24 Grille

>> Thursday, September 29, 2011

  Friday, Sept 23rd 2011.
The 2nd Detroit Restaurant Week of the year.

Tonight we are just Three:  The Greek, Scarlet and I are only graced by the presence of Lulu long enough for one glass of wine...sigh.
24 Grille is located in the historic Westin Book-Cadillac building.  The decor is lovely and the outside patio looks like a fun option on a warmer day.
We drink bottles of lovely malbecs off the wine list, I forget which ones....but this isn't a wine review blog!
Our server for tonight is Roger.  I like him.  Our service overall was very good this evening.  We had heard some other reviews by friends saying the service was shakey here, which simply was not true in any way. 

The restaurant week menu is posted on the website.  For those who don't know restaurant week, it is an app, an entree and a dessert for $28.
Our choices:
The Greek:   Chinese BBQ pork app, lamb leg entree and banana bread pudding.
Scarlet:  Pulled pork taco app, Florida skate entree and scoops (gelato/sorbet/ice cream).
Pippi:  Cracklin sausage (on Roger's recommendation), Pork tenderloin entree and apricot cheesecake.

For apps, the Chinese BBQ is glazed pork belly - the Greek was in love with this.  Very good, recommended.  The tacos were cute little mini-tacos, flavorful.

mini tacos

  The cracklin sausage was interesting.  The sausage itself was a very small portion, served in vermicelli "nests"  and floating in an awesome sweet chili sauce.  All components were better eaten together.  I really loved the sauce. 

Cracklin Sausage

Entrees:  The Greek was disappointed that what he thought was leg of lamb was a really a small kabob.  However, it had good flavor.  The portion was small.


My pork was very good with lovely bleu cheese, huckleberries and port reduction. 


The skate....oh, the skate....I had to look up on my ipad to confirm that skate is a sting-ray type creature.  I'm not a seafood lover, remember, but I cannot see how anyone would like this.  The texture was mushy.  We don't know if that is normally how skate is or if it was the preparation.  Scarlet says it had way too much butter/oil. 

 Desserts:  The bread pudding had absolutely no flavor.  Seriously, I've never tasted such a bland dessert.
The cheesecake was a light airy concoction served in a cup.  It did not wow me.  We recommend the scoops.  The chili lime lemongrass sorbet will shock you out of your food coma.  The chocolate gelato is good and Scarlet loved the strawberry lychee. 

We thought the portions for restaurant week overall were rather small, however, we can't compare to the normal menu having never been here before.  We loved the apps and most the entrees were decent.  The desserts weren't blowing us away.  They do have cappucino (that is important to us!) but Lulu tried one and deemed it watery.  She suspects it was an instant mix of some sort....sacrilege!

Our scores average to a 4.

HOW did we miss Detroits only champagne bar?  According to the website it is adjacent to 24 grille?  This would normally be right up our alley. 

We walk over to the David Stott building after to check out Sky Bar.  This place is nice and we enjoy some lovely sangria.  We are rather early so the place never gets bumping.  The basement is cool, would be fun if we had a larger group.  I can't wait to come back and check out the 35th floor when they open it...which the bartender is saying another 4 weeks?  See you then.


The Oakland

>> Sunday, August 28, 2011

This is just a quick sidebar, as I am sure we will mention this bar during the next review we do anywhere near Ferndale.
Master P and I stopped into the newest Ferndale drinking establishment last night just for one quick drink.
You may not have heard of The Oakland because I do not think they are advertising, on purpose!
The concept here is hidden speakeasy.  The door says something about art supplies.  But once you get inside, OMG this place is so freakin cool.  Its dark, swanky and crammed with antique-looking furniture and chandeliers.  The prohibition era cocktails are like nothing I've ever seen.  I mean, we have mentioned places with some similar type drinks, but you have GOT to see this.  The bartender as multiple bottles of fresh-squeezed juices and house-made concoctions.  There are mysterious dropper bottles of things that he meticulously counts out drops into the shaker.  The garnish is artfully flourished.  If you go, I recommend you sit at the bar so that you can witness the work that goes into your drink.  And the drinks were absolutely delicious.
Find it if you can!  I'll give you a hint, it is the location where Nami used to reside.   I will not be keeping this place a secret.  Tell them you heard about them here, they like to know how their word is spreading!


