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Detroit Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


ChocoKitty
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My wife and I ate at the Brookshire Restaurant last night. It's in the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, a relatively new (~2 years) luxury hotel that seems intended to operate at the level of, say, the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham or the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn. The restaurants at both of the latter have won recognition, garnering "restaurant of the year"-type accolades locally, and being rated well in travel guides and the like. I'm not aware of any review of the Brookshire. There weren't many diners there while we ate (7 pm Saturday).

The hotel itself is quite nice and the setting (with a creek, conservatory, etc.) is much prettier than the Ritz (which essentially sits amidst a shopping mall) and the Townsend (in the middle of downtown Birmingham.)

The restaurant was fine. Not as formal as the Grill at the Ritz, and we preferred the food at the Rugby Grille at the Townsend. My wife found her chicken both overly bland and sweet. I enjoyed my meal more, though I found the muzak obtrusive.

Here's the dinner menu.

http://www.royalparkhotel.net/Menus/DINNER...NU%20010807.pdf

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My wife and I ate at the Brookshire Restaurant last night.  It's in the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, a relatively new (~2 years) luxury hotel that seems intended to operate at the level of, say, the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham or the Ritz Carlton in Dearborn.  The restaurants at both of the latter have won recognition, garnering "restaurant of the year"-type accolades locally, and being rated well in travel guides and the like.  I'm not aware of any review of the Brookshire.  There weren't many diners there while we ate (7 pm Saturday).

The restaurant was fine.  Not as formal as the Grill at the Ritz, and we preferred the food at the Rugby Grille at the Townsend.  My wife found her chicken both overly bland and sweet.  I enjoyed my meal more, though I found the muzak obtrusive.     

Here's the dinner menu.

http://www.royalparkhotel.net/Menus/DINNER...NU%20010807.pdf

Thanks for the quickie review. My family happens to know one of the key investors in the Royal Park, and I know that, yes, the hotel itself is designed to be a "high-falootin'" hotel in the Ritz/Townsend category. Our friend was simply tired of there not being any truly good, service-oriented hotels out in the Rochester area, or anywhere near there. The hotel has been well-received.

That being said, when I look at the dinner menus of all three (Brookshire, Rugby, The Grill), Brookshire is far cheaper than either of the other two, in just about every category. Having not tried the Brookshire myself (nor have I tried The Grill, but I have tried Rugby), I'd walk in having a certain expectation based on the fact that it's not actually as pricey as the others. I suppose I wouldn't be expecting, say, Tapawingo-type food, since that's about as high-tier as we get in Michigan (if you're in the northern part of the state and haven't tried Tapawingo, you have *missed out*), but I'd certainly expect it to be very good, and attentive to detail as well.

You should write a letter or call to tell them about the chicken and the muzak, but *especially* the muzak. That's something that they *need to know*. You should also give a quickie impression about the comparison between the other places mentioned, to give them an idea of what they need to be providing to their clientele. Obviously, you weren't really impressed with the place (though you weren't totally turned off, either), and the lower price structure didn't seem to help. You should let them know.

I'm actually looking forward to trying the Brookshire. When I go, I'll post how it is for me.

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The menu prices were a definite positive in my book.

Of the three -- and I've eaten at each exactly one time, I'd say our worst experience was at the Grill at the Ritz Carlton. Our meal at the Rugby Grille wasn't perfect, but I'd rank it at the top.

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And just in case anyone from the culinary devoid eastern part of the city (speaking mostly of my fellow macomb county people here...) gets hungry for some Latin spice...Most people who live in the area know of a place called Plaza de Mexico, or Plaza for short, that occupies a tiny building on 9 mile just a west of I-94. Also notable (although technically in Wayne County) is a place called Sierra Station on Mack down near the Detroit border, near Tom's Oyster Bar and the Village Idiot Bar (sorry don't know the exact cross streets) and for drive through, there's a decent little place on Harper between 9 and 10 Mile called El Charro.

