60+ Top Metro Detroit Restaurants for Business
(Updated February 2013)
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Restaurants are among the most difficult businesses to operate. In addition to creating, ordering, preparing, and serving memorable meals day in and day out, multiple tasks must be overseen and dealt with at a moment’s notice.
What’s more, consider the unpredictable nature of health inspectors, food critics, state and local regulators, suppliers, and distributors. A restaurant that operates on all cylinders is a rarity to behold. That’s one reason we strived to select 60 business-friendly restaurants in metro Detroit and Windsor where an executive or manager could feel confident hosting an important meeting, entertaining a client, or interviewing a top recruit.
Our criterion was straightforward. We selected restaurants that offer an environment conducive to a business luncheon or dinner amid a refined setting complemented by memorable cuisine. Most of the restaurants listed on the following pages offer private space where a confidential meeting or presentation can be conducted.
The list was put together with the entire region in mind, so while there are many fine eateries in Birmingham, Troy, and Ann Arbor, we didn’t select every establishment.
Rather, the list was formulated to assist, say, a businessperson in Grosse Pointe who is seeking a distinguished venue in Novi to host a private dinner for a group of Asian-based auto suppliers. Among the options are a top-notch sushi restaurant, an edgy bistro, an offering of northern Italian cuisine, or well-prepared steak and seafood.
We also provided a brief description of each of the restaurants. For ease of access, the eateries are alphabetized by the city in which they operate. In some cases, a restaurant chain may have multiple facilities, but for the purpose of serving businesspeople seeking fine dining options across the metro area, not all of the locations were included.
Other pertinent restaurant information includes the availability of valet service, Wi-Fi access, private room capacity, address, contact information, and meal availability. In turn, the reviews are anonymous and were compiled by our editorial team. DBusiness paid for all expenses, and advertising had no bearing on the final selections.
In addition, we asked restaurant critic and wine writer Christopher Cook to review the wine lists at each of the establishments. Cook has been the beneficiary of numerous awards for his writings and criticisms, both here and across the country, spanning more than two decades (he serves as the restaurant critic for our sister publication, Hour Detroit).
His reviews on the following pages span three criteria — price, variety, and originality. Each category was rated using a 20-point scale, with 20 representing excellence. An overall score (five being the highest) was compiled and listed, as well. He also provides commentary about each of the wine lists (pricing was judged by the bottle and by the glass).
And given the smoking ban in Michigan, we added a list of cigar bars in the region where patrons can enjoy a premium Davidoff or Montecristo with a glass of wine or spirit (the new law doesn’t allow for cigarette smoking in cigar venues).
We hope you find the listings a valuable resource. Bon appétit!
KEY: $ = Average Price of Dinner Entrees
WINE REVIEWS: Each wine list is evaluated on three categories: Price, Variety, and Originality. Each category was scored 1-20 points
20 points = outstanding; 15 points = solid; 10 points = decent; 5 points = poor
OVERALL: Wine lists were rated overall on a 1-5 scale. 5 = excellent ; 4 = good; 3 = average; 1= poor
1. The Chop House
An elegant steakhouse destination featuring grain-fed beef like filet mignon — a great spot before or after a U-M football game. 322 Main St., Ann Arbor, 888-456-3463, D Mon.-Sun. $26, Meeting Room Capacity: 40, WIFI. Wine Review: Heavy on big prices and ripe reds: Penfolds Grange, Harlan Estate. But a well-priced second list. Price: 16, Variety: 14, Originality: 12, Overall: 4
2. Paesano’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
