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Jan 30, 2012 08:40 PM

Mom's Birthday Restaurant Recommendation [DTW]

Alright, Detroit 'hounds, I have quite a challenge for you! I'm looking for a restaurant at which to celebrate my mom's birthday, but this is a challenge because:

1) My parents live in Hawaii, and are visiting for a few days around the time of my mom's birthday, so this isn't just a birthday dinner, but also would be nice if it were somewhere to sort of give my parents a good idea/impression of Detroit

2) It should be somewhere nice (i.e. not a family restaurant or coney type place), but not excessively upscale (i.e. Roast, Whitney, Mosaic type places). My parents also aren't the most avante-garde of eaters; they appreciate good food, but wouldn't be into something too trendy or ultra-modern.

3) We're also inviting my in-laws, who are even LESS avante-garde eaters than my parents. They're good ol' meat and potatoes type, perfectly happy eating at the Country Chef every week. They don't really like "ethnic" foods. They also have some mobility issues, so it has to be a restaurant with an adjacent parking lot -- parking a block away won't really work for them.

4) The perfect place would be a Zingerman's Roadhouse. But we're looking for something in the Troy, Royal Oak, Birmingham areas, preferably.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

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  1. Modestly speaking, and only because I can't help myself but to vote, I gotta go Picano's here. Sure, some of their dishes are only decent, but others are subtly exquisite. Not a great value, but a decent value. Old school suburban Italian American. Supreme for its day, but now eclipsed by fancy Italian gourmet hotspots (Cafe Cortina type places, better known to Rainsux than by me).

    2 Replies
    1. re: VTB

      Thanks, VTB, this is actually a really good suggestion. I've never been to Picano's myself, so this could be a good time to try it. Both sets of parents/in-laws like Italian food, and would definitely prefer this type of place to what you call "fancy Italian gourmet hotspots".

      1. re: VTB

        > Cafe Cortina

        Been there twice. Not my kind'a place.

      2. How 'bout Recipe? Crooks, just south of Big Beaver. I think they still have a dinner service. Or; O'Mara's in Berkley. Sweet Lorraine's in Southfield.

        Reservations are probably wise @ Sweet Lorraine's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rainsux

          I was going to suggest Sweet Lorraine's as well...I took my dad and his wife when they were visiting, neither of whom are "gourmets", and everyone was happy with the food and atmosphere.

        2. Howe's Bayou? In Ferndale in the block north of Nine Mile on Woodward.

          Cajun inspired, but easy on the palate.

          Always been an easy to enjoy dining experience for us.

          1. I would suggest the Holly Hotel. But that doesn't give an idea/impression of Detroit. Nor is it in your desired area. But it fits the bill, otherwise! It's just a comfortable place with excellent food; feels fancy and special, but not stuffy. What about Beverly Hills Grill?

            3 Replies
              1. re: amandaqtpie

                My parents really like O'Mara's in Berkley (mentioned earlier by RS) , which I think would meet all of your qualifiers. I haven't been there myself.

                As for Beverly Hills Grill, I'm not a big fan, but I do seem to be in the minority on that one. They've been in business for quite some time, but I find it overpriced and ho-hum at best. Nothing at all exceptional, food-wise, but maybe for the crowd you're speaking of, that's fine. *Lots* of people seem to like the place quite a bit.

                1. re: boagman

                  Consider the Clawson Steak House. It's a good American classic - Been in business for over 50 years. Good steaks and a "retro" feel to the place. It's always been a favorite with the cocktail crowd!

              2. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. I think Beverly Hills Grille might be about the best option for us. O'mara's and Sweet Lorraine's are a little too casual for this occasion, but BHG is just "fancy" enough. Thanks for the help!