Searching for restaurants that utilize fresh summer produce, we started in the Northeast and then crossed to the Pacific Northwest. Today we travel east again, stopping in Michigan for a single interview. For this interview, we spoke with Chef Andre Niemanis, Executive Chef of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. Located in Grosse Pointe, this restaurant is noted for both the music that can be heard there and for its fine American cuisine. Both the restaurant and chef have been honored with awards, including Restaurant of the Year and Best Chef. I was able to speak with Chef Neimanis to learn more about this restaurant and its utilization of seasonal produce.
TT: What local produce items are being used in your dishes currently?
CN: We are using local items that include Michigan sweet corn, farm tomatoes, field greens, and some of our herbs.
TT: Have you created any special menu items that highlight the local produce?
CN: We just ended our summer menu and are moving towards fall. We highlighted local farm tomatoes in our summer tomato caprese salad.
TT: What is your favorite dish that includes local produce?
CN: For now it would have to be free range game hen. It is pan roasted and served with local zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes, and finished with olive oil and fresh herbs.
TT: As you include seasonal produce in your menu, how often do you change your regular or special menu items?
CN: We normally change the menu lunch and dinner about six to eight times a year. Specials are run weekly with a focus on in-season seafood and produce.
TT: Do you work with any farms in particular?
CN: We work with Gass Centennial Farms in Ray, Michigan.
TT: What makes your menu/restaurant unique?
CN: I think it is the jazz mixed with the food and service, which it makes a very unique experience.