150 West Congress Street Penobscot Building Detroit, MI 48226
Upscale dining with plenty of beef and a decor mirroring that of an early 20th Century London club, the Caucus Club traces its history back to a time when Detroit industrialists looked to Britain for tips on the good life. Specialties include London broil, perch and Dover sole. The salads are also first rate. Noel Coward might feel at home at the bar which prides itself on its wide array of cocktails, many of which you might only have read about in a P.J. Wodehouse novel.
A trip to the Century Grille, housed in the same building as Detroit's historic Gem Theatre, is an experience for the eye as well as the stomach. After the club and the adjoining theatre were moved five blocks because of the downtown stadium-building project, developer Chuck Forbes restored and reopened the club as an upscale restaurant and 200-seat dinner theater. Thick carpets, old wood, upholstered chairs, chandeliers and Pewabic tile highlight the decor. Stained glass panels, ornate chandeliers, fireplaces and Pewabic tile were rescued from the downtown YWCA building before it was demolished for the stadiums. It is a place where Continental means North American, like the popular Jack Daniel's ribs, served with the chef's special Caribbean coleslaw. There is also an ample selection of seafood, and the desserts are memorable. Live jazz Thursday through Sunday makes this a truly fascinating piece of the downtown.
At Country Chicken you will get large portions of Lebanese food at very modest prices. Set in East Dearborn's bustling Arab shopping district, this storefront restaurant features baba ghannoush, meat coriander, shawarma and lamb. For extra big appetites there is the Country Tray, a platter heaped with shish kebab, falafel and hummus. For dessert you can wander next door to Masri Sweets.
Steeped in tradition, the Dakota Inn has been serving hearty German food and beer since 1933. Sauerbraten with homemade spatzle, potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream, and a combination plate of bratwurst and knackwurst served with potato salad and homemade sauerkraut are among the specialties, with chicken and fish for those who crave a lighter fare. Weekends feature sing-alongs and dancing to live bands.
The headquarters of Belgian culture in Detroit, the Cadieux Café has one of the first feather bowling alleys in the United States. The bowling alleys are concave and players roll huge wooden wheels and try to land closest to a feather. Tucked away in a residential neighborhood on the East Side, the Cadieux Cafe is also famous for its fabulous mussels, which are served in six different ways. The rest of the menu is typical pub grub and Belgian dishes, and the Old World décor and cheery atmosphere, including a small reproduction of "Mannequin Pis," a famous Brussels fountain of a urinating young boy, provide a good taste of Belgian bonhomie. It is recommended to book bowling lanes in advance, but it's almost as much fun to watch the old-timers bowl on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as to play yourself.
A meeting place for lunches, dinners and drinks, Union Street attracts people from the Medical Center, Wayne State University, downtown and all over Detroit. The eclectic menu matches the diverse crowd, with selections from steak to soups to vegetarian fare. Though the kitchen stops serving food an hour before closing, the bar stays open, serving up over 100 brands of beer and a great selection of fine wines. The Art Deco interior usually embraces a vibrant crowd. This popular spot has an interesting history dating to the early 1990s. It was a fancy Italian restaurant in the 1930s and 1940s, and a raucous after-hours joint named Mad Anthony Wayne's in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The flagship of the Andiamo family's chain of Italian restaurants throughout metropolitan Detroit, this restaurant has a showroom that brings a touch of Las Vegas to Michigan. The musical and comedy acts are targeted toward an older, middle-of-the-road audience. Headliners include the likes of the Platters, the Gaylords, Paul Anka and Don Rickles. Dinner-and-show packages and season tickets are available. The cozy restaurant features hearty, generous portions of Italian staples as well as non-traditional Milanese dishes and a huge wine list. Banquet and catering facilities are available.
Opened in 1985, this is the first of the Tom's Oyster Bar locations in metropolitan Detroit. Acclaimed by critics, Tom's at first served only raw shellfish. Now its menu includes lots of seafood choices, including six varieties of oysters, meats, pastas and salads. The key lime pie is renowned in the area. Menu items change frequently with the availability of seafood. The décor evokes an East Coast saloon or chowder house, with bare wooden floors and walls and blue-checked tablecloths. An excellent wine list and a wide selection of beers complete the experience. See the website for menus and other metro-area locations. Call ahead for Sunday hours.
The whimsical name alone should attract customers. Howe's Bayou is a restaurant from the owners of Tom's Oyster Bar, emphasizing a Cajun atmosphere and menu to supplement the oysters and seafood. Cajun entrees include gumbo, okra, crawfish cake and etouffe. Besides great wines and bottled beers, the bar offers a choice of 30 Tennessee whiskeys and bourbons and appropriate mixed drinks such as Mint Juleps. You can even get a chocolate mud pie for dessert. Plunking New Orleans in the middle of suburbia works surprisingly well-this is a popular and friendly place.
Featuring good food at reasonable prices, Kruse and Muer on Main prides itself on its prime cuts of beef, large variety of pasta dishes and its excellent salads. The specialty, though, is seafood, from the freshest Great Lakes catch to Maine lobster, and the shrimp scampi draws rave reviews. Don't forget to check out the photos of old Rochester on the walls.
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