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And just in case anyone from the culinary devoid eastern part of the city (speaking mostly of my fellow macomb county people here...) gets hungry for some Latin spice...Most people who live in the area know of a place called Plaza de Mexico, or Plaza for short, that occupies a tiny building on 9 mile just a west of I-94. Also notable (although technically in Wayne County) is a place called Sierra Station on Mack down near the Detroit border, near Tom's Oyster Bar and the Village Idiot Bar (sorry don't know the exact cross streets) and for drive through, there's a decent little place on Harper between 9 and 10 Mile called El Charro.

And if you're going to be in that area, Chef Ed's Weekday Cafe in Eastpointe has a couple of Central American-inspired dishes on their menu, such as their Chicken Mole (I think that's the name of it). Can't speak to its authenticity as I've never tried it myself, but everything I've had at the Weekday Cafe has been very good, and *very* reasonably priced. I highly recommend this place.

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I was able to get around to Bambu in Grosse Point Farms this past weekend, which is Brandon Kahlich's new restaurant after the abrupt closure of the L-Bow Room in Harper Woods, due to a fire at the hotel it was attached to.

I guess you Grosse Point folks are used to getting spoiled, but I'm just glad that a chef of Brandon's ability is able to reopen. He tells me that it's ten times busier than it was at the L-Bow room, and I couldn't be happier for him. His crab cakes are still the best in the city (I ordered them...he hasn't lost his touch), and the rest of the dinner menu looked *very* delicious. I was there for lunch, and had the crab cakes followed by a Thai Chicken wrap, which wasn't as good as I would have liked it to be, but having eaten his dinner entrees many times before, I can safely say that his actual entrees would surpass any sandwich he might make.

I'll be back, and to those who can make it there, you'll be doing yourself a favor. *Very* good food, which is reasonably priced. It's a 14-seat establishment, so if you want to dine on a weekend evening, reservations are now essential. Worth it. Trust me.

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being from the GP and now living in Ferndale, a Schoolcraft grad, and pastry chic turned stay at home mom, I have a lot to say on this thread. 

Siam Spicy on Woodward and 12 is the place for tom yum.  Everything else is super spicy without much depth.

Hey Ruthie. Welcome to Ferndale. As a life-long resident, I'm actually somewhat embarrassed that I haven't really hit up the local scene as much. I guess there's just something a bit too bar-like in the Ferndale scene that kind of turns me off from it. Go figure.

I haven't tried Via Nove, no, but then, Italian's not a big priority on my list. I'm pretty "Americanized Italian" when I go out to eat Italian, as I really want to enjoy what I order, rather than take a chance. One place I want to check out for Italian, though, is Giovanni's in Detroit on Oakwood, where they make their own pasta daily. I want to find out if the raves I've heard about it are really justified.

I take it that you haven't *had* the tom yum at Pi's Thai Cuisine, or your tune would be changed. If there's one thing I'll order at Pi's above all else, it's their tom yum. Out of this stinking world.

Not that there's anything wrong with Siam Spicy. Good place. I do prefer Pi's, though.

Glad to have you here!

I love Giovanni's. The homemade pasta is incredible, sauces are delicious and the wine list is lengthy and heavy on Italian.

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Heard some interesting things about Bambu, it turns out a woman I used to work with is married to a good friend of the chef. She started to tell me about the type of food that he was doing, but not being much of a foodie, she got me kind of lost. From what I understood I took it to be kind of a pan asian fusion style? If anyone can clarify it would be appreciated as I had been thinking about checking it out, but would like some more information as fusion has a tendancy to confuse and disappoint me .

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Heard some interesting things about Bambu, it turns out a woman I used to work with is married to a good friend of the chef. She started to tell me about the type of food that he was doing, but not being much of a foodie, she got me kind of lost. From what I understood I took it to be kind of a pan asian fusion style? If anyone can clarify it would be appreciated as I had been thinking about checking it out, but would like some more information as fusion has a tendancy to confuse and disappoint me .

