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Detroit--which would you choose?

I'm a long time Detroiter and eat out a lot. We are stuck in a rut. Atlas Bistro, Slow's, Angelina's, Small Plates, Traffic Jam, Andiamo's and Detroit Beer Co are favorites. Special dinners at Coach Insignia.

Looking for a new place for Sunday after the Symphony. Tripadvisor/Yelp reviews are SO over the place for restaurants I'm looking at. What would you vote for?

Grille 24 (Book Cadillac)
Whitney (I worked here long ago, not impressed with brunch service.)
Cuisine (and worked with Chef Paul, who I didn't much like)

I'm leaning towards Iridescence. Or should I just go to Small Plates, which never disappoints?


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  1. I still would lean towards Roast....
    Second would be Iridescence....
    Although I have yet to hit up Mosaic.......

    Alas, I am one opinion along many.....

    1. My friend Donna and me were both *very* impressed with our experience at Iridescence...much to my very great surprise. Out of the choices, this would be my highest "Dive right in!" choice.

      If you want to dip your toe in the water (so to speak) at Roast, give this a try: every day from 4:30PM to 6:30PM, they have Cocktail hour. Yes, I realize that their website says it's just weekdays, but the person I talked to at the restaurant assured me that it's every day of the week. They offer $3 bites, which is an absolute *steal* for what they offer. They offer their stuffed poblano peppers with lamb sausage which are excellent, their bacon cheeseburger with fried egg which is also excellent, their "Beast of the Day" taco which is good and could be better depending on what the BotD is, chicken livers on polenta (which I didn't care for, but don't let that put you off...it's just not my taste, but it *could* be a great version of it!), some really good fries, etc. Plus, they have select draft beers and wines at a great discount during that time, too. All of this applies only to the bar seating. This is a *terrific* way to see if you're going to like Roast, I think.

      Cuisine I'm not impressed with based on my experience there. The facility itself is quite nice, but neither the food nor the service was any good. Only way I'm going back there is if someone else is paying.

      I haven't tried either Whitney nor Mosaic.

      Small Plates? It's really that good? I've never been able to pull the trigger on that place...the price-to-serving ratio just seems way off to me, making me believe that I'll leave hungry and far poorer. That and the fact that they failed rather miserably in Royal Oak just makes me stay away all the more. Am I assuming too much here?

      2 Replies
      1. re: boagman

        > Small Plates? It's really that good? I've never been able to pull the trigger on
        > that place ... Am I assuming too much here?

        I've visited twice. The food & staff were good; but nothing particularly special or

        1. re: rainsux

          Yeah ... competent for what it is, but not a "dinner out" place IMO.

          Was at Cuisine most recently during Detroit Restaurant Week and really had a good meal even though they were turning it out in bulk. Can also recommend Roast wholeheartedly, but you'd be better be a serious carnivore. Whitney is fun in itself, but I think the food has dropped a notch.

      2. I asked a similar question a while back and Cliff Bell's was suggested. Haven't been there yet but the menu looks great.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Rheta

          I've been to Cliff Bell's, and I can recommend it. Mind you, I was trying it on their "half off food" day of the week, which I'm not sure still exists, but the food I had was quite good, and I enjoyed myself a great bit. Only thing that sort of bothered me was a nearby smoker's cigarette, but that's not the establishment's fault.

          I'd go back.

          1. re: Rheta

            Cliff Bell's has terrific food and a very cool atmosphere. You are in a gorgeous old jazz joint with three wooden barrel ceilings. The menu is very interesting, the drinks are reasonable and they can make anything you desire. Make a reservation on the weekends for sure, the tables fill up.

          2. We have made a reservation for Iridescence. A friend has insisted it's his favorite restaurant, but I was hesitant from the bad review on Tripadvisor. I look forward to checking it out and will post my experience here.
            I'm surprised by the level of ambivalence towards Small Plates. We always have a consistently good meal and good service. But agree I always feel we paid a little too much for what we got...

            1 Reply
            1. re: SaraPA

              The ambivalence towards Small Plates in Royal Oak is for a reason . Not surprising they closed so quickly . The place sucked . Way over priced pedestrian fare brought slowly to your overcrowded noisy table . We went on a grownups night out walking tour of Royal Oak trying appetizers and drinks around town ( fun ! ) , and Small Plates was by far at the bottom of the list . Nothing was under or over cooked or anything , just really boring and expensive for what little bland food you got . I'd rather order the fried everything combo platter from Mr. B's/Woody's/anywhere . I make more interesting food for my children on a Tuesday night .

