Chef Brion Wong made a splash in Detroit when he relocated from New York to cook at Antietam in Eastern Market, helping the eatery through a rocky start and move on to a wildly successful first year. Then he quit, seemingly abruptly last month, saying he wanted to see what else the city's dining scene had to offer. Since then he's been keeping busy, doing popups, co-headlining the Dine Drink Detroit launch party and partnering with gal pal Chef Kate Williams at a five-course dinner event as part of Savor Detroit.
He's also found a new kitchen to work, the soon-to-open Peterboro in the city's long-gone Chinatown, where he'll serve as the Chef De Cuisine. Backed by restaurateurs Marc Djozlija and Dave Kwiatkowski (of Sugar House, Wright & Co. and Cafe 78), Peterboro will give Wong more creative control in the new kitchen, which as of yet is without an opening date.
Wong, who honed his skills in his native New York, says he and Djozlija are working on an Asian-inflected menu. He tells us he's drawing his inspirations from his years working under some of NYC's "top guns in Asian food," including his culinary mentor Chef Doron Wong at Yunnan BBQ (formerly NY Times-lauded Yunnan Kitchen) in the Lower East Side.
"The menu will draw from my collected training from everywhere I've been and the people that I've learned from, it is an evolution of my culinary style," Wong says.
This is a particularly interesting development as the new Peterboro restaurant sits smack in the middle of Detroit's dilapidated Chinatown. Up until renewed interest on the block took shape within the past year, the area sat void of any signs that a once thriving immigrant community once existed, aside from a few faded Cantonese symbols scrawled over wooden signage. The last Chinese restaurant to occupy the intersection, Chung's, shuttered its doors well over a decade ago.
Now the new bottle shop 8 Degrees Plato and Iconic Tattoo parlor have opened on the block, giving the area a shot of energy. And with the addition of Peterboro, with Wong's extensive history and passion for Asian cuisine, this new spot may be able to pay homage to the historic neighborhood.