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.
I highly recommend Michael Symon's Roast in the Book Cadillac, downtown. Great wine list and great charcuterie.
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.
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-
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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. ;)
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.
The Lark, for sure! Two of the best meals I've had were there - coupled with very signifcant personal moments, which is why we chose it --- one joyful, one joyful after sadness.
Our last venture included three 20-year olds and we included the wine flight as well -- good choice. Price came to at least $150/piece so I think you could up the ante on your meal easily with some bubbly or pricey after dinner drink or additional wine at dinner.
The food is wonderful, but the service and ambiance are what are really memorable -- no rush, professional service, wonderful pacing of the food. Even the better losers will enjoy this tremendously.
I hope you do go there... in any case, post what you decide! Hey, if you're on a roll, get a lottery ticket on the way.
One very interesting aspect to The Lark (at least I think it is) is that, with only a few exceptions, if you want more of *any* dish that you've ordered, they'll provide more at no additional charge. So if you have a "home run" dish or two, you can repeat that while you're still there. I think that's a marvelous thing. Again: it's not every single stinking dish (I think the Rack of Lamb and King Crab legs are exceptions), but probably 90% of what's there.
If nothing else, that's certainly a unique policy, and you might as well take advantage of it! You're there, you're paying through the nose anyway (not that their prices aren't warranted), and you've hit upon a special dish...you might as well go for more!