Roast, Detroit – a.k.a awesomeness in The D

A recent computer conference led Andrea and I to Detroit. There was a post on the Runs With Spatula blog about Michael Symon’s Roast, reminding me that I had eaten an excellent burger there during a stint working in Detroit. The menu looked good to Andrea, and through the magic of Open Table, we had our reservation.

Roast is located at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue inside the Westin Book-Cadillac. You can’t miss it, as open businesses around this area are easy to pick out among the many closed ones. Poor Detroit, did it deserve such a fate?

Michael Symon's Roast, Detroit

Michael Symon's Roast, Detroit

We arrived early and sat at the bar for an appetizer and drinks. Andrea decided on a Mojito – it was an unseasonably warm day in Michigan – and she loved it. I went with a Dirty Bastard from Founder’s Brewery in Grand Rapids – you can’t go wrong with a Founder’s beer. And we mused about the enormous amount of money it must cost to open a new restaurant – the cost of booze alone seemed staggering.

The bar at Roast, Detroit

The bar at Roast, Detroit

Appetizer #1 was the Pork Crackling, and it lived up to its name. These were pork rinds served in a shiny steel cup, and they continued to pop even as we were eating them. And they were delicious, topped with the perfect amount of chili powder and lime juice. I never thought I would see Andrea eating pork rinds, but there she was.

Pork Crackling, Roast, Detroit

Pork Crackling, Roast, Detroit

We moved into the dining room for dinner and our waiter, Bertram, was outstanding.  His wine recommendation – Grilos – was perfect. Let’s see, what adjective should I use… I would say the wine was gregarious and cheeky. (You have to use outrageous adjectives when describing wine – it’s state law.)  We were brought soft butter and two types of bread when we first arrived. Nothing spectacular there.

Time for appetizer #2: Crispy Fresh Bacon. Not what you’re thinking, and not what I was thinking, but it exceeded my expectations. The pieces of bacon were actually chunks of pork, not crispy strips like you get at Bob Evans. The bacon and haloumi cheese went perfect together. Andrea wasn’t a fan of the pickled tomatoes, but I thought they were interesting enough to devour most of them.

Bacon appetizer, Roast, Detroit

Bacon appetizer, Roast, Detroit

After being convinced that they would not be a lot of work to eat, I ordered the Braised Beef Short Ribs. Wow, what an outstanding dish. The beef fell off the bone and was delicious.

Braised Beef Ribs, Roast, Detroit

Braised Beef Ribs, Roast, Detroit

Andrea ordered the lamb ragu and said it was the best meal she has had in Michigan. It even topped Stella’s, which is high praise.

Lamb Ragu

Lamb Ragu

We split a side of Fried Brussels Sprouts and were not disappointed. We were impressed with the large portions, which applied to every other course as well. Unlike other upscale restaurants, Roast is very generous with the portions, and we both took part of our meal home for leftover. (I should have taken more, as I was painfully stuff, but live and learn.)

Fried Brussels Sprouts

Fried Brussels Sprouts

For dessert, we had a fried doughnut topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and bacon. Yes, bacon. This wasn’t the first bacon dessert I’ve had – a beer dinner at The State Room has that honor – but this was far better than my first experience. Andrea enjoyed it even though it didn’t have chocolate.

Doughnut dessert

Doughnut dessert

Roast is a restaurant to which we will definitely return. Every course of the meal was delicious, and the staff was efficient and friendly. This should be at the top of your list of places to eat in Detroit.

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