Check out these new restaurantsMetromix and Free Press staff
March 24, 2008
Created by award-winning celebrity chef Michael Mina of San Francisco, SaltWater is by far the most sophisticated of MGM Grand Detroit's top-tier restaurants. The food is beautifully presented and deceptively complex, typified by dishes such as miso-glazed sea bass with shrimp dumplings, baby bok choy and shiitake mushroom consommé and Mina's signature Maine Lobster Pot Pie, which is plated at your table from its copper pot.
Bourbon Steak has an edgy, contemporary look with a dining room that morphs from bright light and sparkly glass to salvaged bricks and industrial beams in the darker, more atmospheric areas in the back of the room. There, through a glass wall, you can watch the chefs searing thick steaks and chops over live wood fires. Choose your steak from three breeds of beef: all-natural Piedmontese, American-raised Kobe or real A5-grade Japanese Kobe, rarely seen in the United States. Least expensive of the three is the Piedmontese.
The most casual of MGM Grand Detroit's three signature restaurants, Wolfgang Puck Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a tavern section and a main dining room. At both, plates are handsomely presented and deliver the big, distinctive flavors that helped make Puck an internationally known celebrity chef. At dinner, entrees include dishes such as his signature seafood risotto with shrimp, crab and lobster, and fork-tender braised beef short ribs with parsnip puree and roasted root vegetables. Puck's famous thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas are available at lunch and nightly in the tavern.
Just when we think old dogs have shown us all their tricks, along comes a nice surprise like the new Tom's Oyster Bar in Rochester Hills in the Papa Joe's Gourmet Market complex on Rochester Road. It's not only owner Tom Brandel's most polished and attractive restaurant but it also represents his most sophisticated food and menu to date.
This uber-cool sushi and Asian fusion restaurant seems perfect for Royal Oak, where the dining scene enjoyed a renaissance last year with the arrival of three new upscale venues: Ronin, Town Tavern and a larger version of Detroit's Small Plates. Sushi is the star at Ronin, where head sushi chef Kaku Usui serves 22 kinds of nigiri and more than 30 beautiful rolls.
The dramatic, Asian-accented Chen Chow Brasserie in downtown Birmingham is two venues. In front, it's an exotic, atmospheric lounge with a glowing, back-lit onyx bar. In back, it's a sprawling multilevel sushi and Asian fusion restaurant that feels surprisingly intimate. There are circular booths beneath bell-shaped wooden cages, tables behind curving metal bars and an elevated central area where you'll feel like a VIP.
Handsome guys in blousy black pants and white shirts stride through the dining room carrying swords impaled with hunks of rotisserie-roasted beef, lamb, chicken or sausages. And they keep bringing it to your table until you ask them to stop. It's churrascaria dining -- Brazil's version of the steakhouse. The all-you-can-eat feast of meats includes unlimited trips to a bar of salads, vegetables, cheese and pasta, for a fixed price of $39.99 at dinner or $19.99 at lunch.
From its retro-cool, 1950s-modern décor to its eclectic menu, everything about Modern Food & Spirits is inventive and original. Husband-and-wife chef-owners Francis and Kim Stanton make everything in house and use fresh, interesting ingredients, yet entrees with soup or salad included are mostly in the teens. In fact, prices are delightfully low across the board. Starters are $6, sandwiches are $8, and even the hand-selected wines by the glass are $7 or less.
This national chain opened its first metro Detroit location last January in Livonia's College Park development on Haggerty Road, and it was an instant hit. Ditto its downtown Birmingham location, which opened in March. Fleming's is known for its elegantly appointed interiors, its house-aged prime steaks and an award-winning wine list that features 100 selections available by the glass.