Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DRW, Fin

Well, it was "fin" three days ago, if that gives you any indication of the kind of weekend that I had.

Yes, the final weekend of the first-ever Detroit Restaurant Week was a whirlwind of great food and great people, all celebrating the great success of DRW. Sure, perhaps it was a little preemptory, but once we received word that there was not a single reservation for a single participating restaurant available on Friday or Saturday, it definitely seemed time for a little congratulatory cheers-ing.

I don't have the final counts yet (will most likely "tweet" them, so keep an eye on the sidebar), but preliminary word from the restaurants has been extremely enthusiastic and they seem to unanimously agree that they haven't seen cover counts like this in years and eagerly anticipate the next one. Imagine that: dining rooms at 17 of Detroit's finest dining destinations packed full on a Wednesday night...weekend reservations as hard to get as reservations at Manhattan's Aureole on Valentine's Day...people positively buzzing about the restaurants...THIS is how it should be.

One thing I noticed happening a lot that intrigued me was just how excited people were to talk about it. I saw it everywhere: on Facebook, people excitedly chattered on threads commenting on statuses like, "At Mosaic now! Atlas tomorrow!" followed by "Have you tried the Whitney yet?" and "Can't wait for the Rattlesnake!" from their friends. I received emails from people asking where I would recommend and proudly announcing their own reservations for the week. Even in group settings (such as the Supper Club I held at Detroit Fish Market last Wednesday during Restaurant Week), people buzzed excitedly over where they've been so far, where they plan to go next, and which places they were most excited about visiting.

The winner? The Rattlesnake Club. That 1 1/4 lb. lobster for $27 had everyone's mouth watering, though I'd have to say the foie gras a-go-go at 24 Grille most tantalized my tastebuds.

I also heard a lot of chatter over when the next Restaurant Week would take place and that people wanted to see it happen more than once a year. Never fear, pets...plans are in the works.

In the meantime, you can continue to enjoy discounted prices a la Restaurant Week at a number of participating restaurants. The Rattlesnake Club will continue to offer the very same DRW menu through October. Wolfgang Puck Grille already offers 3-course prix fixe meals on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for $29. Other restaurants (such as the Whitney) are contemplating adding a prix fixe $40 menu to their regular menu year-round, while still others (Iridescence) have dramatically reduced prices. Plus, there's always my monthly Supper Clubs, at which you will have the distinct pleasure of dining with ME!

While part of the fun is being caught in the Restaurant Week buzz, it is still good to know that diners can still get great deals on dining at other times, and that the restaurants seem to be responding to the demands of their clientele.

What else can I say? It was a blast and I was absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. I am already looking forward to the next one (and it will probably take me that long to recover from this one!). And if you missed it this time around...dear God, WHY???