I wouldn't even give it a second thought, terapinchef: go. I think that an "Asain fusion" menu is pretty appropriate, but I doubt you'll be disappointed if you go for dinner. Brandon's excellent ability in the kitchen at the L-Bow Room in Harper Woods has naturally skipped to his new location. Again, I wasn't really impressed with the Thai Chicken Wrap I had for lunch, but was *dying* to try the sea bass entree he had for that evening's menu. Unfortunately, I was a bit too early in the day, and even if the fish had arrived already (it hadn't), the preparation wouldn't have been ready.

He's a wonder with fish and seafood. I like his Thai fried rice but I'd also say that it's overpriced for what it is. Stick with his reasonably-priced fish entrees and you'll be quite pleased. *Absolutely* go for the crab cakes. Those are just fantastic. His dessert selection is something that I was only able to try at the L-Bow room, and I liked what I had, but can't remember what that was. I'd have tried something of the current dessert selection, but had to hurry out since I had a business call last Saturday that shortened my trip more than I would have liked.

Here's Molly Abraham's synopsis: http://info.detnews.com/restaurants/index....FTOKEN=82768766

She even says that it's not sheerly Asian, which is correct. I hardly think Butternut Squash Soup is Asian, which was a selection while I was there. Didn't have it myself, but was told it was very good.

I think you'll be pleased. If you're making an evening out of it, *make reservations*. We're talking 14 total seats in the establishment. I really like his food.

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  • 1 month later...

My wife and I had dinner at Crush again last night for her birthday. I admit that part of the reason was that they sent us a $15 birthday gift certificate as part of the rewards program I mentioned in my last Crush post.

We both enjoyed our meal -- I cleaned off all of my plates, which is a good sign.

We were there roughly between 6-7 on a Saturday. There were few diners when we arrived, and not many more when we left. Maybe it filled up later, but my wife half-joked that maybe this place isn't long for the world.

We ended up spending more than last time ($100 before discount and tip vs. $70) which was probably due to our both getting salads and my getting dessert in addition to the bread and entrees. As I noted in my last post, it's not the entrees that run up the bill here. For bread, we chose the French ladyslippers. We both had hearts of Romaine salad. I had mussels and linguini while my wife had filet mignon. I had creme brulee. We both had a glass of white (I had a "taste" size.) As I said above, I cleaned off all my plates, but the salad was my favorite part of the meal and the entree the part I'd quibble with, if forced to come up with something negative (pasta very slightly overdone and oily.)

We were amused by the choice of piped music. Maybe they're going for "hip and happening" rather than reposeful. (I prefer the latter, myself.)

Edited by Leonard Kim (log)
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After a rather quick but enthusiastic search, I have found that no one has meantioned my favorite wine store. In the Applegate Shopping Center, ie stripmall, on Northwestern north of 12 Mile is Cloverleaf(Market or Fine Wine or Liquor, I am not really sure) :biggrin: All I know is that this is one of only three places I know that just sells really, really good alcoholic beverages. Actually, thereare four places, but I am a little suspicious of the last one :hmmm:

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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  • 4 weeks later...

hello- In the Applegate Shopping Center(how much more off the beaten track can you get for a serious foodie?) are two of my favorite places: a wine-store called

Cloverleaf and an authentic French Pastry shop.No I don't know the name . :cool:

The Appelgate Shopping Center is at 12 Mile on Northwestern.

Edited by Naftal (log)

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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My two favorite not so known places-

Pain Dor- This is a Syrian bakery in the Agrussa plaza at Dequinder and Wattles in Sterling Hts. Their flat breads are magical, absolutely like none other I've ever had. They do huge assortment of flat breads from a mild white cheese with parsley to the traditional zataar to spiced meat to various vegetable flat breads. They also make a pocket sort of bread- not pita, though they make that too, but more like a roll sort of bread filled with various meat and vegetable mixtures. They also make spinach pies and broccoli filled fold over bread. The selection is almost endless and each one will blow you away. Be sure to try the long slender fat looking bread stick which is sprinkled with sesame seeds and filled with some sort of creamy white cheese.

