Thursday, September 22, 2011

[HOT LIST] Detroit Restaurant Week

The bar at Roast. (photo by Nicole Rupersburg)

Launched in 2009 at a time when the city needed a lift even more than usual, Detroit's Restaurant Week has grown from modest beginnings into something approaching a full-on celebration of the city's diverse and worthy dining scene. From tomorrow through Sunday, October 2, you'll be able to choose from 21 city restaurants offering special prix-fixe menus at the discounted price of $28 per person. Since there aren't 21 days to try them all, we've gone ahead and selected five of our favorites for this round, plus a few more to have your eye on.

#1 The best one Iridescence
Restaurant Week is the perfect time to dip your toes into the water at this fine-diner, located high atop the Motor City Casino. Their fun and accessible special menu includes pork buns, a kobe burger, an upscale twist on the classic perch plate and dessert from award-winning pastry chef Patricia Nash. Ask for seating on the upper level to take advantage of those great skyline views.

#2 The hip one Roast
Michael Symon's spectacular Washington Boulevard spot has been a downtown favorite since the day it opened, thanks to their housemade charcuterie, their talent for finding great meat and cooking it simply but beautifully, not to mention those fun desserts. Incidentally, you'll be able to sample all of the above, off their special menu for the week. Make sure to book a table, to avoid disappointment.

#3 The surprise one Wolfgang Puck Grille
The man has his name on cans of soup at the grocery store. He probably has to use Google Maps to find his way to his own restaurants, there are no so many of them. How good could this one be? Thanks to a talented team in the kitchen at this MGM Grand sleeper, the answer is, happily, quite. A simple but tasty special menu includes staples like ricotta gnocchi, ribeye steak and dobos torte for dessert. There – that's your dinner sorted.

#4 The secret one La Dolce Vita
Too many Detroiters don't even know about this Palmer Park jewel, hiding in plain sight just off Woodward Avenue near Six Mile. A holdover from a sweeter time, the menu is Italian, the indoor-outdoor atmosphere is just a tiny bit SoCal, though maybe that's just their Sunday Brunch scene that's clouding our judgement. A first-timer to the DRW, and a must-experience.  
#5 The classic one Roma Café
Serving up Italian food to hungry Detroiters since 1890, this Eastern Market stalwart is one of the oldest surviving restaurants in the entire United States. The menu sometimes reads like something you'd find in a museum – we'll have the perch meunière, please – the same museum that loaned out some of the restaurant's déco. And waitstaff, come to think of it. As befits a setting like this, you want to go classic all the way – minestrone, some pasta or some chicken parm, an order of cannoli and un 'spresso. Done.

BUBBLING UNDER: Caucus Club (for its classic appeal), Atlas Global Bistro (for interesting cooking), Saltwater (for good seafood), Angelina Italian Bistro (for its pleasing, modern rustic Italian ethic). 

For menus and information for all participating restaurants, visit