Monday, January 21, 2013

Detroit Carnivores

Disclaimer: if you don't like meat/offal, don't eat meat/offal, etc...this post is probably not for you.

Jeremy first heard about Roast from a professor he worked for, after he asked what his favorite restaurant is. We've been meaning to try it out for a couple of years now, and we finally did for my 27th birthday!

Roast is located on street level of the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit. How can you go wrong with a restaurant owned by Michael Symon?
We did flag a cab to get here--traffic was a nightmare and it was too windy and cold to hike the half mile from our room at the Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The ride was only 5-10 minutes. We walked into the lobby of the Westin, turned to the left, and were greeted by the hostess of Roast. The restaurant is dark; dark leather booths, dark wood paneling, dimmed lights...Jeremy and I giggled with each other over this, as it makes you feel like you are about to participate in something incredibly hedonistic. We had a nice booth next to a window to ourselves, with a wonderful view of the bar; they have basically made a centerpiece focal point out of the wine cellar/storage: windows allow you to view all of the bottles, lined up beautifully; you can watch servers/bartenders go inside and get what they need--check out the website for an actual photo).

Our server brought us the drink menu, on nothing other than an iPad programmed with their entire drink selection. All we had to do was filter through the hundreds of listings. I ended up ordering a 'Forbidden Fruit'...a cocktail composed of Calvados and I don't even remember what else. It was tasty, but strong. That's what you get when you order something made from apple brandy.
Jeremy had a beer (Orval, a belgian ale to be more specific).

We sat for a while pondering what to order for food. We had skimmed the menu online prior to arriving and had decided to order two appetizers. We just had to figure out what else to order. But first, the apps.

We had our hearts set on roasted marrow and southern fried sweetbreads. I have always had mixed feelings about marrow. I grew up with Mom raving about how delicious and wonderful it is, but difficult to find. Jeremy loves it. I said I would try it with no guarantees. I'm still not sure if I like it, from a purely textural standpoint. Anyhow, I can appreciate that it was prepared well and Jeremy had zero complaints. And the flavors were wonderful. If you like marrow, order this.

Sweetbreads. We had our first experience with sweetbreads in Northern Michigan. These were prepared very differently from our first encounter. They were delicious, and fried crispy, served atop sliced apples and slaw. No complaints from us, we gave them two thumbs up and there wasn't anything left on the plate.

Entrees. We finally decided, after much debate, what to order. The 'Roast Beast of the Day' was goat, pulled and topped with a salsa verde. Jeremy loves goat, but wasn't keen on the idea of it being pulled.
I told him I would order the ribeye and share, and he could get something else. And of course, being Jeremy, he selected the veal heart...
The ribeye was probably one of the best steaks I have ever had. I always order steak medium-rare, and it was done just that way, with a nicely charred and flavorful outside. Each cut is hand selected and house aged, topped with watercress, radish and blue cheese. The whole dish, from cooking temperature to plating presentation was perfect.
I should let Jeremy write more about the veal heart, since it was his dish. The veal heart came rare, atop celery root puree and garnished with spicy giardiniera (essentially pickled vegetables). Jeremy enjoyed the dish, but wasn't used to it being prepared on the rare side. I tried it and didn't care for the chewy texture. Once again, there was nothing left on the plate...
We, of course, chose a restaurant that serves every item a la carte, so sides were separate. We ordered three. Everything comes family style, which is nice.
Side Number 1: Fried Brussels Sprouts. O...M...G....I could eat these every day. Crispy on the outside, and perfectly soft on the inside, these were the most amazing brussels sprouts we've ever had.

Side Number 2: Wild Mushrooms. Cooked in butter. They were delicious, and prepared with the simplest of seasonings. You definitely get to experience the full fungal flavor.

Side Number 3: Broccolini with garlic and breadcrumbs. Yum!

Of course, a birthday dinner cannot be completed without dessert. They had a variety of options, but we couldn't resist the creme brulee of the day: brown butter creme brulee. I love me some brown butter, and my little brain could hardly wrap itself around the idea of flavoring creme brulee with it. Yummo. My taste buds were in awe!

The upshot: my 27th birthday dinner was a total success...despite the traffic jam from the International North American Auto Show, and the fact that my birthday falls in one of the coldest months of the year. If you want a hedonistic, meatcentric experience, or just plain delicious food, check out Roast Detroit. We highly recommend it.

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