AQUA brings you a menu like no other around, exquisite foods prepared with detail and flair that you will want to have over and over, all while surrounding yourself in a environment that brings your sprit to a whole new level. Join us at AQUA and experience something new.
More than eight months after closing his Grecian Cafe, a longtime casual and late-night dining staple in Plymouth, he has reopened it as Aqua, a fine-dining restaurant with a modern European look and a “fusion” menu that draws inspiration from around the globe.
Nikollbibaj has also added a liquor license – valuable in a town where the number of licenses is capped at 24 – that he obtained nearly three years ago. He has been working on the new restaurant concept since around time.
“In this industry, if you’re not patient you won’t make it,” Nikollbibaj, who has been in the restaurant business since 1987, said at his new place on Thursday. “I had to be patient in order to create this.”
Grecian Cafe fans probably won’t recognize anything at Aqua but its Main Street location; the place has been completely redone. The interior’s emphasis is on straight lines, gleaming glass and polished metals, and a wooden deck for outdoor dining has been turned into an all-season patio with a tiled floor and upholstered, yet minimalist, chairs.
Nikollbibaj, who lives in Plymouth Township, says there’s nothing like it in the area.
“We went all out,” he said. “We wanted to change completely the old Grecian Cafe.”
Nikollabibaj, who had owned the cafe since 2000, cooked there regularly, but has turned over Aqua’s kitchen to executive chef Ronald Buechs, who has extensive Detroit-area restaurant experience and was trained at the Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts in Charlotte, N.C., and has a master’s in hospitality management from Michigan State University.
Aqua’s menu includes pastas, meat dishes, salads and vegan and vegetarian dishes that Buechs describes as “edible art.” Meats are brought in fresh five days a week, fish six days a week, and Aqua will be using as much produce from local sources as possible, Beuchs said.
If he had to use a map to spot the menu, he’d point to Asia, but he said Aqua uses ideas from all kinds of cuisines. Appetizers have names like Mediterranean Hommus Trio, Shanghai Calamari and Spanish Oven-Roasted Olives and Feta.
Beuchs said he has a passion for the food. “When I see a customer light up with joy at my food, it brings me the biggest happiness,” he said.
Aqua, said Buechs, will be adding items in the near future, including a full sushi menu, seasonal dishes and a brunch menu for Saturdays and Sundays. In keeping with the restaurant’s sleek look, Aqua has electronic i-Pad menus that are easy to update and provide details about the food, but diners will still give their orders to real people.
“We want our staff to be in touch with the customers,” Nikollabibaj said.
Co-managers Bradley Leach and Travis Carter are also part of what Nikollabibaj calls his “dream team.” They were brought in in recent weeks to fine-tune the place and build a cocktail menu. Aqua has an extensive list of spirits, wines and beers, including several beers from Michigan microbreweries.
Carter said that, though unique, Aqua is also part of a larger dining trend.
“We’re in the middle of such a renaissance of craft food and drink,” he said.