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Big money to spend! Metro Detroit

w
wastedcalories Oct 25, 2012 04:54 PM

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.

  1. b
    berkleybabe Nov 14, 2012 04:16 PM

    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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: berkleybabe
      b
      boagman Nov 14, 2012 11:49 PM

      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!

    2. c
      cherie Nov 9, 2012 09:39 AM

      If it were me, ...
      The Lark, Cafe Cortina, Bacco, or Rugby Grill

      1. j
        jmax Nov 1, 2012 10:47 AM

        If you are interested in Forest Grill - I would go in the next few weeks. David is leaving soon -The current menu has some of his "greatest hits" on it and they may disappear once a new chef has taken over the kitchen.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jmax
          tokyo Nov 1, 2012 01:51 PM

          Whoa... Do you have a date for the changeover jmax? I definitely want to make this priority for my next trip to Detroit. Thanks for the tip.

        2. Fowler Oct 29, 2012 12:58 PM

          >>> 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
            w
            wastedcalories Oct 29, 2012 04:50 PM

            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
              b
              boagman Oct 29, 2012 05:03 PM

              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
                Fowler Oct 29, 2012 05:58 PM

                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
                  a
                  ak994 Oct 31, 2012 06:01 AM

                  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
                    TraderJoe Nov 15, 2012 06:31 AM

                    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
                      l
                      letoile Nov 15, 2012 05:54 PM

                      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.

                2. r
                  Rosedale Oct 25, 2012 08:21 PM

                  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. rainsux Oct 25, 2012 06:21 PM

                    The Lark
                    Forest Grill
                    Rugby Grill
                    Iridescence
                    Roast

                    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
                      v
                      VTB Oct 25, 2012 06:26 PM

                      RS, Cafe Cortina doesn't make your list?

                      1. re: VTB
                        rainsux Oct 26, 2012 09:31 AM

                        Snort!

                        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
                          b
                          boagman Oct 26, 2012 11:48 AM

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

                          1. re: rainsux
                            w
                            wastedcalories Oct 27, 2012 04:08 PM

                            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.

                        2. re: rainsux
                          w
                          wastedcalories Oct 27, 2012 04:09 PM

                          What would you pick out of that 5?

                          1. re: wastedcalories
                            rainsux Oct 27, 2012 08:45 PM

                            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
                              b
                              boagman Oct 27, 2012 09:33 PM

                              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
                                rainsux Oct 28, 2012 11:11 AM

                                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
                                menu.

                                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
                                w
                                wastedcalories Oct 29, 2012 04:55 PM

                                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
                                  b
                                  bellmont Oct 31, 2012 12:24 PM

                                  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. g
                            grouper Oct 25, 2012 06:00 PM

                            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. a
                              Allieroseww Oct 25, 2012 05:09 PM

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

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