Beginning Friday, diners will swarm 17 of the Motor City's swankiest kitchens for the fall edition of Detroit Restaurant Week, which lasts through October 7.
$30, a $2 increase from the past, still gives guests a three-course meal at a tremendous value during the biannual dining promotion hosted by Paxahau. April's Restaurant Week brought in a record number of people, with more than 38,000 diners taking part -- so make your reservations ASAP at OpenTable.com. Tax and beverages aren't included, and make sure to leave a generous gratuity for your server.
(Scroll down to browse all of this season's Detroit Restaurant Week menus with our DRW Fall 2012 slideshow.)
Each restaurant presents its own prix fixe menu, with most chefs drawing up new and different offerings every season. For patrons who don't regularly visit the city's finest restaurants, most menus offer plenty of classic favorites. This year, expect to see plenty of chicken dishes with an upscale twist, tender short ribs and balanced fish entrees, particularly more sustainable North American catches like cod and perch.
But adventurous eaters who regard a dinner out as a culinary adventure needn't despair. Many of this year's eateries have balanced their menus to highlight inventive, unexpected choices along with those tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.
Here are a few of our favorite creative dishes at this fall's Detroit Restaurant Week:
Atlas Global Bistro: With an appetizer called the "Bohemian Scallop," Atlas Global Bistro, newly opened after some recent repairs, spotlights Asian influences and sophisticated culinary technique on their DRW fall menu. The aforementioned scallop is served along with rosemary air, grapefruit vanilla gelée, tobiko and baby bok choy. Pair it with a risotto tossed with Vietnamese sausage-stuffed squid and Thai basil or Korean spare ribs served alongside three kinds of kimchi. The final bow? We suggest the grown-up pleasures of a lavender ice cream and Riesling-soaked poached pear.
Fountain Bistro: Diners will get their money's worth at Fountain Bistro, which will offer luxe ingredients and Continental-flavored cuisine alongside the gorgeous nighttime views of Campus Martius Park. We're intrigued by a first serving of risotto cake baked with a basil infusion and pricey saffron threads. Generous entrees include a chargrilled lamb chop flanked by a pomme purée, herb lamb jus and melted mint and seafood risotto heaped with lobster, scallops, mussels and shrimp. Bonus: Fountain Bistro will validate your parking ticket from the Compuware Garage. This restaurant really IS all about value.
Iridescence: Motor City Casino's 4-Diamond hotspot is known for serving some of the state's finest -- and priciest -- cuisine. We're used to swooning over serious eats like chateaubriand and lobster tail from atop Detroit's gaudiest LED building. Expect this autumn's Restaurant Week menu to be a bit more low-key. Playful, creative offerings spin American classics into high-rolling haute cuisine. We suggest the grilled cheese appetizer of mozzarella, olive lemon butter and the hottest gluten product of the moment, the pretzel roll. The cheekiness continues with an entree inspired by Chicken Cordon Bleu and a peanut butter bar topped with caramelized bananas for dessert.
Click through the slideshow to check out all of the menus at this season's Detroit Restaurant Week. And don't forget to make those reservations!