Menu items like risotto and lamb shoulder "Greek style" hint at the family's Mediterranean roots. But mainly, Peter says, he's firmly anchored in the New World. "Brisket, burgers, pork shoulder. Mustard greens are utterly American. And there's nothing more regional than walleye. We smoke it lightly and finish it with apples and jalapeno." Vellum's Facebook page offers more local testimony: Peter visiting some free range chickens that by now may have been plated as someone's "poached chicken breast with [local] root vegetables and [Michigan] mushroom sauce, $19."
Peter calls his approach "detail-oriented" and "purposeful," meaning that no step of the conventional dining experience is taken for granted. Even the butter that comes to the table is churned in the basement. The risotto rice is aged for seven years in an Italian silo--a detail the mostly plainspoken menu doesn't even mention. (Roumanis mentioned it only because he was asked point-blank how to make a good risotto at home.)
Though Vellum is not exactly cheap, he's keeping prices at local upper-end range: main courses from $14 to $29, starters from $6 to $13. He's particularly proud of what the menu simply called "poached egg with celery root, dates, and cider vinegar." He elaborates that "we poach the egg for an hour at a very low temperature. It takes on a custard-like consistency, and we finish it with a balsamic jam, a little bit of celery root puree."