Detroit Restaurant Week (DRW) brings the finest of Detroit dining to us who carry a budget-conscious wallet.
Now I’m no chef nor food critic, but I do have taste buds, a love for excellent food, and an over-exuberant excitement to share my dining experiences with anyone. So don’t expect a technical French-accented, cultivated-palate description straight from culinary school.
Brizola is located in the thriving Greektown Casino. I chose Brizola because it was the first time I’d seen this name on the DRW restaurant list. I knew I’d be getting a great value for the DRW prices as the least expensive entrée is just shy of the $30 DRW pricetag. Ironically, as we drove into downtown Detroit, a “Brizola: Voted Best Casino Restaurant in Detroit” billboard boasted that we had clearly made a smart decision (although I’m wondering where this ‘vote’ happened – I couldn’t find anything online… and ya know… if it ain’t on the internet…).
We parked in the free Greektown structure conveniently off the freeway and made our way across the skywalk toward the Casino. Now the challenge… where was the restaurant? The signage was slightly obscure but my internal food-GPS (aka hungry stomach) somehow led the way. Yes, we had to meander through the loud buzzing of the casino and smoky atmosphere – not necessarily the most romantic start to fine dining while ole Bertha sat at the slot machine with her fanny pack and 90’s jeans.
Brizola was very elegant and modern, decorated in neutral tones with a bold purple and silver bar area as the focal point. Floor to ceiling windows brought in the natural lighting before the sun had set. All the shapes in the restaurant were very modern, sleek and sometimes off-kilter. The dishes were warped (in a good way!), the wine glasses forthright in their height, and even the wine chiller slanted at a dangerous angle.
Call me prehistoric, but I have never seen an iPad menu before. I could’ve spent a solid hour oohing and aahing over the technology, which offered pop-up photos and wine pairing suggestions. As a visual person, this photo-friendly menu aided in the decision-making process. But at the same time, it took away the element of surprise when it came to the meal’s presentation. Sometimes the most exciting part about fine dining is when the waiter brings out that white plate, that first artistic reveal of the meal’s presentation. Love at first sight, ya know? That element of anticipation was gone. Technology! I love you and I hate you.
First Course: House-made Italian Sausage (Served with hand-stuffed peppers and spiced tomato)
I loved this. The combined flavors of the cooked peppers, sausage, and tomato sauce was divine. Not gonna lie… the “spiced” tomato definitely gave me a sniffly nose & leaky eyes… some bites were SPICY! But the added element of heat in this dish is what really elevated it above my expectations.
Second Course: Michigan Rainbow Trout (Prepared with watercress, apple cider and pecan)
The trout was flaky and a little salty, but coupled with the acidic & tangy apple slices & cider and the sweet crunch of the pecans & watercress, I could taste the different ‘colors’ of this dish (Get it? Colors? Rainbow trout? No? Okay, I tried).
Third Course: Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Sandwich
I’m going to rave about this. I’m going to rave about this for a long time. Banana ice cream rolled in nuts, placed between two soft, homemade chocolate chip cookies adjacent to a pillow of whipped cream topped with juicy bourbon cherries. If you think that’s a mouthful, imagine eating it. The cookies were rich, the banana ice cream was cool & refreshing, the cherries added a warm kick. So dynamic. So delicious. More please?
Our waitress was very attentive and kind. We could tell that she actually liked Brizola. She told us that every Thursday is half-off wine bottles and the chef does a weekly cooking demonstration for restaurant guests. Oh, and if you think their DRW menu looked good, you’re in luck – Brizola is continuing the Restaurant Week special through the month of October. :)