Atlas Global Bistro

Friday August 19th

Tonight we are all the usual players, Scarlet, Lulu, Thad, The Greek and Pippi.  We have a new guest star tonight, another Ms. L.  

Our Server tonight is Will.  I have to say that the service here was very good and everyone from the person answering the phone, to the host, bartender, everyone was very friendly.  Will was also extremely knowledgable about the menu and over-the-top knowledgable about the wine selections.  

The drink menu is very creative.  There are some pre-prohibition style cocktails.   There is a lot of cool stuff to try.  We recommend the mango fusion and the pomegranate fizz.  Unfortunately there seems to be a fruit fly infestation in the bar area as 3 of the poor suckers were found drowned in our drinks this evening.

For apps we try the trio of artisan cheese platter...which was great, hard to go wrong with good cheese with some bread.  We also try the teppanaki pork belly, which we found rather bland.

Teppanyaki pork belly

And the Lamb Bhuna, which we also found rather bland.  

Lamb Bhuna

Scarlet has the hearts-of-palm salad, which she says is bland, not much flavor going on there.  For her entree she orders the pan roasted duck (this is pheasant on the menu, but the role of pheasant this night is played by duck).  She liked the duck.  But we decide overall that the flavors of this menu are turning out to be so subtle, that we are feeling there is no "wow" factor or zing.  
pan roasted duck
Lulu has the asparagus ragout off the app menu as her entree, she also enjoys the tomato basil soup and the atlas salad.  Thad has the Bourride, which is poached corvina and prawn, and finds it "delightful".  Len also has the fattoush salad, see more below.
I have the Moroccan grilled quail.  This dish wasn't bad, but again, the flavors were so subtle.  There was also a lot of chickpeas and patty pan squash which could have used a little seasoning of some sort.

Moroccan grilled quail

My favorite item of the evening was my fattoush salad.  It had pistachio stuffed dates and feta, very delightful.  
Ms. L had the vegetable paella.  While she said is was just fine, I remember it also tasting somewhat bland and now that I'm looking at the menu, why is this priced at $25?
Seasonal Vegetable Paella
The Greek had the Osso Bucco.  He absolutely loved this dish.  He ate it with gusto and guarded it from others.  I would have to say that this is recommended for the meat eaters.
Osso Bucco

For desserts:  lavender vanilla creme brulee, we didn't taste any lavender.  Will seemed very surprised we couldn't taste it.  Again, flavors sooo subtle you wonder if they are there at all?
The chocolate mousse cake tasted store-bought.  The carrot cake was ok, the frosting was very good.  Our favorite dessert was the wild berry sorbet with champagne.

The total bill worked out to be about $80 per person with all the cocktails and wine included.  Our scores averaged a 4.  The food left something to be desired at times, but the lovely atmosphere, good drinks and impeccable service made up for it.  I would love to come here for pre-event drinks in the future, and maybe a cheese plate and fattoush salad!


South Bar

>> Monday, August 22, 2011



Saturday, August 6th

Tonight we are Lulu, Thad, The Greek, Scarlet...me....and a new guest, Mrs. B. 
Although we enjoyed our company, we did not so much enjoy South. 

First, lets mention the reservation negotiation.  Scarlet called and asked for a reservation at 7:30..was told flat out no way.  The closest to that was 6:15.  But when she said that wouldn't work, they said, ok...how about 6:45?  She asked about getting anything later than the original request for 7:30...was told no way, totally booked.  They finally settled on allowing us to have a 7:15 reservation.....thanks!  At 8:00 the place was still more than half empty!

