1 03 2009
  • 1128 Washington Boulevard
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 961-2500
  • Website
  • Menu
Michael Symons Roast in downtown Detroit.

Michael Symon's Roast in downtown Detroit.

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.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hackney’s in Palos Park (IL)

3 01 2009
  • 9550 W. 123rd St.
  • Palos Park, IL 60464
  • (708) 448-8300
  • Website
  • Menu
Hackneys in Palos Park on 123rd and LaGrange in Palos Park, IL

Hackney's in Palos Park on 123rd and LaGrange in Palos Park, IL

Whenever I talk about the “best burger” people always bring up burgers with lots of stuff on them or a great special sauce, but no one ever takes the time to talk about a really good flavorful piece of meat.  I don’t like sauces and condiments on my burgers.  I want a burger that tastes good with a slice of cheese on a bun that wasn’t delivered to the back door three weeks ago.  I’ve found a few places in Lansing with burgers like that, but it’s never at the places that win “best burger.”  Very few places take the time to grind their own meat and put the emphasis on the cow.  Lucky for me, there’s still a place in Chicagoland that does just that.

If the name Hackney’s sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’re a fan of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network.  Guy Fieri visited the original Hackney’s in Glenview.  There are six restaurants overall including a downtown Chicago location.  We chose to visit the Palos Park location which has been open since 1986. 

Hackney’s in Palos Park sits on the corner of LaGrange Road and 123rd Street.  It’s across the street from the forest preserve and there’s not much else around it. The building looks like an old farm house both inside and out.  We showed up on a Saturday night just before 5:00.  There’s a huge parking lot that was fairly empty, so we were pretty confident seating wasn’t going to be a problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Red Cedar Grill

5 05 2008
  • 5114 W. Saginaw HwyRed Cedar Grill
  • Lanisng, MI 48917
  • (517) 323-6300
  • Website
  • Menu

I first noticed Red Cedar Grill my first week in Lansing.  We found Lansing Mall looking for Younkers and Red Cedar Grill has a very prominent store front on the outside of the building.  Regular commenter John recommended Red Cedar, so we decided to make it a point to check it out.  My girlfriend needed to go to Younkers, so we made a pre-work trip with enough time to grab lunch.

There are two entrances to Red Cedar.  There is an entrance inside the mall, but the main entrance is the outside door.  We entered through the mall entrance and there was a sign that told us to go to the hostess station at the front of the store.  That’s a little weird considering you have to walk all the through the dining room to get to the front.  The space is gorgeous.  The dining room is dimly lit.  There are booths on a little platform that run the whole length of the wall plus there are tables between the booths and the bar.  There’s a patio out front and a sun room type space next to that.  The bar is also beautiful.  It’s a long L-shape made out of a dark wood.  The low lighting and dark colors make the place really cozy and relaxing.

Red Cedar GrillUsually at malls, you expect places like TGIFriday’s or Ruby Tuesday.  Red Cedar Grill is definately not one of those places.  The menu is much more upscale.  We stopped in for lunch and even the lunch menu was better than burgers and salads….but they did have both on the menu.

I ordered the BBQ, Bacon and Bleu burger.  Crumbled bleu cheese topped a juicy burger.  Bacon was layered on top of that then BBQ sauce was put on the onion roll.  The burger was nice and juicy.  The BBQ sauce sort of cancelled out the bleu cheese taste, but you could still get just a hint of it….and there was a lot of bleu cheese.  I don’t really like onion rolls, but I knew that when I ordered, so I’m not holding that against the sandwich.  The sandwich was good.  It was served with shoestring fries on the side and there was also some hot rolls and butter brought to the table before.  With all that food, for the first time in a long time, I was defeated.  I couldn’t finish everything on my plate….which is a good thing because I’m a big eater. 

My girlfriend ordered the Smoked Turkey Grill….which I almost ordered myself it looked so good.  Smoked turkey was stacked on rye bread with bacon, tomato, aged cheddar, and dijon mustard.  Her meal also came with a side of cracked pepper kettle chips.  For the first time, I almost wished my meal came with chips instead of fries.  These were really good.  The cracked pepper made the chips a little spicy.  The smoked turkey was delicious.  She didn’t say a whole lot about the sandwich other than it was good.  She did remark more than once that the chips were delicious.

Our bill with pop was $25, so it’s not a cheap meal, but the food is quality and the service was pretty good.  For a while, we were the only ones in the restaurant, but we hit them right as they opened.  The server disappeared come check time, but during the meal, he was always there when we needed another Coke.  The food came out pretty quickly and we probably weren’t there more than a half hour. 

Thanks, John, for the suggestion.  We’ll have to go back and try the dinner menu now.

In Good Company

17 04 2008
  • 9039 S. MeridianIn Good Company
  • Clarklake, MI 49324
  • (517) 529-9150
  • Website
  • Menu

I was working near Clark Lake for a couple weeks and I drove by In Good Company a couple times on the way to my job.  Since I had a little time for lunch one afternoon, I decided to head back and give the place a shot. 

You walk into the restaurant and come to the hostess station.  The dining room is seperated into three sections.  Since I was dining alone, they put me in the middle dining room by myself at a table for two.  The waitress came over and brought me a Pepsi then took my dinner order.  The menu at In Good Company is really unique for a diner.  They have exotice things like a Bison Burger and they take someting like a panini and go a little bit farther than the usual diner fare. 

I went with the Only One Burger.  A fresh 1/2 lb angus beef patty is topped with bacon, cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and onion then put on a baked fresh bun.  You get the option of either just ordering the sandwich or ordering a meal which gives you your choice of two sides.  I went with a salad for my first choice.  Just your basic side salad with a Italian dressing.  My second choice I went with fries which are curly fries similar to those you get at Arby’s. 

The burger was a little disappointing.  All the extras made the burger tasty, but the meat itself was dry and In Good Companysorta flavorless.  It was a good concept for a burger, but overdone a little.  I asked for the burger medium and it came out more well done.

The waitress came with the check while I was still working on the burger, so there was no lag time there.  The bill was $10 before tip.  Not bad for a full meal like that.  The service was quick and I was able to make it back to my job in under an hour.  In Good Company has a menu full of interesting items that will make this place worth a return trip.