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We were really sad when we heard Detroit Restaurant Week (DRW) was going on hiatus for the fall season. It was one of our favorite ways to indulge affordably in some of the city’s finest dining rooms.
Thankfully, a new promotion has popped up in its place with deals almost identical to that of DRW. It’s Motor City Restaurant Week (MCRW).
Here’s how it works: $35 gets you three courses – typically an appetizer, entree and dessert – at participating eateries. When you arrive at the restaurant, let your server know you want the Motor City Restaurant Week menu. Eight restaurants are participating, including 24 Grille, Andiamo, Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, Cliff Bell’s, Mario’s, Prism, Traffic Jam & Snug, and The Whitney.
The weeklong fine dining scar fest starts today, and the menus for the participating eateries sound pretty yummy. Read on for six dishes we can’t wait to scarf during MCRW.
Nduja at Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
This dish’s unusual name piqued our interest, and once we learned what it is we got even more excited. Nduja is a spicy meat spread, typically made with pork belly, shoulder and other bits. A salami pate, really. Not like the gray, flavorless pate your grandparents ate in the ‘50s. It’s like slathering a rich, spreadable chorizo onto your bread. Chartreuse serves their nduja with an olive relish, herbs and buttered sourdough bread.
Chartreuse plans to change their menu throughout the week, bringing you seasonal of-the-moment dishes that highlight fresh, local ingredients. So we can’t guarantee this one will be available, but if you’re lucky enough to taste it your tummy will thank you.
Canadian Lobster Tail at The Whitney
Thirty-five bucks won’t get you anything close to lobster on a normal day in a spot as swanky as the Whitney. So the fact that we get the whole luscious, meaty tail plus two other courses is a foodie miracle. The Whitney serves this delicate crustacean with a lovely herbed rice, asparagus and drawn butter.
Linger in their pretty gardens after your meal, or head upstairs to Ghost Bar where you can sip on a Witching Hour martini and listen to live music.
Spaghetti Bolognese at Mario’s Italian Restaurant
Mario’s is old school Italian. It’s not the place you come to see what’s new this month, or to taste the chef’s latest experiment with molecular gastronomy. You come here for recipes from the old world. Ones that haven’t changed in decades. And we like it that way.
It’s for that reason we’ll be ordering spaghetti bolognese. Mario’s makes an Italian Grandma-worthy version of this classic dish. Their rich, meaty red sauce is simmered slowly with plenty of herbs and garlic. Then, it’s spooned over a bed of al dente noodles. This dish is so loving, it feels like it should come with a hug and a cheek pinch.
Dante’s Shrimp at Cliff Bell’s
Aside from the amazing live jazz and the spectacular deco architecture, the thing Cliff Bell’s does really well is putting a modern spin on traditional soul food. For MCRW they’re giving the humble shrimp cocktail a (literally) electric twist. Tender, poached Tiger Shrimp will be served with sichuan flowers. The small, yellow buds look innocuous, but they create a tingling sensation in your mouth. It’s like an electric jolt to your taste buds.
The whole thing is topped off with a light and delicate lemon foam.
Mesquite Plank Roasted Salmon at Andiamo Riverfront
There’s something particularly delicious about a thick filet of salmon grilled over a wooden plank, instead of just being sauteed in a pan or baked in an oven.
Plus, the presentation is pretty awesome, it brings out our inner lumberjack. It makes us feel like we’ve ened a long day of gold prospecting, and just cooked a fish we caught with out bare hands on a plank of wood carved from a tree we chopped down ourselves. In this case, though, you don’t have to do any of the catching or cooking of the fish yourself. Andiamo will take care of all the heavy lifting, and you just get to daydream about life on the open trail while you sink your fork into beautifully flaky pink fish. They normally serve their salmon with an asparagus gremolata, red quinoa and seasonal veggies, but you might get something special for MCRW.
Carlotta Chocolatta Ice Cream Cheesecake at Traffic Jam & Snug
TJ’s runs their own creamery, so opting for an ice cream dessert here is a no-brainer. The fun-to-say, even-better-to-eat Carlotta Chocolatta is a coffee lover’s dream. Double chocolate cheesecake is wrapped in coffee ice cream then coated with bittersweet hot fudge and sprinkled with ground espresso. It will give you a bolt of energy just as you’re about to doze off into a food coma.
Early Birthday Wishes to Joe and Michael M. Here’s hoping your date with Beatrice this weekend goes exactly the way you want it to. #ShamrockPride