It’s been a great year for chef Kate Williams and her rustic Corktown restaurant Lady of the House. Just last week, Food and Wine named Williams among the Best New Chefs in America. Now, as he has a tendency to do, New York Times critic Pete Wells has broken out of his New York bubble for a romp to the Detroit restaurant today in his latest Critic’s Notebook column.
The very complimentary not-quite-review takes a look at chef’s approach to hospitality at Lady of the House. Wells notes that many of Williams recipes are autobiographical such as her grandmother’s rum cake dessert and the carrot steak that influenced by a similar dish at Restaurant Relæ in Copenhagen where Williams once cooked.
The critic takes a moment to praise the potato doughnuts: “They are neither light nor fluffy, but they are terrific.” The tea and rarebit cracker snack that begins each meal at Lady of the House is “an odd way to start a restaurant dinner, but what a smart way to say, This is mine, and you’re welcome to it,” Wells writes. Lady of the House may emphasize its farm-to-table approach and efforts to reduce food waste, but “the scrap-saving comes across as creativity, and the local ingredients aren’t treated like sacred relics.”
It’s another positive feather in the cap for Lady of the House, which has seldom seen a month without some sort of local or national press since opening last September. Lady of the House was one of Eater National’s most anticipated openings and Eater Detroit named Williams its 2017 Chef of the Year. Lady of the House subsequently ranked among the best new restaurants by the Detroit Free Press and GQ with a semifinalists nod for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Awards. In the meantime, Williams is keeping busy with new projects including a bar and upscale diner at the Siren Hotel.