The other place that I like a lot is across from The Eastern Market in the Planet Pizza shop. On Saturdays the space in the front of the shop is occupied by a French woman who sells her own French pastries, quiches etc. VERY NICE!

P.S. Boagman, my husband and I are so pleased that we discovered Scotty Simpsons because of your post about the place on another message board. I can't tell you how much we dig the place. There is no other fish and chip place anywhere that can hold a candle to Scotty Simpson's IMO. And the fellow who owns the place is ABSOLUTELY wonderful as are all of the folks who work there.

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Oh, I love Pain D'Or! i read about it on the internet last month (maybe from you!). I've only bought the zatar, on 3 different occasions. I'll try the other flatbreads now and flat pita. :wub:

The Agrusa international market in the plaza has some fun goodies too and great prices.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Annam (vietnamese) 22053 Michigan Ave, Dearborn

Yotsuba (sushi) 222 Hogback Ann Arbor

Paesano's (italian) 3411 Washtenaw Ave Ann Arbor

Eve (new american) 415 N. Fifth Ave Ann Arbor

If you have a coupon for it, you don't want it.

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My wife and I ate at Crust Pizza and Wine Bar tonight, in the strip mall on the southwest corner of Telegraph and Maple.

Here's the Metro Times review (of the Rochester location.)

http://www.metrotimes.com/guide/restaurant...iew.asp?id=9884

We had the spinach-artichoke dip, which was good, though the relative dearth of cheese was initially disorienting -- after all, this dish is synonymous with "heartstopping cheese dish" at bad American restaurants everywhere.

The chicken artichoke pizza was outstanding -- probably the best pizza texture I've had in the area (courtesy, I guess, of their 900 degree oven) and the toppings (chicken, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, asparagus) were delicious.

As noted in the review, the dessert concept is genius. $2 for a small portion which eliminates the need to "leave room for dessert." Tasty too.

I like the offering of wine flights too. You get three 2 oz servings of your choice, each costing less than a third of what you'd pay for a glass, though, as my wife grumpily noted, I ended up with more wine than she did in ordering a regular glass.

Contrary to the review (both the Metro Times and the Free Press), we didn't find it crowded or noisy, probably because we got there pretty early (before 6). Service was generally fine with a minor hiccup at the beginning (we asked for a few minutes to choose our wine, and our server disappeared a little longer than that.)

Prices seemed reasonable -- our appetizer, pizza, two glasses of wine, and two desserts came in under $40 before tip. They offer carryout. This certainly becomes an option, kid-friendly too, for us when we're in the area, which is reasonably often.

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Yeah, there are SE Michigan people, although few actual "metro Detroiters" really seem to post. As I noted over on another thread, http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=99068&st=60#,

there are some good options in Ann Arbor and Dearborn. I may be out of the loop, but Royal Oak hasn't really shown me anything yet, and downtown spots seem to come and go with some frequency.

Of course, the famous La Shish mini-chain is changing its name and breaking franchise deals, due to the original owner's political and legal problems.

Are you aware of the Michigan paradox? Two of the three best restaurants in the

state are hundreds of miles up-north (pronounced as one word), in a town the size of my living room. Tapawingo and the Rowe Inn are in a hamlet called Ellsworth, and making a trio with Tribute (which is down here, in Farmington Hills) are the three top venues.

If you have a coupon for it, you don't want it.

