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The spread of oysters and other small plates surrounded by chopsticks and amber colors glasses and candle holders at Mink.

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Inside Mink, a Lively Little Seafood Bar in Corktown

Steaming bowls of Manila clams, bruleed squash, scallop crudo, and cute oyster wallpaper

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend kicked off with a crack in Corktown as a new oyster bar Mink opened its doors on Trumbull Avenue. The small seafood restaurant and wine spot debuted on Wednesday, November 27 after a few days of previews and a sell-out two buck shuck party.

Located inside the former Farmer’s Hand space, Mink is the first joint project from newly formed restaurant group Nest Egg. Owners Ping Ho, chef Sarah Welch, Kiki Louya, and Rohani Foulkes together operated Marrow, the Royce, and Folk. The partners teamed up to rework the narrow market space into drinking spot powered by a raw bar with fresh oysters from around the country.

It wasn’t too long ago that there were only a handful of places devoted primarily to serving seafood in metro Detroit, but recently the restaurant industry has welcomed some new players to its ranks including the wildly popular Voyager in Ferndale. Mink is aiming to fill a niche for seafood snacks like a sort of “waiting room” for other Corktown restaurants, Welch told Eater last month. At the helm as executive chef Cameron Rolka, previously Welch’s sous chef at award-winning restaurant Marrow in West Village. Rolka is working alongside head chef Aris Nueva Espana and general manager Amanda Franke.

Oysters on a curved rectangular platter filled with ice sitting on a woven mat.
Mink in Corktown will serve fresh oysters at peak season from regions around the country.

Mink’s tightly focused menu features small plates like scallop crudo with fresh water chestnut and wood ear mushrooms, butter-poached shrimp rolls, and steamed Manila clams with Ochre Bakery bread. There’s also options like vegetarian apple salad with cashew crema and roasted delicata squash. In a little restaurant group synergy, Marrow’s butcher shop is also lending some meaty items to the menu including a dry-aged beef tartare served on a swiss chard chip with herbs and a miso sauce. For dessert, there’s almond cake. Items are priced $7 and $18. Diners can also count on fresh oysters daily. The menu is expected to change regularly. In addition to the food, customers can count on a selection of wines and sake, as well as a handful of beers and ciders.

Mink has a sleek modern look designed by Studio AI Architects and built by Virtuoso. The interior features a curved L-shaped bar along the east wall. A small raw bar display faces the front entrance with a banquette seat and tables running along the windows looking out on Trumbull. The former tin ceilings have been replaced with a wavy textured tile and black pendant lights. Detroit Wallpaper used illustrations of oysters by artist Nancy Pappas to created a black-and-white accent wall at the back of the restaurant.

Photographer Michelle Gerard toured the space on Wednesday ahead of the anticipated opening. Take a tour of Mink and scope out the menu in the gallery below.

A wide-angle shot of a long curved white dining counter with table settings and a glass window surrounding a raw bar. The ceiling is covered with white wave panels and black pendant lights.
A view of the raw bar area surrounded by glass with the small galley kitchen behind the counter.
Black and white wallpaper on the back wall features illustrations of oyster shells next to a high-top table surrounded by four tall black stools.
Four wooden tables are lined up with chairs and a banquette running along the window next to the front entrance at Mink.
Table settings with amber colored water glasses, white cloth napkins and tea candles in amber colored holders line the white marble counters at Mink in Corktown.
A sign that says “Welcome to Mink! Please seat yourself responsibly” sits on a table near the entrance to the restaurant.
A circular plate with thinly sliced vegetables, crumbled cashews, and red pieces of what looks like radicchio.
Apple salad with cashew crema, pickled chilis, celery, lemon, olive oil, and mint cashew crumble.
A bowl with four slices of toasted bread and steamed Manila clams with slices of bruleed squash. Steam is emanating from the bowl.
Steamed Manila clams with sausage, bok choy, fingerling potatoes, lemon, butter, and Ochre Bakery bread.
A white man with a beard, a black beanie, a black shirt, and a tan-colored apron uses a spoon to dish something from a metal saucepan into a bamboo basket.
Chef Cameron Rolka prepares a dish at Mink in Corktown.
A leaf is covered in beef in a yellow liquid and topped with mint, dill, and parsley leaves on a wooden cutting board.
Dry-aged beef tartare from sister restaurant Marrow is served on a swiss chard chip with shallot, herbs, and miso sabayon.
Shrimp are stuffed inside a fluffy steamed bun with sesame seeds and topped with sprigs of dill in a bamboo steamer basket. There’s a little metal dish of pickles on the side.
A shrimp roll at Mink.
A decorative table with an orange design features a blue, handmade bowl filled with a line of bruleed orange squash on a bed of creamy white sauce with a line of green and red herbs on top.
Roasted delicata squash.
Scallop crudo on a blue speckled dish with green onions on top, swimming in liquid and chili oil with wood ear mushrooms on the side.
Scallop crudo.

Mink is located at 1701 Trumbull Ave. Suite D; open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday); website.

Update: This story has been updated with more information about the architect and builder.

5 Things to Know About Mink, Corktown’s New Oyster Bar [ED]
Mink Slides Into Corktown in November With Sake and Shrimp Rolls [ED]
New Restaurant and Wine Bar Will Fill the Farmer’s Hand Space in Corktown [ED]
Detroit’s Most Anticipated Restaurant and Bar Openings, Fall 2019 [ED]
All Mink Coverage [ED]
All Openings Coverage [ED]
All Eater Inside Coverage [ED]


1701 Trumbull Ave, Detroit, MI
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