Detroit Restaurant Week: Spring 2015 Edition

By: Amber Ogden | May 1, 2015
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Get ready to chow, Metro Detroiters. The 12th edition of Detroit Restaurant Week kicks off today and runs through Sunday, May 10. This year’s spring edition of DRW will feature 17 of Detroit’s favorite and up-and-coming restaurants, all of which are providing three course dinners for just $30 per person.

Fine dining at establishments such as Top of the Pontch, Roast and Ottava Via, where you get a three course meal for less than a night at the movie theater almost seems too good to be true!

Since its beginning in 2009, Detroit Restaurant Week has raked in more than $6.6 million in sales for participating restaurants and brought in nearly 360,000 diners.

All participating restaurants were encouraged to develop special menus for Detroit Restaurant Week, ensuring that everything offered would be seasonally themed and super fresh.

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One such participating restaurant, The Whitney, is offering a three-course menu that serves as a preview to the restaurant’s seasonal menu. The Restaurant Week menu includes a first course option of The Whitney Salad, Soup du Jour, Oyster Duet, Chilled Shrimp Gazpacho or Eggplant Bruschetta, followed by an entrée of Braised Short Rib, Roasted Bone-In Pork Loin, Crispy Fried Lake Perch, Shrimp Chop Salad, Lemon Garlic Chicken or Stuffed Portobello. For dessert, choose from a Duet of Miniatures, Bright Lemon Torte or Sorbet.

Detroit Restaurant Week

(Photo provided by Morin Yousif of Paxahau/Detroit Restaurant Week)

Depending on how well each of the items sell, they will be considered for the restaurant’s garden menu, according to Dave Duey, operations manager of The Whitney.

“Every year with this, there’s two things that you hope to accomplish: the first is that you do a lot of business. Depending on when this week falls, it’s a boom for everyone who is involved… The second is that you hope to impact people who have never been here before,” Duey said.

Since The Whitney is a special occasion restaurant, and not somewhere you congregate with your buddies to grab a burger before a ball game, Duey hopes Restaurant Week allows people to later remember The Whitney when an important event comes about. Also, that the real value and real fun of Detroit Restaurant Week is to go somewhere you don’t normally and to have a new experience.

“If you haven’t found a reason to come downtown to dine, this should be it,” Duey said of Detroit Restaurant Week.

Angelina Italian Bistro has been around for almost seven years, serving up authentic Italian recipes inspired by Sicilian grandmothers Grace and Angelina. During Restaurant Week, the menu will include several first course choices, including Crispy Calamari Strips, Angelina Meatballs, Rock Shrimp Ceviche and Classic Caesar. For the entrée, enjoy Lamb Gnocchi, Caprese Ravioli, Tuscan Grilled Chicken or Pappardelle Bolognese. Lemon Ricotta Cake and Chocolate Espresso Torte are your choices for dessert.

Tom Agosta, co-owner and operations manager of Angelina Italian Bistro, said Restaurant Week is typically the time when the eatery introduces new menu items, so you’re getting a sneak peak!

The chefs at Angelina’s make everything from scratch, replicating their Sicilian-born grandparent’s cooking, and Agosta said he hopes Restaurant Week helps to introduce new patrons to Angelina’s.

“Detroiters like to feel like their tastes are as good as anywhere else, whether that’s Chicago or New York. We’ve given people the opportunity, and they appreciate that and they’re coming out in bigger and bigger numbers,” Agosta said of Restaurant Week.

It also helps that Restaurant Week offers a value that diners perhaps can’t find on a normal evening, with an appetizer, entrée and dessert for a very reasonable cost.

“I think in a way, it brings people to different areas of the city, places they may not have gone to,” Agosta said. “People are going to want to come down more often and more regularly, and maybe if they’re in town for an event they’ll remember some of the places they’ve been to (during Restaurant Week).”

All participating restaurants in the spring 2015 edition of Detroit Restaurant Week include:

24Grille, Andiamo Detroit Riverfront, Angelina Italian Bistro, Cuisine, Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille, Detroit Seafood Market, Fountain Bistro, The Grille Midtown, La Dolce Vita, Ottava Via, PRISM (formerly Brizola), Roast, Roma Café, Santorini Estiatorio, Top of the Pontch, The Whitney and Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina.

Detroit Restaurant Week

(Ottava Via photo provided by Morin Yousif of Paxahau/Detroit Restaurant Week)

Dana Boyette, event manager for Detroit Restaurant Week, hopes that Metro Detroiters will be encouraged to make a night out of Restaurant Week by enjoying a great meal for a reasonable price, then capping the night off with a fun activity, like visiting the DIA or seeing a show at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

“Basically, we want Metro Detroiters to fall in love with the city, and if it takes a discounted meal that’s still top notch to do it, great,” Boyette said. “We know lots of folks love the city already, and (Detroit Restaurant Week) becomes a quasi-celebration of Detroit, and its dining culture.”

The goal, according to Boyette, is not just to get someone to dine out once during Restaurant Week, but for a new diner to fall in love with a particular restaurant or aspect of the city’s nightlife. That way, they’re more likely to become a repeat customer. He noted that right now is an exciting time for diners in Detroit, with more culinary choices than ever before, and Detroit Restaurant Week is an excellent opportunity to share those choices with fans this spring.

“Detroit, food-wise or otherwise, is a city where no one tells you no, or what you can or can’t do,” Boyette said. “Detroit’s a city of doers, and there are a lot of doers in Detroit that are in the food industry.”

He noted that out of the 17 restaurants participating in this edition of Detroit Restaurant Week, there is great variety, and depending on your tastes and your culinary sense of adventure, there is something for everyone.

“If you really appreciate classic Italian cuisine, then it’s hard to top Roma Café in Eastern Market—it’s Detroit’s oldest restaurant. If you’re looking for cutting edge creative cooking, chef Justin Vaiciunas at Top of the Pontch really pushes the envelope, as does chef Paul Grosz at Cuisine in New Center,” Boyette said. “The view is pretty nice at the Top, too!”

Don’t just take Boyette’s word for it, get out there and see for yourself! Menus for each restaurant can be found on the Detroit Restaurant Week Facebook page, and while reservations are not required, they are strongly recommended.

For more information on Detroit Restaurant Week, visit the official website.