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I agree completely. Though I've been away for about a year (in Philadelphia), I have lived in metro detroit for most of my life and being in Philly has opened up my eyes a bit regarding the way a real restaurant city should be. Obviously the economy is always a factor when it comes to Detroit recently, but I am troubled by the overall lack of great restaurants in the metro area. Royal Oak, with all of its new lofts and development, really has hardly improved on its dining scene which has been comprised of places for sustinence either before or after the bar. I should note that vinotecca/bastone both have interesting menus and decor, but service (though not bad) isn't especially good. A handful of places in the city have opened that I was genuinely excited about, only to find six months later that they either didn't change anything about their entire menu, or tamed the creativity that my excitement was based on to begin with. Here in philly there is a genuine excitement within both the public, the media, and the industry when a new restaurant opens, even if it is a 30 seat byob in a remote area of the city. Industry members seem to all know each other, get along well, and dine at (and recommend) each others restaurants. I can name any restaurant in the city with a $20+ p/p check average and 90% of Philidelphians I talk to will give me a 10 minute review. In Detroit, many people have never heard of Tappewingo, The Lark, Tribute, Etc..... Is the lack of excitement in the Detroit dining scene due to the economy? The lack of interest from Detroiters? Is the lack of interest due to the lack of quality? Am I off-base and being over-critical of a city with hundreds of great restaurants? Since I have veered far off topic I will start another one here

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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*snore* -- looks like you've been recommended "the usual suspects". Beverly Hills Grill is way overrated, I think. Rattlesnake Club and the Whitney are in Detroit proper, about an hour from A2. Tribute is closer to A2, in Farmington Hills. I can give you directions if you need them. For sushi, there have been sushi places popping up all over the area like mushrooms. Noble Fish in Clawson is good and cheap, but you'll have to carry out. The local Japanese community tends to congregate at Musashi in Southfield and Sharaku in West Bloomfield.

Make sure you know whether you want to visit A2, Detroit, or the suburbs -- everything is really spread out, so you probably will not be able to cover that big of a geographic region. Do you have your itinerary already?

Are you visiting A2 for any special reason? (game, checking out the U-M, etc.?) If you're going to be in Ann Arbor, there are a few other places you should check out:

Zydeco (decent Cajun food -- make sure you order the bread pudding for dessert)

Ali Baba's (a cheap Middle Eastern restaurant near the law school)

Zingerman's (a legend. Go there to browse and drool. The sandwiches are a bit too pricey, IMHO, but definitely buy some bread and sample the cheeses)

Blue Nile (Ethiopian)

BTW, mlpc, sorry I didn't answer all your questions! I tend to be on the stingy side, and after one too many times of being disappointed by an expensive meal, I decided to focus more on my home cooking instead.

Gotta run. Happy eating!

With the exception of Yotsuba, I agree with the snore, completely. Try Paesano's for Italian -- Veneto-born chef Isabella, and a truly personable Wine Director, Chaad. Ask for him.

If you have a coupon for it, you don't want it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello- just a quicknote to say that I went to Fiddleheads yesterday and it was wonderful :wub:

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Somehow I missed this this weekend --

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A.../707210383/1042

Briefly, Don Yamauchi is leaving Tribute, where he was executive chef since 2005. No replacement has been found. Yamauchi is going to Detroit's MGM Casino Grand to be executive chef at two restaurants opening there in October: Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak and Saltwater.

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Somehow I missed this this weekend --

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A.../707210383/1042

Briefly, Don Yamauchi is leaving Tribute, where he was executive chef since 2005.  No replacement has been found.  Yamauchi is going to Detroit's MGM Casino Grand to be executive chef at two restaurants opening there in October: Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak and Saltwater.

I missed this too -- thanks for posting.

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My wife and I tried Crush tonight.  It's on the southwest corner of Thirteen Mile Rd. and Southfield.  It's fairly new and been getting quite a lot of press.

I just noticed that they've closed: Freep Article on the closing

The upscale Crush restaurant and wine bar in Southfield closed suddenly late last month, leaving customers wondering what happened.

I never got a chance to make it over there...

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