Celebrity chef Michael Symon is an agent of positive change for faltering Midwest cities. He is credited with helping to “save” his hometown of Cleveland by opening not one, but two critically acclaimed restaurants, Lolita and Lola. So, perhaps there is no better culinary figure to take on the task of proving that Detroit really is “America’s Great Comeback City.” He’s doing just that with his restaurant Roast, located in the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Motor City.
Roast is officially a steakhouse, and the choice cuts here back that up. As the menu states, all of the meat “is hand chosen and naturally raised”; glowing recommendations for the filet mignon with crab Bearnaise sauce, the hanger, the dry-aged New York strip, and the dry-aged ribeye echo around the Internet. If you’re looking for meat that’s not necessarily of the bovine variety, try the dry-aged rack of lamb, which comes with ash onion, eggplant, and preserved lemon. The seafood and sides are menu stars themselves, the standouts being the Brussels sprouts with walnuts; rosemary fries; grilled octopus with almond, fresno, and olive; branzino; and roasted bone marrow with sea salt, oregano, capers, and chilies. The beef cheek pierogies, served with horseradish and mushrooms, are also a fan favorite, which is quite a feat considering that, as of 2001, Detroit has the second-largest Polish population in America (Chicago has the largest).
Make sure to leave room for dessert, as pastry chef Shannon Kellett knows how to show your sweet tooth a good time. The two most popular desserts are The Bar (chocolate, malt marshmallow, pretzel, smoked salt, and whiskey sauce) and the Chocolate Coffee Bang Bang (coffee ice cream, hazelnut ganache, and “coffee soil”). The beer list spans a pleasantly wide range and includes brews from local favorites like Bell’s Brewery and Dark Horse Brewing Co., as well as classics from our Europeans friends like Brouwerij Bavik in Belgium. The same goes for the wine list, which boasts wines from California, France, Italy, Germany, and even Michigan; the cocktail list comprises popular traditional drinks such as the French 75 and Pisco Sour, but mixes in eye-catching newcomers like the Unrequited Like: Meletti amaro, Black Grouse whisky, fresh lemon, soda, and rosemary.
Chef Symon clearly has a major soft spot for the Midwest, and we commend him for standing by what he holds dear. Roast is a vote for Detroit — a ringing affirmation that yes, this city has a lot to offer and deserves to be championed. We hear you loud and clear, Chef.