The invitation for the pre-opening party for the GreenSpace Cafe at 215 W. 9 Mile Rd. in fashionable downtown Ferndale had a picture of the owner, Dr. Joel Kahn, a noted cardiologist, with the quote:
"Nothing tastes as good as health and at GreenSpace you will never compromise on either."
On Friday night, Kahn, a longtime advocate of a vegan diet opened the trendy space for his new vegan restaurant for a private party that included some very tasty vegan, plant-based appetizers and wine and beer. Violinist Siobhan Cronin played as the wait staff circulated with small trays of food.
The restaurant is set to open on Tuesday.
For a while, it will be dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Eventually, they'll add lunch, brunch and takeout.
Dinner is expected to focus on small plates such as teriyaki mushrooms, a dish made of cremini mushrooms grilled and glazed with house made teriyaki. Other dishes will include Mediterranean Bruschetta made with roasted garlic hummus and quinoa tabouli crostinis and pickle radish; Grilled avocado with garbanzo-corn salad, mild sweet potato chocolate mole sauce and house made whole grain crackers and Korean taquitos made with fresh cooked mung bean and rice, soft tortilla roll with house-made Koren gochujank marinated tofu, kimchee and picked avocado.
Kahn describes the restaurant as a non-GMO, 'organic-plant based gourmet menu' with plenty gluten free and oil free options. It will have a full liquor bar featuring mixology with raw juices. He says it will advocate a menu dictated by gardens.
Kahn and his son Daniel Kahn, who has an MBA and experience in restaurants, are co-owners. Dr. Kahn is a columnist for various publications, including Reader's Digest, a TV commentator and author of books including, "Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses," which bills itself as the ultimate guide to surviving your career with a healthy heart. He runs the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity, with locations in Bloomfield Township and Grosse Pointe Farms.
His website says:
Dr. Joel Kahn is a plant based cardiologist whose personal mission is to prevent 1 million heart attacks over the next two years.
The father and son are in good hands as far as consultants are concerned.
They've turned to Sara Hill and her husband, George Vutetakis, the founding chef of Inn Seasons restaurant in Royal Oak, one of the Detroit area's top-notch local vegetarian restaurants. Vutetakis began as a chef there in 1981 and he and his wife bought the place in 1985, and sold it in 2002. Steve Weller, the executive chef for GreenSpace Cafe, is a veteran of the Inn Season kitchen.
Vutetakis, author and chef specializing in plant-based cuisine, currently works as director of research and development at Garden Fresh Gourmet in Ferndale, which was acquired in the summer by the Campbell Soup Co. for $231 million.
He concedes that some people don't get excited when they hear the word "vegan." But he says they've put together a great team to produce very tasty food.
"There's plant based aspects of every great cuisine and we incorporate those traditions in our food and use that as a foundation for modern interpretations," he says.