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Oct 25, 2012 04:54 PM

Big money to spend! Metro Detroit

Having won a bet with some friends, they now owe me dinner at a restaurant of my choice, with the budget for my meal up to $300. This is in Metro Detroit, which should basically mean I can eat where ever I want, whatever I want, with generous appetizers, cocktails, wine, etc.

So what I'm looking for, where in Detroit can I get the finest meal when cost is not a consideration. Actually it is a consideration, how can I maximize my spending so that the meal is both high quality and no holds barred extravagant?

Strangely enough, I get two similar meals like this in the near future, the other one due to an award from my company. I chose Coach Ensignia for that meal.

So any ideas? I'm toying with the Lark, and Capital Grille.

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  1. I highly recommend Michael Symon's Roast in the Book Cadillac, downtown. Great wine list and great charcuterie.

    1. Nice bet to win! I had to reread to make sure it was just for you and not for four or something like that. I would say The Lark but there are so many places.
      Please let us know where you end up and what you had.

      1. The Lark
        Forest Grill
        Rugby Grill

        Or; take fourteen of your friends to Trizest! <g>

        Based on our last two [2] vists - you can do better than Coach Insignia. The entire operation
        was coarse. Not the well-oiled, trustworthy machine that it used to be.

        10 Replies
        1. re: rainsux

          RS, Cafe Cortina doesn't make your list?

          1. re: VTB


            I'd also encourage you to consider Due Venti, The Root and Morels.

            How many people must this windfall feed? With or without wine? I would also call ahead, and explain your budget and prefs, and ask each of them to propose a full dinner menu with wine pairings.

            1. re: rainsux

              Oh, yeah...*Chef's Table* their behinds! That'll teach'em! ;)

              1. re: rainsux

                There will be 4 of us at the meal, but each of the other 3 must contribute up to $100 toward my meal, along with whatever their meal costs. Good idea about calling ahead to get something special set up.

              1. re: wastedcalories

                I am unable to pick-just-one from the eight (8) that I have mentioned because I am fickle.
                For me, where I go is a complex function of my dining companions, our comfort, the
                ambiance that I seek, the expected service level/attentiveness and (gasp) MY MOOD. Am
                I interested in playing it safe? Or; being challenged with something new/wonderful?

                My thoughts; in no particular order:

                - Frankly; $600 for four is a healthy check, but not gonna rock the house. Most of these
                restaurants' wine cellars have single bottles that will easily exceed $600. They also should
                be able to do damn fine, no excuses, no apologies feed for four.

                - How many courses are you expecting? Personally; I loved the 12 & 16-course meals we
                had at Trizest. Lots of opportunity to try new things without significant risk of choosing
                something that just doesn't work with my (goat) palate. Are you willing to consider a tapas-
                like meal?

                - Study the on-line menus. What appeals? More importantly; what is UNappealing?

                - Call them; IF they're willing to spend the time to LISTEN ... then THINK ... and respond
                within 48 hours.

                I am GUESSING that The Lark and Roast are probably gonna be the least interested in a
                discussion. But both certainly deserve a chance.

                Morels is the re-boot for Matt Prentice; after a business and personal bankruptcy ... and
                loss of his life's work. I have seen him in the kitchen on three of my visits; I do not know
                him ... but suspect that he MIGHT be cooperative in a Chef's Table approach with a tailored
                menu w/wine pairings.

                Ditto for Forest Grill. But, it is Birmingham, and your $600 will not go as far as it will in
                Farmington Hills (Morels), Clawson (Due Venti) or Highland (The Root).

                Gastronomy (that's #9) is still new-enough that they might be cooperative in a Chef's Table.
                Evan's review was positive.

                1. re: rainsux

                  Hey RS: is Due Venti in Clawson really worth the splurge? I haven't been there yet, and you know what a Giovanni's fan I am...does DV hold its own?