Now, as for the drinks.  I paid $12 for a shot of blueberry vodka with some club soda, cucumber, a few blueberries and lime.  It was mostly ice.  In a short glass. This is the drink everyone was recommending?  Having been to many establishments in the past year, I normally do not balk at paying $12 for a drink, but this was ridiculous.  Same for the $12 shot of valentine vodka with cherry juice and club soda.

Our service was best described as meek and slow. 

Apps:  We have the tuna sashimi, which was ok.  The seaweed salad had good spice.  We liked the chips and salsa.  The guacomole is very bland. We tried the blue corn crab cake, and hated it.  We described the texture as gross. The Greek has the gazpacho, and deems it a salsa slurpee.  Too frozen. Not good.  I have the black bean soup, and like it.  It has a chunkier texture than most, but that isn't a bad thing in my book. 

Crab Cake

Mrs. B has the linguine with shrimp.  She says the sauce is spicy good and the artichokes are very good.  She said they are stingy with the shrimp.
Scarlet has the fish tacos, which she really liked.  The rice was dry and refried beans canned, but she recommends the tacos.  She said it was the best fish taco she has ever had.

Fish Tacos

The Greek had a giant burrito. He hated it.  It was bland and just plain nothing special.

A giant burrito

I had the jerk chicken, it was just ok, again...nothing too special.
Lulu has a predictable quesadilla and Thad had the grilled prawns. 
We come to the conclusion that the food here is on par with Applebee's.....shudder. 

For dessert:  We try the lime vanilla creme brulee.  It had no lime flavor and a grainy texture.  We try the banana crepes.  The banana was good, like bananas foster, but the crepes were folded on the side and hard to use.  The chocolate cake was predictable and the kaula fried ice cream was forgettable.

The score averages to a 2.  Usually I feel a little bad when a restaurant scores so low on our rating system, but this one I feel truly deserved the title of "the pit of mediocrity".

Total bill $277 plus tip.

After hitting a couple other bars in Birmingham we come back to check out the night club scene.  I'm trying to be generous and say something good about this entire place.  But I just cannot.   I'm not impressed with any of it.



>> Monday, August 1, 2011

July 16th

Today we are Scarlet, Mr. R, Master P and myself.  Mosaic is located in the heart of Detroit's Greektown.  We start with drinks at the bar.   The decor is really cool here, modern and sleek.  The drink menu has some creative and interesting cocktails.  I have the Bella, which is strawberry vodka, strawberry puree and just a touch of strawberry pucker. It is delicious.  Many of the drinks are made with fresh fruit.  Scarlet and I also enjoy the mango mojito.
Our waitress is Devon.  I am going to give her major props.  She was seriously one of the best waitresses we have had in my opinion.  She was knowledgable and described the food with such genuine enthusiasm.  We have the typical standby greektown appetizer of saganaki.  While the waiter didn't yell "opa", we enjoyed it very much.  I noted that I hadn't had saganaki in over ten years.
I have the highly recommended pistachio goat cheese salad...I loved it.  The warm goat cheese round is encrusted with  pistachio.  So lovely.

warm pistachio goat cheese salad
Master P has the lobster bisque which was pleasant.  Scarlet has the caprese salad because this one is unique with a fried green tomato.  The salad was typically good overall but the green tomato was actually bland.

Caprese salad
For entrees, I have the Piedmontese filet mignon, medium rare - of course.  It is cooked perfectly and just lovely.  I order a side of the stuffed tomato just to check it out.  It was stuffed with a very garlicky cous cous salad.  I had expected it to be a hot stuffed tomato and was rather disappointed with the raw tomato and overpowering raw garlic.

While my entree was very good, it paled in comparison to the rest.  Scarlet has the Kasu Chilean sea bass, sake lee marinated and served with a coconut-almond rice cake and asian veggies.  It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Incredible. Great sauce. Awesome rice.  We recommend this.

