A listing of restaurants serving steak that are a cut above
Published: December 28, 2011
$=$5-10; $$=$10-25; $$$=$25-50; $$$$=$50+
Big Rock Chop House 245 S. Eton St., Birmingham; 248-647-7774; bigrockchophouse.com; $$$: Oozing Northern lodge appeal, with a variety of dining rooms, located in Birmingham's historic train station. It resembles the kind of place where Hemingway would spend a lot of time and a good portion of his book advances. Expect hand-cut, aged beef, cooked to order, which can be pricey but worth it when you get your mouthwatering fillets ($35 for 8-ounce, $40 for 12-ounce), a 16-ounce New York strip ($36), or a colossal 24-ounce porterhouse ($40). And it's not just beef for dinner; other protein offerings include sole, salmon, sea bass, lamb, ostrich, duck, and even buffalo. It's also a brewpub, offering house-brewed beers, including lager, Belgian white, IPA, red ale, and Russian imperial stout (11.8 percent ABV!).
Clawson Steak House 56 S. Rochester Rd., Clawson; 248-588-5788; clawsonsteakhouse.com; $$: The roadhouse-nightclub on Rochester Road, just south of Fourteen Mile, opened in 1958. It has remained in that decade for several generations of locals who flock there to dine on beef washed down with highballs or red wine, and to dance the night away. Aside from the mildly pricey signature steaks and chops, other dinners, which include soup and salad, average around $16. And the more than 100-bottle wine list, four-fifths of which are devoted to red wine, offers many solid selections well below $30. Obviously, the moderate cost of a night at the Clawson Steak House is one reason for its continuing popularity, especially for birthday and anniversary celebrations. Another is the overall dependability, if not flashiness, of its kitchen. From 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Wednesday-Thursday, and from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday, you'll be able to dance the night away to the rhythms of the Mark James Band. The versatile three-piece, along with a vocalist, plays tunes from Tommy Dorsey for the early crowd, through Elvis, Motown, the Beatles, Latin, disco — and whatever else patrons might request.
Coach Insignia 200 Renaissance Center, 72nd Floor, Detroit; 313-567-2622; $$$$: If a house guest or out-of-town visitor announces, "I want to take you out tonight to a very special restaurant, perhaps with an interesting view of the city," the first choice would have to be Coach Insignia, perched spectacularly on the 71st and 72nd floors of the Marriott Hotel in the Renaissance Center. The flagship of the Matt Prentice chain offers an unsurpassed view, which begins with the always-thrilling ride to the top in the restaurant's private elevator. A closed-off banquet area offers Detroit-only views while the rest of the ceiling-to-floor windows look out at the city's shoreline, the river, and especially Windsor. Decorated tastefully with automobile memorabilia, Coach Insignia takes its name from the RenCen's major tenants, GM and its Body by Fisher, as well as from the same Fisher family's California winery where the "body" appears in its fine vintages under the Coach Insignia label. Several of the mains come in at under $30, but none of the meats. Steaks and chops include a 12-ounce prime New York strip ($45), a 24-ounce porterhouse ($52), a center-cut Angus filet mignon ($33 for 7 ounces, $43 for 10 ounces), a 16-ounce Angus rib-eye ($39) and steak au poivre ($50). Madeline Triffon, our region's most celebrated sommelier, has constructed a long and versatile wine list with a handful of bottles in the low- and mid-20s.
Joe Muer Seafood 400 Renaissance Center, Suite 1404, Detroit; 313 567-6837; joemuerseafood.com; $$: Primarily a seafood joint, you can enjoy beef while your friends dine on fish. Meaty choices include the appetizer of beef tenderloin carpaccio, char-grilled filet mignon with zip sauce, prime rib-eye and braised beef short ribs. Naturally, the fruit of the sea dominates, but think of the surf-and-turf possibilities!
The Hill Seafood & Chop House 123 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-886-8101; thehillgrossepointe.com; $$$: With a stylish interior, the Hill serves plenty of steaks and chops, a few costing less than $30 but most $33 and more. The steaks include the usual cuts (filet mignon, New York strip) and some unusual ones (Australian lamb shanks, beef short rib), all prepared to spec. Meat lovers will also find lamb sliders featuring melted Brie, Michigan cherry relish, bacon and Gaufrette potatoes. Or you can max out with the over-the-top $51 "surf and turf," which includes a 7-ounce filet mignon, twin 4-ounce Maine tails, roasted fingerlings with melted Maytag blue cheese and asparagus. Seafood is a strong point: The calamari appetizer is out of the ordinary. Desserts are quintessentially American: The molten lava cake ($7) has a luscious liquid chocolate center.
Katana Nu-Asian Steakhouse 111 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-591-9900; $$$: From the flashy tableside performances put on by knife-wielding chefs to the big and brassy flavors of the dishes, it's an American-oriented show. It's called teppanyaki — "hibachi table cooking" — with diners seated around big cooking surfaces, each manned by an aproned and toqued chef. There are 10 chairs at each cooking station, so you'll end up sharing with others. The waitress takes your order for seafood (tuna, sea bass, scallops, etc.), meat or "Zen dinners" with vegetables, tofu or portobellos. Most often ordered are steak and lobster. Most extravagant: the yokozuna combination of lobster, scallops and filet mignon. Heaps of chopped vegetables — celery, mushrooms, squash and more — are arrayed around the sides of the surface, along with the ordered flesh. The chef goes through some impressive banging and flipping of knives and gets to work. Each diner's selection is quickly sautéed, arranged on a plate with the vegetables and presented with three dipping sauces: a creamy one for the seafood, a hot mustard and a ginger. In addition to the main-attraction grills, diners can also sit at regular tables and order from the small plates menu, which has more of a fusion bent.
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