Restaurant Review | Detroit Restaurant Week at Detroit Seafood Market
It’s Detroit Restaurant Week through April 20 — an event I was immensely pleased to discover while dining at Detroit Seafood Market on Saturday evening. Presented by Shinola, Detroit Restaurant Week features some of Detroit’s finest eateries — three of which I’ll feature on my blog this week. So, stay tuned!
To kick off my Restaurant Week posts, let’s go back to Saturday evening.
While deciding on a dinner location, I said to my dad, “I don’t want Italian.” That’s often our go-to cuisine. I eventually narrowed down that I’d like to eat seafood. That’s when my dad suggested Detroit Seafood Market, a classy, jazzy joint in Motor City’s downtown.
Located on Randolph Street, Detroit Seafood Market is within walking distance of the Detroit Opera House, Music Hall, Ford Field, Comerica Park, the historic Gem Theatre and the Detroit Athletic Club. You could also dine here before catching a show at the Fillmore or the Fox Theatre. There is metered street parking available nearby, and we ended up parking on Madison Avenue and walking through Paradise Valley Park, which commemorates the city’s history. Fellow Detroiters remember that area as Harmonie Park.
Make your reservation on OpenTable for Detroit Restuarant Week.
The restaurant takes reservations on OpenTable, but we just walked in around 5:30 p.m. Saturday and waited for a table. My dad called ahead, but was told the restaurant wasn’t taking any more reservations at that time. The hostess did inform us that our party of two wouldn’t wait long, so we just ordered a round of drinks from the bar — a Louis M. Martini Cabernet for my dad and a Bellini for me.
Happy Hour and waiting dinner guests keep the bar busy.
My Bellini, garnished with a sliced strawberry, was heavy on the Champagne. No complaints here. The bar was full of patrons enjoying pre-dinner drinks and happy hour, which runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday with half-off beverages and appetizers. You can also eat from the full menu at the bar.
Live jazz sets a romantic vibe.
Tucked in a corner of the restaurant is a black piano. I was hoping for some live music, and my wish was granted just after we were seated. Jazz notes filled the restaurant, creating a romantic ambiance. I noticed quite a few couples — young twosomes in their late 20s or 30s to pairs in their golden years — in the dining room. My dad, a jazz music listener whose musical tastes have rubbed off on me over the years, thought the pianist was superb. We even recognized some of the tunes. (Must be all those years of listening to Smooth Jazz V98.7 in my dad’s car.)
Detroit Restaurant Week menu features three-course $30 prix-fixe meal options.
Both my dad and I ended up ordering from the Detroit Restaurant Week menu and began our meals with cups of the lobster bisque. As my dad noted, every restaurant seems to have its own take on the soup. At Detroit Seafood Market, the chef’s “special offering” was more yellow in color than any lobster bisque I’ve eaten, but the flavor was spot-on.
We also began our meal with the complimentary bread, which was fluffy and just wonderful, and six Blue Point oysters on the half shell.
These were the largest oysters I’ve eaten! They were served with cocktail sauce, horseradish and a lemon wedge to squeeze. They were divine.
For my entree, I ordered the Stuffed Atlantic Salmon. The salmon filet was stuffed with blue crab and bay shrimp over fresh vegetables and topped with a creamy lemon beurre blanc sauce. The dish was absolutely delicious, and I’d certainly order it again. I’m pretty sure my plate was clean in record speed.
For his entree, my dad ordered the Shimp and Lobster Alfredo from the restaurant week menu. The Alfredo sauce came highly recommended by our waitress. I tasted it, and it was light, not thick and creamy, which I’d prefer for a seafood dish. Also, the shrimp were a nice size for a pasta dish — not jumbo but not small. On the regular dinner menu there is a Seafood Alfredo, but the seafood may or may not be shrimp and lobster when you order it.
The restaurant week prix-fixe includes an appetizer, entree and dessert from a select menu. For dessert, your options are a chocolate mousse or cheesecake topped with berries. Of course, we ordered one of each in order to sample both.
The clear winner was the cheesecake. Not too rich or filling, the strawberry-and-whipped-cream-topped cheesecake was the perfect ending to a delicious meal.
Taking care of customers turns mishap into funny story.
Everything at the beginning of our night was going smoothly. We were seated at a semi-private, enclosed booth with views of the dining room. We had ordered a Pinot Noir, the wine pairing suggested on the menu. Noting that the Cabernet in the bar was served at room temperature, we asked that the bottle be chilled. Our request was easily accommodated with a bucket of ice. Our appetizers were delivered quickly. Then came the entrees, and crash, boom, bang went my stuffed salmon.
I’m not sure, but I think the whole dining room may have fallen silent for a moment there. I couldn’t be sure because I was busy dabbing beuree blanc from my LBD as a flurry of staff members cleared the plates and mess. I recall asking for another napkin and two were delivered. Then, almost immediately, after the spill was cleaned, two new entrees were delivered.
Dropping a plate as a waiter or waitress must be one of their worst fears for things that could go wrong on the job. Unfortunately, sometimes these things happen. It’s really how you handle the aftermath that defines your service. Like I said, the mess was quickly cleaned, new dishes were prepared and brought to our table quickly, the staff seemed genuinely concerned about my well-being and, in the end, they comped our oysters as a further apology.
Watching your entree land on the seat beside you really could be one of those moments that defines and ruins your night. But, it wasn’t at all. I left Detroit Seafood Market a happy customer, fully satisfied with my meal and overall dining experience. And, now I can always say to my dad, “Remember that one time a salmon nearly landed in my lap.”
Know before you go …
Restaurant: Detroit Seafood Market
Location: 1435 Randolph St., Detroit, Michigan
Parking: Metered street parking
Menu: Seafood, paella, salads, vegetable sides
Drinks: Sparkling, red and white wines available by the glass or bottle; signature cocktails and martinis; bottled domestic and imported beers
Prices: Appetizers from $7 for cup of lobster bisque to $15 lobster mac & cheese; entrees from $11 for a chopped salad to $38 for surf & turf
Specials: Happy Hour with 50-percent off drinks and appetizers in the bar from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday | Prix Fixe Dinner for Two with a bottle of wine for $69 on Mondays (requires reservation) | Martini Mondays with $5 martinis from happy hour through midnight | Half-off bottles of wine Tuesdays | All-you-can-eat crab legs on Wednesdays | Lobster and wine dinner for two for $69 on Thursdays (requires reservations) | Sunday Brunch for $30
Wish you were here,