Thursday, January 31, 2008

MGM Restaurants steal the spotlight

Tomorrow evening cannot come soon enough - along with another couple, my husband and I are finally heading over to MGM Grand casino's SaltWater restaurant for a highly anticipated dinner.

It couldn't have come at a better time, since the Detroit Free Press announced yesterday that Salt Water is the newspaper's 2008 Restaurant of the Year. MGM's three upscale restaurants -- SaltWater, Bourbon Steak and Wolfgang Puck Grille -- really impressed Free Press staff this year, because they took the top three spots in the Freep's 2007 Top Dining Newcomers list. I can't speak about Salt Water yet because I have not eaten there, but I can speak about MGM's Wolfgang Puck Grille, which came in at #3.

Although the Free Press calls the Puck Grille "the most casual of MGM Grand Detroit's three signature restaurants", this is no hole in the wall -- far from it, in fact. Personally, I thought the fresh, contemporary decor of the main dining room was quite nice, though I do agree with the newspaper that at $100+ for dinner for two, the dining room's fishbowl-feel wouldn't be my first choice for a layout. The night I was there, diners were sporting everything from jeans to suits -- it is inside a casino, after all -- but I recommend at least business-casual attire if you're planning to hit this Detroit-newcomer for supper.

A friend and I had dinner at the Wolfgang Puck Grille on Sunday, December 30. While the holidays had just ended, neither the casino nor the restaurant were empty. Thankfully, though, the number of people in the restaurant didn't detract from the food or the service, the latter of which was superb. I have been to a lot of expensive restaurants, and I'd rate Wolfgang Puck Grille in Detroit at the top for waitstaff-attentiveness.

My meal -- I had a scrumptious chef's special of scallops in an incredible sauce -- was excellent, and my friend, who ordered the lamb chops, thoroughly enjoyed her dinner, as well. Our entrees each came with a small side (no soup or salad, and the restaurant was stingy on the bread), but there was plenty to eat and I went home with lunch for the next day.

I have not eaten at Bourbon Steak, which the Freep ranked as the #2 2007 Top Dining Newcomer, but my husband loves it and two of my friends feel the same, so it is on my "restaurants to try" list. I hope to eat there soon.

Will SaltWater meet or exceed my expectations? I absolutely love seafood, so I'm looking forward to finding out. Check Girl in the D next week for my thoughts on the Michael Mina-creation that everyone is raving about.

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