The Chambertin

I have mentioned this restaurant in passing several times in the past, and how can you not love a restaurant with the name of The Chambertin.  To name a restaurant after a stellar district, you better be serving stellar food, and they did that in Aces.  When I was a kid, the restaurant was located in East Dearborn, and then when they had a chance they moved into a brand new Holiday Inn that was being constructed in West Dearborn.  This particular Holiday Inn was built with a separate tower for long term residence, because of the automotive industry, and The Chambertin was there for them.  I may got out on a limb, but I will state that this was the only Holiday Inn that I knew of, that had a four star restaurant.  There was a coffee shop and diner, they had a tavern and they had a white tablecloth restaurant as well as catering facilities, but they only had the one kitchen, so all of the food was great.

Ch La Conseillante 1970

I had a long history with the family as customers of mine years ago, and I also enjoyed going to the restaurant, though I usually dined in the tavern, and alas I cannot believe that I did not save a single matchbook from The Chambertin.  The matchbooks were very elegant and they had your name printed on the outside of the book, and used them as your place setting when you reserved a table.  They were famous for the creamy garlic salad dressing that they made in house, and when the son opened up his own restaurant, he maintained the dressing at his new location.  Some of the dishes that were always popular were; Prime Rib, Canadian Pickerel with a Cardinal Sauce, Rack of Lamb ala Grecque, and Shrimp Helene.  By and far the Shrimp Helene was my favorite dish, as it was spiced jumbo shrimp wrapped in Phyllo dough and served with Béarnaise Sauce, in fact this was another dish that his son carried over to his restaurant, as there were so many people that enjoyed this dish.  The restaurant also had one of the best wine lists, back in the day, when most restaurants only had perhaps a choice of five wines, they had a real book to present, including several different Burgundy wines, and there was always, as I recall a bottle or two of a Chambertin wine.

MI Chambertin Restaurant Menu

One night I remember I was home, and I received a phone call from the proprietor of the restaurant and he had forgotten to stop by the store to pick up his clothing order, and the store was closed, and he was leaving on a trip the next day.  I remember calling my boss, to tell him what had happened, and to let him know that I was going back to the store to pick up the altered clothes and deliver them to the restaurant.  This is what is now called “customer service,” but it was just part of the job as I saw it.  He and his wife were so pleased with what I had done, and they knew that was I was a fledgling wine devotee, that rather than offer me a gratuity or a gift certificate, they gave me a bottle of wine.  I kept that wine for several years before opening it, as I cherished the choice of the selection.  Some people would have just grabbed a bottle of one of the house wines, but they gave me a bottle of Chateau La Conseillante Pomerol 1970.  Even though Pomerol at the time had not been classified as the Medoc had been, this wine was considered one of the finer wines from the district, and I felt honored, I think that is why I held the wine for so long before opening it and it when I did, it was a most enjoyable evening.  The restaurant is no longer around, neither is the hotel for that matter, but when you talk to people in the know in Dearborn, they still speak of it, in a reverent manner.

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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9 Responses to The Chambertin

  1. Larry Vargo says:

    Never was fortunate enough to dine there, as I recall being too young, couldn’t drive, and broke besides. But I always remember the Holiday Inn as a landmark across from the Kroger’s and the rest of the Westborn shopping centre. I’d ride along when my parents did the weekly shopping (we lived in east Dearborn at the time).
    Later, in high school, I was a dishwasher at a restaurant located at Michigan Ave & Maple. What has this to do with that? Not much, to be honest, except it’s owner, a Louis Marko, has a brother, Spiro, who was a chef at the Chambertin. I guess the restaurant business ran in the family. Every so often Spiro and his wife Marty would visit. They were a really nice older couple. Unfortunately for me, by the time I’d finished my military obligation, found work, and gotten my act together the Chambertin and therefore the opportunity to dine there no longer existed. Oh well

    • Larry, I am sorry that you never had a chance to dine at the Chambertin. I recall that there were a couple of restaurants around Michigan Avenue and Maple near the old City Hall. There were plenty of restaurants and a good mix of different styles back then. I am glad that I made you remember that era. – John

  2. Frank says:

    I enjoyed reminiscing about this restaurant. I was in high school and my mom took us there surprisingly often. Thank you for writing this.

  3. Frank, I am glad that I brought you a good memory, It was an exceptional restaurant and I still run into people with fond memories of it. – John

  4. Sharon K Bair says:

    I, too, remember dining at The Chambertin as a child. I also remember clipping little, battery powered lanterns to the side of our drinks to request refillls.

    Do you remember that being part of The Chambertin’s service or am i mixing up my 40+ year old memories?

  5. Sharon,
    Thank you for visiting. I am sorry that I do not remember such an apparatus, but it does sound like something that they may have done, to make it more memorable for children.
    – John

  6. Sharon K. Bair says:

    Thanks for following up, John.

    Just to clarify for other visitors / readers…the lights, about the size of a Pez dispenser, had a classic 4 panel light on top. They didn’t look like camp style lanterns at all.

    Thanks again for your input / allowing me to trip down Memory Lane.

  7. John Decker says:

    My parents had their wedding reception at The Chambertin after they moved to the Holiday Inn. I still have one of the custom-printed matchbooks that was printed.

    • John,
      Thank you for stopping by and enjoying my little article and I hope my memory made you smile. Alas, you are one up on me, as for the life of me, I can’t believe that I did not save one book of the matches for all the times that I was there.
      – John

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