Friday, September 25, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out During Detroit Restaurant Week

Cities like New York, Chicago and LA are known for their upscale restaurants. The number of swanky restaurants in Detroit may not compare to these cities, but many high-end eateries have popped up downtown in the past few years. The economy has hit some of these restaurants hard and forced owners to come up with innovative ways to bring in customers - like Andiamo Italia offering buy one get one free entrees.

The Greater Downtown Districts (including Downtown, Midtown, New Center, Corktown and Eastern Market) and Paxahau Promotions Group decided to take things one step further by bringing a novel idea implemented in other cities to Detroit - Detroit Restaurant Week. From September 18 - 27 (hurry, only two more days!), the city's top dining establishments are offering a minimum three-course dinner for $27 (excluding beverage, tax and gratuity). Some may complain about that price and claim it's not a discount, but most single entrees alone at upscale restaurants cost more than $27.

Many of the newer restaurants downtown have been on my need-to-try list for awhile. I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a three-course meal for what in my mind is a decent price.

MAL and I decided on Wolfgang Puck Grille at MGM Grand Detroit. Overall, I thought the decor was exquisite, the servers were attentive and welcoming and the food was delicious. I was surprised how well the walls blocked the noise from the casino, so that was an added bonus.

Side note: The dim lights made the photos from my camera phone turn out fuzzier than normal.

For our first course, I chose a creamy mushroom soup, while MAL opted for butternut squash ravioli. Both were smaller portions (which seems to be the trend at most nicer restaurants), but this didn't take away from the quality of the food. We gave both the ravioli and soup two thumbs up.

I was a bit disappointed with my main course, but I have no one to blame but myself. MAL chose the salmon with potatoes and a mustard sauce, a savory and perfectly-portioned dish.

We ate salmon the previous night, and for some odd reason I tend to avoid chicken at restaurants, so I opted for the ribeye and potatoes. In my excitement for more food, I failed to read the menu well and didn't realize french fries accompanied my meal. But these were the best darn french fries I've had in LONG time. They were the perfect blend of salty and crunchy. The ribeye wasn't cooked as well as I had asked, but the blue cheese topping was such a tasty addition that I forgave the cook.

Dessert was our favorite course. The only option was a 12 layer cake, but we weren't complaining. You would think 12 layers of chocolate would be overkill, but the sugary sweetness was subdued. We were definitely full after the cake, but we didn't have that "I'm so stuffed I could spew" feeling.

I'm more than happy with our meal at Wolfgang Puck Grille. Rumor has it we're in for at least two more Detroit Restaurant Weeks next year. People have been tweeting up a storm about Detroit Restaurant Week, so I'm anxious to see if the participating restaurants saw a boost in customers and sales. I hope this tradition continues for years to come. Any program/event/conference that generates excitement about Detroit, brings people to the city and creates positive buzz in our community is a win for everyone.


Mike said...

27 bucks is a good deal for three courses at a nice restaurant! Nice to see Detroit doing a promotion like this to get some of their great restaurants in the spotlight.

metrogal84 said...

Mmmm...I want that cake!

EstrellaBella10 said...

Glad to see you agree, Mike. Hopefully there will be another DRW next year so you and that wonderful cooking wife of yours can enjoy it!

LJ said...

That sounds great! Hope we're around for one of the weeks next year!