It was a sort-of surprise for Andrea, this trip to Detroit. The focus of the voyage from Lansing Alvin Ailey’s visit to the Detroit Opera House. A good show requires a good pre-show meal, and for that, we chose one of Detroit’s best, Michael Symon’s Roast. Located in the Westin on the corner of Washington and Michigan, just a block away from the PeopleMover’s Michigan Avenue station, it’s downtown Detroit’s best restaurant.
We were seated in a semi-private booth behind the wine cooler. It was dark and intimate, a wonderful spot for couples. We had a view of the beautiful wine collection and the bustling bartender. We made a minor dent in the collection, choosing the Heron 2010 Pinot Noir, a recommendation from the waitress because of the Pinot Noir’s versatility. Andrea and I usually get very different entrees (tonight being no exception) so need a wine that can jump through hoops for us. And for you gadget lovers, the wine list was an iPad application.
But before we reached the main course, we needed to navigate the oh-so-many appetizing appetizers. Our friendly debate decided on Stuffed Peppers filled with pork sausage and topped with feta cheese. There was a hint of spiciness in the pork, but the peppers were mild and the whole package was nicely done.
My entrée was the hanger steak with pickle relish. The meat was tender and the sauce was complimentary the steak. The pickle relish wasn’t overpowering. After all, relish on a steak? Odd idea, but at Roast, odd ideas just work. Andrea ordered the duck ragu, and it was outstanding. She was disappointed that she couldn’t finish it all, but room had to be saved for dessert. Of the two entrees, I preferred the ragu.
We split a side of Rosemary Fries. Roast has generous portions, which I find unexpected for restaurants with the chef’s name in the title. Thin and crispy and lightly spiced, the fries were excellent. They were served with chipotle ketchup which tasted nice, like a mild salsa, though we both preferred the fries without it. We loved them just the way they were.
Dessert was the Chocolate Coconut Bomb. The best way to describe it is a Hostess Snowball. There was a soft cookie crust bottom topped with chocolate mousse and coconut pudding (for lack of a better name), and that in turn was topped with a soft chocolate shell and sprinkled with coconut shavings. Wow – truly excellent. Even better than a Snowball, if you can believe it. Glasses of Niepoort Ruby, a mild, smooth port of which I could become a regular drinker, went with our final course.
Though we don’t get to Detroit often, the variety of items on the menu, consistently good quality, and generous portions means there will be a fourth visit to Roast.