Monday, April 16, 2012

[HOT LIST] Detroit Restaurant Week - A Room With a View

Iridescence. Photo courtesy of Motor City Casino.

Detroit Restaurant Week Spring 2012 starts this Friday, April 20th - 10 days, 21 restaurants, $28 three-course menus ... how does one decide? Each restaurant has its own unique aesthetic and culinary style. Maybe looking at the menus is all you need to help make your decision, or maybe there is a specific kind of ambiance you seek. Each of the participating restaurants is majestic in its own right, whether it be for its exceptional interior design or nostalgic throw-back appeal (looking at you, Roma Cafe; you too, Caucus Club). But if you're really looking for a room with a view, these places offer the best perches in the city.

#1 Iridescence (Motor City Casino)
Hour Detroit's 2011 "Restaurant of the Year" deserves accolades for more than just its exceptional cuisine (and make no mistake, as far as haute cuisine goes this is the absolute finest in metro Detroit and probably even all of Michigan). While some might argue that the Motor City Casino is a bit of an eyesore  (Christopher Cook, in that same Hour review, describes it as a "giant toaster"), once inside this 16th-floor two-story restaurant the garish outside matters naught - 40-foot windows give a panoramic view of Detroit's southern skyline - which, granted, is basically the Lodge freeway and a bunch of mostly-uninteresting buildings (the river is too far to be visible and the downtown skyline is only a far corner), but taken en masse at that height it's actually quite breathtaking.

#2 Coach Insignia (GM Renaissance Center)
Speaking of panoramic views ... Coach Insignia, of the Epicurean Restaurant Group formerly known as Matt Prentice Restaurant Group that is no longer affiliated with Matt Prentice, takes up the entire 71st and 72nd floors of the GM Renaissance Center center tower. Depending on the corner of the restaurant you're in, you may have a vertigo-inducing view of the Detroit River and Windsor skyline (from the elevator, bar and main dining room) or the absolute best view of the entire city of Detroit (from the larger rooms typically reserved for parties). It has the distinct honor of being the highest hotel restaurant in the Western Hemisphere; but take note, you may have a hard time with it if glass elevators and heights freak you out.

#3 Andiamo Detroit Riverfront (GM Renaissance Center)
Also in the Ren Cen, Andiamo offers an equally stunning view of the riverfront but on the ground level. Acrophobes can relax and sun-worshippers can enjoy the large outdoor patio right next to the Detroit Riverwalk. Day or night, indoor our out, the waterside dining offers stunning views of the river and the Windsor skyline.

#4 Fountain Bistro (Campus Martius)
Right in the heart of the Central Business District in downtown Detroit, smack-dab in the middle of Campus Martius Park, Fountain Bistro offers some of Detroit's best outdoor dining. Watch the fountain of Campus Martius from the massive wall-to-wall windows inside, or sit right next to it on their expansive patio. Surrounded on all sides by the towering skyscrapers of the financial district, this is urban outdoor dining at its finest.

#5 The Rattlesnake Club (Detroit Riverfront)
Located just off of the Detroit River, the Rattlesnake Club features a beautifully-landscaped "Garden Terrace" with a potted herb and vegetable garden and granite-topped tables with views of the river, as well as a second patio featuring a marble and cedar bar. Because the 'Snake is tucked away behind Stroh River Place, the space is quiet and exclusive.

Bubbling under Mosaic (Greektown), Cliff Bell's (Foxtown), Roma Cafe (Eastern Market), Angelina Italian Bistro (Grand Circus Park), the Whitney (Midtown)