I was born in Southwest Detroit and I grew up in Detroit, and even went and finished college there as well. I have watched through the years the changes that occurred in my city and I am so proud to watch the changes that are happening. For years Detroit was dynamic and proud, the Arsenal of America, the Motor City and then it hit a wall, that has made it the butt of jokes for years, and I am observing the slow return of the city it once was. When I was young the city was bustling with well dress men and women that went out for dinner, drinks and dancing, and then the horizon changed. And then it changed again, this time for the better, alright the well dressed part has not arrived, but Detroit is thriving with activity and it is becoming known for food and restaurants and that makes me smile. With quality restaurants on the upswing, which also tells me that better wines will be pouring to accommodate the cuisine.
Detroit has still managed to maintain two newspapers, which is unique anymore for most cities, and even though I do not care for the political bias of the morning paper, I still read it, with my morning coffee, as I believe news should be reported and not be editorialized, but I am old fashioned. I am only mentioning the newspaper, because they recently announced the top restaurant for the year and of course that caught my attention. One of my constant laments is that restaurants no longer use matchbooks, and that was one of my main sources of remembering a night out and the wine for the evening. I am elated that my memory has been jogged, so I shall look at the winners, since this concept has started:
2000 was the first year, and the first restaurant to be awarded was Tribute and a grand restaurant it was. I wrote about a dinner and the wine that we enjoyed there, of course there were still matchbooks, back then.
2001 was The Hill and of course the matchbox allowed me to recall some visits there.
2002 was Cuisine, and we have been there, but I realized that I did not write about it, because I have no matchbook from there.
2003 was The Grill at the Ritz Carlton, and we have eaten there, but alas, I did not write about the dinner, as the romantic (that I try to be) I wrote of the first night that my Bride and I met, and how we ended up having coffee in the lobby, and I am glad to say that anniversary will be remembered again on April Sixteen.
2004 was Jeremy Restaurant & Bar, and yes we went there, but I have so far neglected to regale you with my memories.
2005 was the Five Lakes Grill, which was always one of our favorite restaurants and I actually wrote about the night of the Morel Dinner and I was with The Caller and his wife, and my Bride was out of town.
2006 was Seldom Blues and this was a restaurant that we had never gone to, and I guess we never will, as it closed in 2010.
2007 was the Beverly Hills Grill and still one of our favorites for breakfast, lunch or dinner; and they have recently remodeled the entire restaurant, while still maintaining some of the classic dishes that the regulars almost demand.
2008 was Saltwater at the MGM Casino in Detroit, and while I go to Las Vegas often, it is to see our children and grandchildren, and not to gamble. I mention this, because this is another restaurant that we never went to and I guess we never will, as it closed in 2012.
2009 was Michael Symon’s Roast and the Westin Hotel, which was the old Sheraton Cadillac that has been brought back to life. While I have discussed an evening there at the hotel, as of yet, I have not mentioned our dinner at Roast.
2010 was the Forest Grill, which was not near a forest, but located on Forest Street and is since 2015 when it changed ownership is now known as Forest. This was the restaurant that the owner/chef from Five Lakes Grill opened to be closer to his clientele, because Five Lakes Grill was quite the drive for most people. I had never dined there, but my Bride has, she tends to get around even more than me.
2011 was Union Woodshop, another restaurant that we have not made a trip to get to.
2012 was The Root, another great restaurant, which seemed out in the hinterlands, because you could not get there from here. Another delightful meal that I have so far neglected to write about, but that will be corrected.
2013 was Bacco Ristorante and one of the finest Italian meals one could ever have. We have ate there often and I wish that we would eat there more often, but it is more of an event restaurant, and oh so wonderful. It also has one of the finest wine cartes of Italian wines that one will ever encounter and we have had some great memories of our times there.
2014 was Torino, a very small and unique restaurant that we missed going to and it closed in 2015, so we never got there.
2015 was Selden Standard and I wrote a couple of articles about the wine tasting dinner that we had there, through the auspices of Elie Wine Company and the delightful wines and stories that were furnished by Jean-Francis Bourdy and his family’s wines of the Jura.
2016 is Chartreuse, named for the famed drink and located in the Park Shelton Hotel, next to the Detroit Institute of Arts on the campus area of Wayne State University. We go to the DIA often and this will give us a fine reason to stop there and write about our experience.
So while I have enumerated all of the winners in the Detroit area according to our morning paper, I am really excited, because it reminded me of the dinners and the wines that I have not wrote about, because sometimes when I don’t have a matchbook or some other object from the venue, I tend to not write about the moment. Of course, this also gives me a reason to go into my boxes of wine labels and not the photographs of the bottles. What joys and pleasure wine brings to me.