There are two things that are impossible to ignore the moment you walk into Iridescence, the restaurant at the top of Motor City Casino and Hotel.
One: The restaurant itself is stunning. Drop dead gorgeous. The high ceilings set it apart from every other dining destination in the city. The light fixtures are swoon worthy, and really there isn’t a bad seat in the house, the tables nicely spaced to set you up for the fine dining experience.
Two: The view of the city of Detroit is about the only thing that could upstage the carefully thought out restaurant interior. This was the fourth time I have been to Iridescence. The city has changed a lot since my last visit, but the view has always been one to behold, even when the city was not at its best, the train station dotted with shattered windows.
You go to Iridescence for the beauty and the view, which even on a gloomy winter day took my breath away.
But it is still a restaurant, so the food and drink need to impress.
The drinks definitely do. A perfectly balanced paloma with fresh squeezed grapefruit went down a little too easy. A fig and blood orange vodka cocktail put the classic cosmo to shame. The old fashioned showed up others around the area. Iridescence knows how to make a thoughtful, unique, yet not weird cocktail. It’s harder than it sounds.
The food on the other hand didn’t live up to my memories or the AAA four diamond hype.
The amuse bouche kicked off the evening right. A beef tartar with parmesan cheese, caviar, and horseradish was perfectly balanced.
The appetizers were nice as well. The cheese plate was a pleasant surprise with three distinct cheeses: cheddar, brie, and goat, each enjoyable in their own right. Paired with honey, dried figs, and crostini, it was a nice way to begin the evening, as was the frito misto, a mix of perfectly fried vegetables.
The entrees were less successful. One of our friends liked her filet mignon with a vanilla bean butter poached lobster tail quite well. Our other friend ordered the bone-in ribeye, which is also what Mom and I shared. We agreed that while it wasn’t a bad steak, it lacked flavor almost entirely, especially for something dry aged and prime. Our steak was also overcooked.
The French fries shared that problem, too brown and crispy with a definite note of burnt oil from the fryer. The loaded twice baked potato made up for them. A meal in and of itself, topped with cheese and meat, it’s a sight and side to behold.
Dad enjoyed his rib cap steak, but also felt the flavor was lacking. I have a suspicion this could be because they use Niman Ranch meat. I like Niman Ranch, but I fear the grass fed beef doesn’t lend itself robust and fancy steak dinners.
Unlike the steaks, the vegetables, asparagus and carrots, were on the crunchy side, though the grill flavor on the asparagus was quite welcome.
I think some of my disappointment with the meal came from the fact that Iridescence used to be more than an a la cart steakhouse. They used to present the entrees so carefully and beautifully with appropriate accompaniments. They took culinary risks with the menu that set them apart from pretty much every other restaurant. I miss that.
It’s really a bummer because Iridescence has everything going for it: the view, the décor, amazing service, fabulous cocktails, and even some of the food is there, but the main parts aren’t. if they up their food game, it will be one of the hottest restaurants in a city full of hard to get tables.
The meal ended on a delightful coconut macaroon, the perfect ending to any meal. It’s funny that some of the best dishes, were complementary, the tartar and the cookie. I have a feeling those are the dishes where the chef’s ability shines. Let’s inject that into the rest of the menu.