Sea Bass

But, for the best of the night, both Mr. R and Master P have the highly recommended JP's specialty lamb chops.  Devon recommends them, and we are so glad she did.  I have got to tell you, I have NEVER liked lamb and this dish has actually converted me.  These chops are mediterranean marinated and grilled with a smoky flavor...I am craving it now just thinking about it. If you love a good lamb chop...run, run to Mosaic NOW. You must try these!

Lamb Chops
Total bill $277 plus tip.  Our overall score is a 5!  I really wanted to give it an absolute perfection 6.  We love, love this place and I personally am coming back asap.



>> Friday, July 15, 2011

June 17, 2011 http://www.wasabidetroit.com/ We have MANY guest stars this evening...which makes dinner so much fun. Tonight we have The Greek, Scarlet and me (of course), but also Mr. R again, and 6 new guests: Mr. S, Ms. F, Crazy Ms. T, Ms. J and two Ms. D's. This is the largest restaurant review we have done so far. Wasabi is a small place, and with our big group we are seated outside the backdoor. Their backdoor opens directly into the main lobby of the Park Shelton apartment building. I liked how we sat at patio tables with umbrellas as if outside, but instead we were in the open space of the (rather quiet and empty) lobby. Our server tonight is Daniel, and he is very sweet. We really give him a run for his money. The first thing you should know about Wasabi is if you enjoy any sort of mixed cocktail, good luck. They cannot make "complicated drinks" so I'm told when I ask about bar services during the reservation call. Come to find out, "complicated" means pretty much anything mixing two liquors together. Not that they don't necessarily have the ingredients, but they just do not understand what you may be ordering or how to make it. But that's ok, we were amused trying to explain what is in a cosmopolitan and with the confused look we get when ordering even a Jack & Coke. What we SHOULD have been sampling is the Korean liquor chum-churum. I kept trying to remember to order it all evening and it kept slipping my mind somehow. Perhaps I was distracted by the antics of Crazy Ms. T. I cannot even fully explain how she scared poor Daniel or how the rest of the kitchen staff had to come out to take a peek at the unbelievably massive cleavage spilling out of the tight short dress....whew!
Anyhoo...for apps we have edemame (yum), wasabi pork dumplings and veggie fried dumplings. All were good. The first batch of pork dumplings we had were awesome, so we ordered a second round, and these ones had such a wasabi kick a couple of us were in tears. My entire brain was hurting from it. Ok, Entrees: The Greek, Scarlet and I all share multiple sushi rolls of a variety I did not record, but just say that this is an excellent place to go for sushi. You will not be disappointed.
Ms. J had what she called a Tofu Steak, which now I'm not so sure which dish it was as there is more than one vegetarian tofu dish on the menu.  Anyway, she liked it.  Mr. R had the hot & spicy chicken and shrimp.  It was very spicy and the sauce was flavorful.  The first Ms. D had veggie fried rice, which she said was great.  2nd Ms. D and Ms. T both had the Kalbi - beef short rib in Korean BBQ sauce...really delicious.  I will have this if I return. Mr. S did not have an entree and was fine with the previously mentioned apps.
The average score of all ten of us was a 3.5.  I liked the atmosphere of our makeshift patio, the service was just fine and the food was decent.  


No VI Chophouse

>> Wednesday, July 13, 2011

June 4, 2011
I'm so behind in our blog...I will blame my recent trip to Alaska although it really is just my procrastination problem. 
The No VI Chophouse is our 2nd Matt Prentice Restaurant Group review.  We really love Coach Insignia.  Tonight we have Thad, Lulu, Scarlet & Me (of course).  Our server is Emily.  Our service was great.
We start with....tuna tartar....like we always do, we have gotten so predictable.  We like this one too, and I like how Emily takes the whole and portions out some for each of us.
Next, we have soups & salads:  Thad has his predictable caesar, whichh he says is average.   Scarlet has the crab bisque and says it has very good flavor and texture.  I have the spinach bacon salad, and it is ok...I think I was still wishing for the spinach salad from Opus One that was perfection for me.  Lulu has the wedge salad with a bacon sun-dried tomato spread.  She doesn't like it too much and says maybe it would have been better without the bacon (don't forget she is a vegetarian).  She also has the moral bisque which we all think is divine.  Oh, and Scarlet really loved the caraway/poppy seed bread basket. 