A cozy atmosphere featuring rustic Italian dishes with an emphasis on regional preparations. 3411 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 734-971-0484, L&D Daily, $24, Meeting Room Capacity: 65, WIFI. Wine Review: Not a long list, but Italian gems that nobody else has. Excellent. Price: 17, Variety, 16; Originality: 17, Overall: 4+
3. Zingerman’s Roadhouse
A down-to-earth setting, Zingerman’s serves fresh regional American foods. Entrees include roasted semi-boneless cornish chicken. 2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor, 734-663-3663, L&D Daily, $26, Meeting Room Capacity: 120, WIFI. Wine Review: Super regional American food, but lacks on regional American wine. Heavy on California. Price: 17, Variety: 10, Originality: 16, Overall: 3.5
4. Bluewater Bistro
A quaint, American eatery with creative dishes and an outdoor patio. Formerly named Bistro Bordeaux. 3315 Auburn Rd., Auburn Hills, 248-852-3410, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat., $16.50, Meeting Room Capacity: 60. Wine Review: Short list, Lacks imagination, but decent prices. Price: 18, Variety: 8, Originality, 8, Overall: 2
This intimate Italian restaurant is known for its filet mignon with zip sauce. Originally located in Detroit. 885 Opdyke Rd., Auburn Hills, 248-373-4440, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily, $30 Meeting Room Capacity: 70. Wine Review: Poor selection. High prices. Short list. Commonly available. Doesn’t even list vintages! Price: 10, Variety: 5, Originality, 3, Overall: 1
6. Big Rock Chop & Brew House
This Birmingham staple, set in a historic train station, offers an award-winning menu highlighted by unique steak and seafood offerings. 245 S. Eton, Birmingham, 248-647-7774, L&D Mon.-Sat., $22, Meeting Room Capacity: 400, Valet, WIFI. Wine Review: Extensive California list. Decent Italian. Price: 15, Variety: 17, Originality: 13, Overall: 4
7. Cameron’s Steakhouse
Executive Chef Alex Lucier brings his New York culinary experience — think bone-in ribeye and lamb chops. 115 Willis, Birmingham, 248-723-1700, D Nightly, $30, Meeting Room Capacity: 50, Valet. Wine Review: Covers the usual bases. Lacks much imagination. Pricey. Price: 10, Variety: 10, Originality: 8, Overall: 3
8. Forest Grill
Located in Birmingham’s Triangle District, the culinary team prepares charcuterie and traditional bistro dishes. 753 Forest Ave., Birmingham, 248-258-9400, D Mon.-Sat., $33, Meeting Room Capacity: Multiple Options, Valet. Wine Review: Nicely balanced worldwide wine list, all kinds of small producers. Great prices! Price: 20, Variety: 18, Originality 19, Overall: 5
A unique and refined menu for Middle Eastern cuisine inspired by Old World Beirut. Owner Sameer Eid selects the finest cuts from each morning. 588 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham, 248-644-3122, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily, $22, Meeting Room Capacity: NA, WIFI. Wine Review: Variety rules on this moderate-size list that spans the globe and quality. Very good prices. Price: 16, Variety: 15, Originality: 13, Overall: 4
10. Rugby Grille
Tucked inside Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel, The Rugby Grille offers steaks, seafood, and rack of lamb. 100 Townsend St., Birmingham, 248-642-5999, B,L&D Daily, $38, Meeting Room Capacity: Multiple Options, Valet, WIFI, Wine Review: One of the best, long by the glass lists. Well-rounded international bottle list. A little pricey. Price: 12, Variety: 16, Originality: 17, Overall: 4.5
11. Andiamo Italia West
Popular year round, the Italian eatery offers a range of traditional dishes like ravioli and lasagna. 6676 Telegraph, Bloomfield Hills, 248-865-9300, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. & Sun., $24, Meeting Room Capacity: 130, Valet, WIFI. Wine Review: Basic wine list of Italian and U.S. “Reserve” list with gems like Solaia and Tignanello. Price: 15, Variety: 10, Originality: 12, Overall: 3
12. Northern Lakes Seafood Co.
A Matt Prentice restaurant featuring fresh seafood dishes highlighted by an array of shellfish. 39495 N. Woodward, Bloomfield Hills, 248-646-7900, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily, $22, Meeting Room Capacity: 30, Valet, WIFI. Wine Review: Dense list with new and old world gem after gem. Few lists boast this variety, plus low prices. Price: 20, Variety: 17, Originality: 18, Overall: 5
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