Finally! The present I’ve been looking forward to. When I told J I bought her tickets to a concert in Windsor, she suggested going to Roast for dinner. Her treat. I was so excited when I read an article that Iron Chef Michael Symon was opening a Detroit restaurant and when I saw the menu for it, I knew I had to go.
Roast is in downtown Detroit on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in the recently restored Westin Book-Cadillac hotel. The restaurant is on the bottom floor of the Washington Boulevard side. There is an entrance from the hotel, but there’s also a set of doors next to the hotel’s main entrance that lead directly into the restaurant.
We surprisingly found parking at a meter about a block away. Had we not, the choices looked to be very limited. I think I saw a self park on Michigan Avenue next to the hotel. There’s also a valet service if that’s more your thing.
We arrived at about 5:45 for a 6:15 reservation. We checked in with the matre’d figuring we were going to have to wait, but they actually seated us right away. Roast has a couple huge dining rooms. They are street level with huge windows looking out into downtown Detroit. The space is covered with dark, subdued colors with pops of light. From the dining room, you can see into the kitchen and you can watch the “Roast Beast of the Day” being slow roasted on a spit. We didn’t sit in the dining room. Instead, we were seated in the bar area which actually worked out really well.
The bar has a row of booths along a back wall near the wine racks. It’s sort of cut off from the rest of the restaurant. We were put at a table for four which was fine with us. Usually when we eat at restaurants like this, we put at a table a few inches from another table and it makes for an uncomfortable dinner. At Roast, we were seated by ourselves with plenty of space and we could just enjoy the meal instead of being forced to listen to someone else’s cell phone conversation.
Our waitress came over for drinks and since it was a special night, we both ordered something different. J ordered a Basil Rum Punch. This one actually sounded good to me. It was Pyrat XO Rum, Amaretto, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Basil. It was delicious. I ordered a beer. They had Bud Light and Miller Lite, but that just seemed too normal. Instead, I ordered a Dortmunder Gold from the Great Lakes Brewing Company out of Cleveland, Ohio. I don’t know much about beer. I just know when I drink, I drink domestics, so I ordered a lager. It was alright, but a little too bitter for me. Micro-brews aren’t really my thing.
We passed on appetizers and went for the entrees. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I ordered the Roast Burger. I’m sorry. I just really like burgers and gourmet burgers are even better. It came with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg. What was really unique was that it was served on an English muffin. A few weeks ago, I had a similar burger at Hot Chocolate in Chicago. I said then I didn’t see the point of the egg because I couldn’t taste it. At Roast, the egg came pretty much over easy (it was over hard at Hot Chocolate). The meat was a very pink medium and the combination was delicious. The English muffin was a nice touch and gave the sandwich a different texture than what I’m used to. To my surprise, the burger actually came with Rosemary fries. I was going to get a side order of the fries, but the waitress said the sandwich came with them. The fries were served in the bottom half of a Boston shaker that was lined with butcher paper to form a cone and with a cup of homemade ketchup that had a smokey, almost BBQ sauce taste. The fries were fresh cut, shoestring potatoes that were seasoned with salt and rosemary. They were delicious. Like everything else about our meal, I was surprised by the portion size. It was almost a full shaker full. I actually didn’t finish them all. I ate until my stomach hurt and there was still food on my plate. That was not what I expected at all.
J ordered the Lemon Roasted Chicken. When we were talking about going to Roast, I was a little worried there wouldn’t be anything on the menu that she would like. Roast is like heaven if you’re a red meat eater, but if you’re not, the options are very limited. The chicken was a 1/4 boneless chicken with the breast and thigh. It was served on top of yogurt and came with an arugula chick pea salad. The chicken had a great crust on it which she really liked, but overall, she wasn’t super impressed. She said I make better chicken a couple times a week at home. I had a few bites. It was good, but it wasn’t anything special.
We only got one additional side for the table since mine came with the fries. Just about everyplace we eat, we get mac ‘n cheese. Roast had it’s own version of a mac ‘n cheese with goat cheese. J loved it. She said it was the best mac ‘n cheese she’s ever had. There was a a crunchy crust on top that she really liked. I had a few bites. It was good, but I’m not sure I could have eaten a whole order of it. The goat cheese definitely gave it a different taste.
Our bill wasn’t too bad. Before tip, it was just under $60. The amazing thing was that there was still food on our plates. Both our meals came with more food than we could eat. I have never had that happen at a white table cloth restaurant before. The burger, by far, is the best value on the menu at $14.
If you’ve heard anything about Roast, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Roast Beast of the Day. That was really tempting. The Roast Beast of the Day of suckling pig with a salsa verde and cracklin. Tell me that doesn’t sound tempting. The waitress conveniently didn’t mention the price and I was afraid to ask so I just let it go and went with the burger. I thought I would kick myself all night for not getting the beast, but the burger was so good I don’t feel so bad about it now.
Roast lived up to the hype. If you like meat, you have to go.
Runs With Spatula also did a review of Roast. You can read her review HERE