A couple weeks ago, this thing called Detroit Restaurant Week happened.
This blog has never claimed to be on the cutting edge of trends…or news, for that matter, so it’s only fitting that the review be past due.
I swear, I thought of you all while dining, I just didn’t get to updating. Semantics, really.
Anywho, Restaurant Week. 17 Fine Dining Restaurants. Three courses for $27. First ever in Detroit.
Apparently Detroit isn’t on the cutting edge of trends, either, since restaurant weeks are popular in other thriving metropoli. Luckily, Paxahau came to our rescue. The local event company is notorious for our annual Electronic Music Festival, and one (namely, me) might wonder how that parlays into a foodie festival.
But, it does because by all accounts, the first Detroit Restaurant Week was a huge success.
Of the 17 restaurants, I’d actually been to most. (What? I have a boyfriend who equally enjoys stuffing his face. It’s why we get along so well.) But, I was still anxious to partake in some of Restaurant Week.
First, I organized a ladies outing to Wolfgang Puck. Six of us made it out for a night on the town, from all over the state. I’d only been to Wolfgang’s for brunch, but was excited to see what dinner held.
While I really wanted the butternut squash ravioli for the first course, I opted for the “healthy” chopped vegetable salad. I don’t know if you could call it healthy with all the feta and dressing, but it was simply fabulous and I (almost) licked the plate.
Next up was the sauteed salmon with fingerling potatoes. Which? Was kind of amazing. The fish was perfectly flaky and the potatoes were perfectly crisp, yet creamy.
Then there was the 12 layer cake. Frankly, I was expecting a slab of cake. Instead, I was treated to 12 little layers of moist chocolatey goodness with even more chocolatey goodness in the accompanying sorbet.
It’s possible I woke up the next morning still full from the night before.
I hadn’t planned on any further outings, but was pleasantly surprised when a friend planned another night out mid-week. Let’s just say I was in the middle of the work week from hell and was excited for a break. Especially when I heard we were going to Iridescence.
My love for Iridescence is well-documented here. If you don’t feel like taking a little time machine trip with your mouse, let’s just say that this was the restaurant where I nearly bathed myself in the crab and white cheddar grits.
Needless to say, I was expecting an equally orgasmic experience. And for half the price!
I was ever-so-slightly disappointed.
Perhaps my wide-eyed foodie naivete has been tarnished. After all, it was over a year ago when I first laid eyes on Iridescence; I’ve been to several equally fabulous places since then. Or maybe it was the prix fixe menu. Or maybe it was the over-booked kitchen. Either way, it lacked the special-ness that IS Iridescence.
Why? Well, let’s look at it course-by-course.
I started with the corn ravioli and roasted shrimp. Which, admittedly, was excellent. Probably the best course.
Next, I chose the salmon. I know, I know, the same as the last place. But, each restaurant basically offered a steak, a chicken, and a fish. And, well, red meat and I are not friends, chicken just seems so boring, and that leaves me with fish.
But, since I had salmon at both restaurants, it gave me something to compare to. And the salmon at Iridescence just didn’t compare. It was slightly overdone and the sauce was just eh. The rice cake side was pretty great, but otherwise, the dish was so-so.
Then there was dessert. The options were roasted pineapples and cinnamon crumbcake ice cream or roquefort cheese with milk chocolate and cherries. I strongly prefer that my desserts come in chocolate, even though some cheeses supposedly make such perfect desserts. But since I do love cheese (and hate pineapples), I went for the cheese.
The first couple bites were creamy, salty and wonderful. But the last 20? Were a bit too much. Too salty. Too rich. Sad. But true.
All in all, I give Iridescence a B and Wolfgang’s an A+. I can only think that Iridescence really isn’t a restaurant fit for mass production. Not that Wolfgang’s is, but Iridescence really is about the little details and the personal attention, and that’s just not something that can be done well within the confines of $27 and a packed reservation book.
Word on the street is that Restaurant Week will be making a return appearance in the spring. Which I’m quite excited about. It’s about time we caught up to Chicago and Boston and D.C. and all the other fabulous cities that let the masses be foodies for a few days.
For me, it was an excellent opportunity to deepen friendships, go all out mid-week, and stimulate the local economy.