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Jan 30, 2008 06:01 PM

Valentines day in Detroit area

any recs for an awesome valentines day dinner ---- i want to be spoiled with good food and a good time

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    1. re: royaloaker

      I recommend Puck's Grille at MGM. Very good food and service. Everything made in house. You could also try the Beverly Hills Grille or Jeremy both very good as well. And definitely listen to Royal Oaker--don't go to Chen Chow unless you want to be pissed off.

      1. re: gastronomical

        i almost want to go to chen chow just to see how bad the place is. 95% of all the chowhound feedback has been very negative. amazing.

        1. re: xman887

          Yeah, I actually wrote an email to Molly Abraham at the News to tell her that her initial review was "premature," based on what I've been seeing here. Almost to the person, *everyone* says that it's a beautiful place...with food and service that, over multiple visits (and sometimes with even just one), falls *way* short on quality.

          Pretty girls are a dime a dozen, just like pretty restaurants are. Until they figure out that being in Birmingham only goes so far toward keeping good word of mouth going, I'll pass. There are just too many other places I'd rather spend my money on.

          1. re: xman887

            That's pretty funny...I can imagine your interest. It's really that bad, simply amazing bad. Go for a drink there, observe, check out the dining room, and then eat at Mitchell's, Cameron's, or Flemings.

      2. My experience at Pucks was rather anemic. I have yet to have a great meal at any of the Pucks locations I have been to.
        My picks for the greater Detroit area for a great Valentines dinner;

        The Lark
        The Whitney
        Opus one
        il postino

        10 Replies
        1. re: Docsknotinn

          Hmmm...I've had several dishes at Puck's and they've all been very good, not the best, but far from anemic...Solid food. You made some good choices, but I think, while they asked for an amazing experince, it's an easy way out to recommend THEE most expensive places in town. Of your choices I'd go with the Lark.

          1. re: gastronomical

            The OP asked for an awesome Valentines dinner not solid food. I agree the best seem to be the most expensive however compared to other cities like Chicago, NY etc theese are all fairly reasonable for fine dining. They also asked to be spoiled and for me that's just not something I equate with a casino but it is subjective . Easy or not IMO theese are the best of Detroit in the fine dining and romantic category that would suggest Valentines. The Lark is definatly a stand out for me but I have to admidt I really like all of the others as well.

            1. re: gastronomical

              I totally agree with gastronomical as Opus 1 isn't that great and is over-priced and nothing special, same with The Whitney, IMO. I like Puck's alot and have been there several times without a complaint. Saltwater is nice but i didn't enjoy Bourbon though (may have been an off nite and it was in their first 2 weeks of being open.) The Lark would be my pick from the above mentioned. I would recomend The Lark, Puck's, Saltwater, Tribute, and the Rugby Grille. I wouldn't go to the Melting Pot for anything more than the classic swiss cheese fondue, as it is over-priced for you doing the cooking and the products used are far from quality.

              1. re: buttermonkey

                Hmm. I don't agree with your synopsis of Opus One; I rather like it. I have never had a bad experience there. Just like any place else, they make an error now and then, but they're quick to correct such things, and they make amends well. Any error they do make, however, is usually unimportant to the nature of a meal or evening, and their service is *always* top-notch. I think you're short-changing them a good bit.

                I like The Lark as well as a romantic destination, but the prices there are steeper than Opus One by a decent margin, and they're not perfect, either: last time I was there, they ran out of one of the cold cart appetizers, and had to substitute roast beef for smoked salmon. Um, that's *not* an equal substitute. How can you run out of an appetizer when there's only, what, 14 seats in the whole place?

                Your comments on the Whitney...are they based on the Whitney of old, or have you been there since the new management took over? It may be time to take a trip back there and get a new opinion of the place.

                We agree on Rugby Grille. I think that that's a great, and nicely romantic, spot for a couple. Probably booked for Valentine's Day, as is every place you mentioned, I'll bet.

                Agreed on Melting Pot, too. Wrong kind of place for this event.

                1. re: boagman

                  I agree boagman I've never been dissapointed with Opus one. If any thing they have proven to be very consistant. Tribute is shadow of what it once was. The Whitney has been re-born and IMO is better than ever. I'm not a fan of the melting pot but I can see why others might enjoy it. The whole casino gig I just don't get. Park a mile away, wade through banks of obnoxious drinking people thronging to slots to get to a restaurant with mediocre food and an uninspiring menu. I just don't see a chain inside a Detroit casio as romantic.
                  il Postino is an excellent pick for Valentines as well. I like value as much as the next person but it rarely goes hand in hand with a romantic pampared meal like the OP is asking for.

                  1. re: boagman

                    opus is kind of funny for me. food is good. service is good. nice room. but the place falls a little short for me. something intangible. the vibe or something. just a little hollow inside. maybe its the location - desolate building in the middle of nothing just between the business district and i-75. aside from a rare business lunch that is a short walk from my office, i never consider going there.

                    on a side note, is the pizza(?) place across the street any good. never been and don't know anybody that has been there.

                    i am a big lark fan.

                    i can't wait to try the whitney again. is clarence still at the upstairs bar?

                    here's one that nobody has mentioned - cafe cortina. the place oozes with atmosphere (sit near the fireplace). the food is very good. and the service is way over the top. pricey for italian but it is a good place for a special occaision. my wife and i had a wonderful anniversary meal there a few years ago.

                  2. re: buttermonkey

                    Yeah I really didn't want to get into it...I simply picked the Lark because it is a no brainer--the best of the choices Doc suggested. It never occurred to me that Puck's was in the casino and that was a bad thing...I'm not a gambler, so I walk past all the derelicts tossing coins in the machines and staring at the flashing lights, and simply enjoy some hot delicious food. I really think the others, Opus, Whitney, etc are overpriced and overrated. I've been to them all, but perhaps I do need to go to The Whitney again as another poster mentioned it has changed hands.

                    1. re: gastronomical

                      "It never occurred to me that Puck's was in the casino"

                      Have you ate at Pucks???? If the Lark is a "No brainer" then why not suggest it? The Lark gets my vote for Valentines. It's Hour magazines restaurant of the year but IMO is not that much better than Opus one or the Whitney except in location.

                      1. re: Docsknotinn

                        I meant that figuratively...Yes I have eaten there several times, and have tried 15 or so items off their menus now and I gotta say not one was disappointing. You made a comment about how it was in the casino...My point was it didn't impact my opinion of it or decision to eat there. The Lark is so easy to suggest it's the pinnacle of fine cuisine in our area, blows the others out the water...I'm saying it's the No Brainer on your list, as in where I would take your recommendation--I view the others on your list as overpriced and overrated and not in the same league as the Lark.

                        1. re: gastronomical

                          Gotcha. I think I was just reading that the wrong way and I was wondering if you had a poor experience there. It's kind of a shame but some seem to slip a bit after getting the restaurant of the year title. I haven'y been to the Beverly Hills grill in some time. If you get a chance to try the Whitney again give it another try.

              2. Today's Free Press has a piece on the 10 best (arguably) new places in Detroit. The operative word is "new" but it's worth a glance.

                1. For a great dining experience, try the Melting Pot, Nothing really special about the food, but there is plenty of it and it is a fun outing. The full course will take you about 1 1/2 hours. Great wine selection and they will even hook you up with roses for that someone special. Lots of fun!

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