Bistro in Detroit

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    This wine bar in Birmingham may be the best in our area. From its cool cream walls and ceilings, whose main decoration is a large mature grape vine from her vineyard, to the first-rate open kitchen to the knowledgeable and efficient servers, to the exciting collection of 150 varietals, this is all one could ask for in the increasingly competitive genre. Aside from a seasonal vegetarian main and one or two specials, the rest of the entrée roster is brief. The most expensive dish on the menu is $24. While oenophiles most likely will opt for the traditional cheese platter to end their gastronomic adventure at Tallulah, the cheesecake and key lime pie, made in house, are sublime.
    Toast Birmingham

    The hype is true: Toast serves great food and wine “with humor in a fun, casual environment.” There’s a lounge called the Blue Room that’s full of candles and sports a stark white deer’s head over the fireplace. The menu is a mix of such firm favorites as burgers and mac & cheese (with tillamook cheddar and manchego cheeses) and less-common options, such as duck confit cassoulet.  A highlight of the menu are the "with toast" options, which features toast with seasonal wild or cultivated mushrooms, roasted bone marrow or foie gras torch on. 

    Toasted Oak Grill & Market
    The menu is mostly meats, as generally demanded by the traveling businessman on account — St. Louis ribs, flatiron steak, filet mignon, lamb sirloin, beef brisket, a burger on a pretzel roll, steak tartare, house-made kielbasa — but also includes mussels, salt cod croquettes and calamari, a cheese board, and a few fish and pasta dishes, plenty for the non-meat-eater. Some come with hand-cut fries (“frites”) and others with mashed skin-on fingerlings, which are swell. Most dishes feature interesting sauces and some venture into unfamiliar regions of the taste buds. An excellent example of sauced meat was a Black Angus skirt steak, chewy, as expected, but the longer chewing time welcome because of the excellence of the adobo marinade and the chimichurri (a sauce of Argentine origins, oil and vinegar, onions, garlic, herbs). But what you should really take advantage of is Grostick’s expertise in charcuterie, including a terrine of the day, a chicken liver and foie gras paté, rillettes of smoked salmon and pork, and a market charcuterie plate with house-pickled vegetables.
    Town Tavern
    Bill Roberts, proprietor of the successful Beverly Hills Grill and Streetside Seafood, opened this neighborhood tavern in June 2007 on Fourth Street in Royal Oak. With mohair booths and bentwood chairs, noted restaurant designer Ron Rea has created an ersatz 1930s tavern updated to a 2007 bistro. Grazers can easily make a hearty meal of the “bar-plate” appetizers. Notable mains include mac and cheese, Southwest shrimp and four steak choices. Bustling, noisy, with a train passing through the heart of downtown Royal Oak a block away now and then.

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