                  1. re: boagman

                    Due Venti is not what I consider the typical/classic Italian restaurant (nee:
                    Giovanni's). The menu changes with the (growing) season(s). I fondly recall a
                    wonderful cassoulet back in the cold months.

                    Due Venti is not a bargain operation ... but I do enjoy their changing menu and
                    kitchen skills. The waitstaff is knowledgeable and attentive, without hovering.

                    My only criticism is (was?) the lighting level (lack of) ... but that may have changed.
                    On our last visit I did not have to use my smartphone as a flashlight to read the

                    The space is small and the tables are a tad (too?) close together. If the party at the
                    adjacent tables are boisterous or morbidly obese, it may become unpleasant. It is
                    also one of the reasons why I prefer their patio ... but that season will have to wait
                    until a year with a '3' in it.

                  2. re: rainsux

                    I'd love a tapas style meal, that'd be a home run for me.

                    Last really good meal I splurged on was in Cambridge, MA at Craigie on the Main, which does an amazing chef's sampler.

                    1. re: wastedcalories

                      If you liked Craigie on Main, I'll recommend Forest Grill.
                      I've had excellent dinners at both. FG is a little more sedate than CoM.

              2. I'd recommend the London Chop House, everything ala carte should eat up your $$. Great food, great wine list, great service. And a gold brick sundae for dessert

                1. >>> I'm toying with the Lark, and Capital Grille.<<<

                  If your target cuisine and service is Capital Grille in Troy, most of the recommendations you have received will not be close to what you are looking for.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Fowler

                    Really? Could you explain further?

                    I don't really have a target cuisine. Primarily just trying to get the finest meal and restaurant experience I can buy for $300. Lark, Capital, and all the recommendations all seem like they are in the same general class of dining in metro detroit.

                    1. re: wastedcalories

                      Honestly, I don't understand the draw of Capital, considering that it's a chain experience that can basically be had in several cities. It's a higher-end experience, yes, but it's still a chain. I would think that the money would be better spent on an experience you can't have elsewhere...but that's just me.

                      Besides, to me, steakhouses are almost always overrated.

                      1. re: wastedcalories

                        So why ask the question if you already have made up your mind that Capital Grille (of all places) is in the same "general class" as other options suggested?

                        1. re: wastedcalories

                          For me the distinction is that while Capital Grille is solid and predictable (if you're a fan of upscale steak houses, which I'm generally not) you'd be precluding the "surprise and delight" factor many of us appreciate in the independent, more creative restaurants.

                          I'd go with Forest Grill, and I'd probably try Gastronomy where I've not yet been but which comes highly recommended by friends. Even though I'm usually extremely Southfield-averse...

                          Roast is always good, but I guess it doesn't seem all that special to me now that I've talked myself into believing I can sort of afford it. Funny how that excellent, high-value Happy Hour menu contributes to an overall aura of affordability!

                          1. re: wastedcalories

                            Lark, Capital, and all the recommendations all seem like they are in the same general class of dining in metro detroit.

                            While it may "seem" that way they are truly worlds apart. I actually like the Capital Grille and high end steak houses in general for that matter but the Troy unit is by far the poorest example of a Capital Grille I have ever been to. The Troy unit is in the Sommerset mall. They draw on mall labor. The servers wear aprons that are for lack of a better descriptive...filthy. Service is sub-par in comparison to the other suggestions you have and the steak quality has really gone down hill.
                            Again I like the Capital Grille and if you go in Chicago the experience is not the same as in other cities simply because it's a Chain.
                            Based on your list of suggestions I'd say the Lark stands out by a considerable margin. There's a reason it's been the restaurant of the year and still thrives.
                            Enjoy your winnings no matter where you go. ;)

                            1. re: TraderJoe

                              I agree. The Capital Grille in Troy is PATHETIC. I took my parents there for fathers day. The soup and bread was the best thing about the meal. The meat and salads were forgettable.

                              I wanted to treat my parents to this, and it was embarassing to pay $400+ for 3 people and to sit in a booth that had MULTIPLE rips in the 'p'leather.