For entrees, Lulu has the garlic angel hair pasta.  It was a red pepper cream sauce.  It was rather bland, and we agreed that it would have been better with some garlic, crushed red pepper and parmesan.  Scarlet had duck (seared mapleleaf duck breast) for the first time and she liked it.  Thad and I both go with Emily's recommendation of the "Cowboy" bone-in ribeye.  This is a huge 18 ounce bone-in steak.  We again went with Emily's suggestion and had them Au Poivre.  This was an abolutely delicious piece of meat.  I do recommend it.  Thad acted like he couldn't taste any black pepper in the Au Poivre sauce, but it was potent.

Scarlet and I have dessert, Lemon Tart for her which was "good".  But I have what I thought was the most incredible version of strawberry shortcake.  The macerated strawberries were tossed with basil and there was a side of 25 year aged balsamic vinegar.  The flavors were bright and perfect. 

Ok, for the scoring...the AVERAGE score was about a 3.5.  But I MUST mention that it was pulled down by Lulu's score of a ONE.  She took the statement from the scoring system "won't return unless forced" very literally, although the comments behind the D's were meant more tongue-in-cheek.  Although, our service was flawless and friendly...and I personally cannot see rating any of the food below the pit of mediocrity or below average for that matter.  However, she stands firmly behind her opinion.  She is very hard to please.
I personally give No VI Chophouse a 4.  Not every dish was over-top excellent, but definitely some winners in the bunch.  Atmosphere, of course, pales in comparison to Coach Insignia, but most will.


Rub BBQ Pub

>> Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Friday, May 27th
Tonight we are The Greek, Master P, Scarlet, Mr. R & Me...Pippi.
We decide to have BBQ because I canceled the backyard type at my house due to chilly weather...that is Michigan.  As far as bbq in detroit, the only other place we have reviewed thus far is Lockhart's in Royal Oak, and we did not totally love them.  I have higher hopes for Rub.
I didn't collect our servers name, but we did have good service, no complaints here.  For appetizers, we started with the burnt ends...in order to compare them to Lockharts.  They were good, more saucy and tender than Lockharts.  But I think Lockhart's burnt ends may have been more traditionally what they are supposed to be like...more crusty and syrupy.
We then proceed to order entrees with many many sides.
Mr. R has the brisket and said it was "good".  No other description.  Same for Scarlet and her mac & cheese with pulled chicken.  "Good".  Master P enjoyed a a combo "bases loaded" platter with pulled pork, brisket and andouille sausage.

While I very much enjoyed baby back ribs...

The rub on the ribs is excellent.  Much like our other local bbq places, there is a variety of sauces on the table.  Here, I find interesting that the Detroit sauce tastes like a coney...how apropos.  My favorite sauces are the Memphis & Kansas City.  I like sauces that are spicy and sweet.  Of course, everyone has their own preferences on sauces, but there is enough variety here to make everyone happy.
As for the sides, the baked beans and greens are great.  The sweet potato fries and mash are awesome.  The green beans taste canned.  The corn bread is too dry for our taste.  
For dessert, our server talks us into the deep-fried twinkies.  I have heard of this but never actually tried one, therefore I'm intrigued.  We order two for the table.  We do not even finish one.  The batter on these suckers is soooo salty we cannot eat much more than a taste.  
Total bill $163 plus tip.  This includes multiple cosmopolitans, Jack & Cokes and Michigan Beer....not too bad for 5 people...cheap dinner tonight.  The ratings average out to a 3.5.  A little above average (keep in mind we are spoiled).  As far as BBQ in Detroit...having been to Lockharts and Slow's (not as a group yet)...I have to say I like Rub the best.  I also like the location, in the heart of all the Detroit action.  We haven't been to Red Smoke BBQ in Greektown yet, but I'm sure we will get there soon.  Tumbleweeds.