapidly.  They do offer 3 different tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu.   Continue reading

Lobsterhouse, Reykjavik, 7/26/17

the building
the building

Lobsterhouse has been under the present owner for a year and a half, however he worked there under the previous owner.  It is in an almost 200 year old house that is worth the visit alone, just to see it.  The ceilings are decorated with paintings and the walls with curios.  Table and chair combinations vary but all work together nicely.  There is also one room called the gallery room where the walls are covered with pictures, some slightly at an angle and according to the owner they are not straightened because the floor moves enough that they become askew as soon as you walk away from straightening them.  The very homey ambiance is further enhanced by the friendliness of the people working there.  The owner was kind enough to show us around and the waiter knew much history of the house and Reykjavik that he was willing to share.  Both personalities really enhanced the meal experience.   Continue reading

Grey Ghost, Detroit, 7/19/17

Exterior
Building

Grey Ghost is a good sized place with a large bar area,  small patio and dining room.  The long bar has stool seating at the counter and additional counter seating that seemed available for walk-in diners.  The partition this area backs up to forms the main dining room and a long seating bench is on the other side.  Next to the streetside windows are better spaced tables. The restaurant has not been open quite a year but the weekday evening we were there the place was packed with a multi-aged casual crowd that wound down by around 10:00 pm.  Fairly loud music plays in the background and coupled with the crowd size, noise level is an issue.   Continue reading

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, Detroit, 7/19/17

building
building

Chartreuse is a fairly large place with a predominantly green theme.  Green walls work nicely with the bare wood tables and natural wall decorations which include live and dried plants.  Ceilings are high with exposed ductwork but noise level was not a problem since the place was not that full at lunch.  A table of lovely fresh produce is next to the entrance to greet you and bottles of Chartreuse fill the shelves over the bar to set the tone. Tables are nicely spaced and modern music is in the background.  There are a number of high back booth like seating areas with low tables adjacent to the bar.  The bar is ‘L’ shaped with the short part being in front of the actual liquor and the long part set for diners.  Service is friendly, efficient and helpful.   Continue reading

Mabel Gray, Detroit, 7/18/17

building
building

Mabel Gray is a medium-sized place.  It is long rectangular restaurant with bench seating running the length of one side that is opposite the kitchen and bar areas.  Tables are small and set fairly close but with enough room to be able to get out between them.  It was packed with people the evening we were there and with rock music playing in the background there was a fair amount of noise to deal with.  They offer an a la carte menu as well as a surprise tasting menu.   Beverage pairings are available to go with the tasting.  We had the tasting and pairings and the friendly servers were able to keep a nice pace to the meal despite the number of people.   Portions on the tasting menu are fairly generous  and table water is served in old Lillet bottles.   Continue reading

Selden Standard, Detroit, 7/18/17

Exterior
Exterior

Selden Standard is a large place offering seating at regular tables, high-top tables, on the patio and counter seating at the bar or kitchen area. We chose the kitchen area and had a wonderful time talking food with the two hard working chefs manning the wood oven and wood grill and also got to see a number of the items on the menu prepared.  The restaurant focuses on sourcing ingredients from their community and have been named the #1 restaurant in Detroit by various local press publications for the last two years.  Floors are of concrete and the ceiling is planked wood with a variety of lights hanging down.  Soft, subtle music plays in the background.  It was not noisy at lunch but then it was not full.  Service started with a little hiccup but they were kind enough to comp dessert for us because of it.   Continue reading