Metro Detroit dinner Saturday night
A couple places come to mind, both within walking distance of the opera house. Angelina's Italian Bistro and Cheli's Chili. I mention Cheli's because it's right across the street from the opera house and you mention picky kids. I'm sure they would have something the kids would like. Angelina's has great Italian food, but it may be more challenging to find something for the kids enjoy.
Shy away from Cheli's Chili. It's still not good, and I just proved it this weekend at a bachelor party I was at that had a meal there. $8.49 for a barely functional clubhouse sandwich with fries...but it wasn't my choice of venue, and it was about the groom-to-be. Honestly, though, he'd have preferred any number of other places to that one (say, Slows?). Cheli's food is just so much GFS garbage.
I think that the kids would really rather enjoy Angelina's, actually. While I don't see an actual "kids menu" on there, there are certainly things on the regular menu that would appeal to kids: the several different kinds of pizza especially, but there's several other things, too. Remember: kids are big time suckers for pasta. More than that, though, Angelina's is a good place to people watch, and I think the view is quite nice.
Wow. There's a world of choices out there for you! Farther afield than Angelina's or Cheli's--but still downtown, are Harry's Detroit, or Honest? John's Bar & (no)Grill. Neither are haut, but both are warm and bustling.
If you're looking to get out of the city, Ferndale and RO offer scores of good to great choices. Good luck with your pick.
I've said it before: whoever opens a family-friendly place with good food in the Detroit CBD or Midtown area is going to clean up. As it is now, I'd take 'em to Mexicantown. You could hit the big places like Xochimilco or go a bit more adventurous with El Comal on Vernor, and the kids would in either case have lots of snacky foods to choose from. I'd also be down with the Angelina suggestion. It's good new-line Italian food. I might not do it at the height of Saturday night, but if you're going in there early after a matinee it would work. They've got some great small pizzas there. Steps from the opera house door.
There are at least several hundred possabilities between Bloomfield and down town. How about giving us some idea on food preference and price point. Also what are "picky children"? How old? Vegetarians, don't like any thing but FF?
Howe's Bayou or Greektown come in towards the top of my list depending on the age of the kids.
--Angelina's is a good recommendation, but would be nervous with "picky" eaters. Pretty sophisticated Italian food (ie no fettucine alfredo on the menu.) and the pizza and not basic pepperoni. Check out the menu on line.
--The Detroit Beer Company is just across the street from the opera house and very kid friendly (I think they even have a kid's menu). Something for everyone and the food is actually pretty good. Shouldn't be too bad because there's no home Tigers game that day.
--Slow's is a popular destination. The BEST BBQ and about a 10 minute drive from the Opera house. Can get busy with no reservations, though. If you are arriving before 6ish, should be okay.
--The Traffic Jam is in midtown and one of my favourite pre/post show restaurants. Again, something for everyone.
--Unions Street is in Midtown and little more "bar-ry", but with lots of bar food, snacks, sandwiches etc. Family friendly early in the evening. Popular hangout with my colleagues from the DMC for lunch.
Most of these restaurants have menus on-line with a simple google search. Let us know what you pick!