            2. Where would everyone suggest an after Symphony drink? We have been often to the Whitney, Union St/Majestic/TJ's, Detroit Beer Co, Angelina's and the Book Cadillac. Not looking for a club, just a grown up place to have a pre-dinner cocktail.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SaraPA

                Cliff Bells would be my first thought....

                That or right around the corner is the Park bar.


              2. Thanks for all the great advice....We headed to Cliff Bell's for a drink, but it looked...deserted. Only one grate was open and there were NO cars parked. We considered going to Centaur, but made our way to Motor Bar at the Westin Book Cadillac. What a great place! Quiet, adult with good well, made cocktails. For four cocktails plus an order of fresh, roasted nuts it was $50. Free parking garage just around the corner made it convenient.
                We LOVED Iridescence. Parking was easy and it was a short walk to the restaurant. It was nice to not have to walk through the casino to get to the restaurant. We were greeted and seated promptly at a nice banquette. I think these seats are nicer than those against the windows and actually provide a better view. Our waiter was professional, yet picked up on or casualness. We never once lacked for an empty wine glass or water glass. The shrimp appetizer was outstanding. Who ever thought that vanilla would go good with shrimp and corn ravioli? I ordered the Lyonnaisse salad, with the intent of sharing with my dining partner. Our waiter offered to split it for us--a nice touch. The Salmon entree was the winner for the night--fresh, original with peas, corn, potato cake and salmon roe. I had veal oscar which was a little less inspired, but not horrible. Presented as a whoel Veal cut with bernaise dribbled around the plate with pickled onions (?) and mushroom (?). Dessert was well presented but a little dry. Strawberries four ways--milkshake, NY cheescake, shortcake and sorbet. Lots of cakey things, but little sauce.
                Overall, we would return. The Veal was on the verge of being a clunker, but the service and atmosphere were outstanding.
                Lastly, I agree with other reviewers that the site lines for the view are weird. Our waiter said that they had put in the radiators before deciding where the restaurant would be.

                3 Replies
                1. re: SaraPA

                  Sorry about the Cliff Bells thing.....

                  It is open from 5pm till 2am on Sundays...I take it you were there earlier in the day.


                  1. re: SaraPA

                    I'm really glad that Iridescence was a great experience for you. Too bad about the veal, but I'm *right* with you on the vanilla with seafood...my friend Donna and me both had the vanilla with the seafood we had that night and were absolutely mesmerized by it. I believe it came with the shrimp we had, too. I also have to echo the water comment you made: it is a *major* pet peeve of mine when dining at a four or five star establishment and my water glass gets empty. Not here! Those guys were dedicated to their work, and I really appreciated it.

                    Donna and I had seats at the actual window itself, and while you may be right in that the view from further up might be better, we were actually quite taken with the table we had right there. The view, I can assure you, was still quite breathtaking, especially after dark, and I'd be hard-pressed to complain about that experience at all. Considering that my first experience with Iridescence made me believe that boiling water might be too difficult a challenge for them, my time there was very wonderful overall. Yes, they lost my reservation, but they seated us quickly, and it didn't bother us.

                    So Cliff Bells was closed? What time of day was this? That seems strange...sorry about that. Glad you still had fun at Motor Bar!

                    1. re: SaraPA

                      i tried iridescence for the first time a week and a half ago and it was very good. not exceptional, but very good.

                      nice room with a great view of the city.

                      service was exceptional. our waitress was a real pro.

                      beer selection in the bar was underwhelming - i settled for a sierra nevada, which is a good beer but short of what i was hoping for after a dortmunder gold at roast, and a good i.p.a. (can't remember where) and a good detroit beer co chocolate stout at 24 grille.

                      ordered a decent, moderately priced bottle of wine (simi cab)

                      we started with the tandoori scallops, which were good

                      my wife had a 5 oz filet, which she liked

                      i had the veal chop, which was very good and a perfect medium rare

                      i was really looking forward to desert but the rasberry layer cake we ordered fell a bit short

                      very good, but not excellent, but i would not be opposed to going back and trying it again.

                    2. Roast is wonderful, everything is so great we have been there like six times and each time the food is fantastic and the service good. The 24 Grille is also very good, been there twice and had really tasty food and very nice service.