While I love going out to eat for great food and service, one of my other favorite things about it is being with friends and chatting the night away over whatever topics are on our minds. There has been many a night when two or three or even more hours have passed by in the blink of an eye without one glance at my watch over drinks and dinner with our wait person having to break up the conversation to give up information about specials or ask how we are enjoying our meals.
I make a decision on whether to ever return to a restaurant based solely on the food, service, and environment. But when I look back on an evening out with joy and happiness, it is most often the people with me and the stories that were shared that bring a smile to my face. That is really what a great night out is all about.
My latest night out was at The Rattlesnake Club in downtown Detroit. It was a glorious day. Not a cloud in the sky and unseasonably warm May temperatures made it even easier to leave my kitchen behind for a night and the cooking to someone else. Walking in, the restaurant is quite beautiful. Bright and modern, the expansive restaurant had lots of windows letting in the sunlight, a welcome sight at a restaurant when so many of them lack windows.
The service was good, as our waitress was kind, knowledgeable and prompt. Amanda at the hostess stand was also great and did an allergy check for me before we dined, which I so appreciated! But then, there’s what we all focus on when we go out to eat: the food.
For dinner it was my parents, another couple, and me. I ordered a pomegranate martini, which was quite good, and Mom enjoyed her pineapple-vanilla one. The bread was also quite good. The garlic rolls and flatbread crackers with nigella seeds and sea salt were hits at the table, but my favorite was the multi-grain bread, which had a wonderful sweet flavor with a soft interior and firm exterior. Bread baskets are not left on the table, only brought around by one of the helpers, something I’ve never really enjoyed. I understand that bread baskets can be wasteful, but I always like to have one at the table.
Mom and I skipped starters, but Dad enjoyed his Caesar salad. The smoked shrimp and artichoke ravioli was enjoyed by one of our guests, while the other had the special soup of the day: a Thai chili coconut broth with rice and rock shrimp. He enjoyed it, though it wasn’t quite as spicy as he was hoping and the portion was too large, although that’s better than one that’s too small.
Then it came time for the entrees. Mom and dad both had Certified Angus Prime Filets. They raved about them, and I tasted Mom’s and also agree the steak was fantastic. Great flavor and very tender, the high fat content and quality of the meat was detectable in each bite. One of our guests had a strip steak served with mashed potatoes. The presentation was nice and he enjoyed it. I always appreciate a restaurant that serves prime meat, and Angus Prime is my favorite, because in this day and age it is increasingly difficult to find. The amazing meat along with reasonable prices, particularly by fine dining standards, is really very impressive. I also enjoyed the rosemary garnish on the grilled dishes. It added great flavor and reminded me how much I enjoy rosemary.
Our other guest had the composed scallop entrée with orzo and enjoyed it. I had grilled scallops, which were excellent: tender, juicy, sweet, and cooked to perfection; the smoky char-grilled flavor on the outside was great and another thing that is not common to find in restaurants. I ordered the seared mushrooms with my entrée and found them to be excellent. But I am a French fry junkie, so I couldn’t wait to try the ones here, and they did not disappoint. Slightly thicker than the fries we’ve had recently, but not too thick, they were hot, crispy, and not oily. I loved them.
Of course I ordered dessert. The Pear and Hazelnut Financier was a little dense and dry, but the pomegranate sorbet served with it made up for the cake. I would buy that by the pint; it may have been my favorite part of the meal. The Michigan Apple Crisp was excellent. The apples, soft and tender, were covered by a flaky pie crust like pastry with bourbon honey ice cream melting into the dish and candied bacon crumbles. The bacon intrigued me, but I could have done without it. The crust was my favorite part. I would easily order this again. Dad had the white chocolate ravioli, which he enjoyed. The double chocolate bread pudding that one of our guests ordered looked amazing. I mean really amazing and both of our guests loved it. But whatever . . . I liked my apple crisp just fine in my chocolate free zone!
Overall, the food was excellent at The Rattlesnake Club, as was the service and environment, but the restaurant was surprisingly empty, emptier than any restaurant I’ve been to in a long time. So for all of you metro Detroiters out there, check out The Rattlesnake Club for great food, better meat than most restaurants out there, and pretty good prices. If any of the rest of you come to the area be sure to check it out too.
And after dinner, if it’s a nice day, take a few moments to walk along the Detroit River. It was wonderful to stroll along the water with the breeze blowing and the sun shining. I can’t think of a better way to cap off a great evening.