Iridescence at Motor City Casino – Detroit, Michigan
Words by Susan Jackson with Dale Carlson / Photos by Dale Carlson
In late April, at the height of Detroit Restaurant Week, I Love Detroit Michigan had the great pleasure of experiencing dinner with friends at ‘Iridescence’, the ultra-fine dining establishment atop the Motor City Casino. We had no clue, until googling their name beforehand, that it had been named Southeast Michigan’s 2011 “Restaurant of the Year” by “HOUR Detroit” magazine, an impressive endorsement that most definitely heightened our anticipation. Turns out reservations are a hot commodity during Restaurant Week, and we ended up dining alongside the early bird circuit at 5pm….but we do what we must for potentially fantastic food, right? Yes we do.
We arrived fashionably early and soon learned that you literally can not go up to the restaurant one single moment before 5pm on the dot, a point that our early dining readers might want to remember. Once we arrived at the top we were immediately wowed by the modern interior design. A small bar near the maître d’ station and its adjacent walls give one a striking illusion of upward movement…. definitely not something to stare at while drinking. Grandiose twenty foot windows in the main dining room face the southeast, affording guests a spectacular if not expected panorama of downtown and its environs. A “wine room” with an intimate private dining area adds to the very swanky and stylish atmosphere. An extensive and expensive wine collection is stored within a conspicuous, futuristic looking, glass encased automated retrieval station: you just plug in what you’re looking for and the machinery brings it to you. Very cool. When we win the lottery we want one in our basement!
We were seated in a booth with a fantastic view that had us predictably envisioning a return visit for the Annual Target Fireworks. Water service was immediate. Food and drink menus were delivered very shortly afterward. It might be early in our review, but we’ll say it now: service was impeccable…. attentive without being at all obnoxious.
For openers, we ordered a lovely 2005 Pinot Noir by Maison Nicolas Potel, from the Burgundy region of France. We were then faced with the difficult choice of ordering our meals from the special Detroit Restaurant Week menu, which consists of three courses for $28, or from their standard, everyday bill of fare. After many careful minutes of review, two of the three in our party opted for Restaurant Week specials.
First, our appetizers. We started off with the Grilled Asparagus with Beets, Morel Mushrooms and Boursin Cheese. It just sounded so delicious we had to try it. Though the morels added little to this unique flavor profile, the combination of the beets and boursin worked beautifully with the crunch of the asparagus. The Blackened Shrimp were also delicious. A native Louisianan in our party who purports to know ‘a thing or TEN’ about blackened foods agreed it was ‘more than acceptable’. The Sautéed Jumbo Lump Crab Cake was MAMMOTH and not bad at all (see featured photo at top of page). We weren’t overwhelmed, as we usually prefer Dungeness Crab to Blue, but it still passed our muster test with ease. The Braised Short Rib? To quote some of our Southern brethren: it was so good it made us wanna slap yo’ mama! Just melt in your mouth deliciousness. Without a doubt our favorite taste of the night.
Next, the main dishes. The Sautéed Lake Superior Whitefish with spinach, saffron potatoes and a brown broth rated ‘above passable but not awesome’ (see featured photo at bottom of post). It was very well paired with a glass of one of our favorite wines: a 2009 White Blend from California by ‘Conundrum‘. The 9-Ounce Filet of Beef was so outrageously tender our table mate swore he could feel the fingers of a Japanese Kobe Beef masseuse upon his tongue. The Roasted Breast of Chicken and the risotto it was served upon were both perfectly prepared and delectable; better than the Whitefish, but not quite as good as the Braised Short Rib.
Finally, dessert. French Chocolate with a White Chocolate Mousse accompaniment. While we found some of the dish’s frills, specifically the gingersnap cookie and nut crumbs, to be unnecessary and overwrought, the French Chocolate and the Mousse were absolutely divine, most certainly sweet and scrumptious enough on their own. The ultra-rich Peanut Butter Bar also met with our supra-confectialicious approval. We paired them both with a nice glass of Taylor Fladgate Fine Ruby Port and were all set, beyond satisfied.
Overall, we considered Iridescence to be a nearly flawless dining experience, Restaurant Week or not. We would absolutely return and pay regular price to enjoy more of their stellar menu. We give them our highest and unconditional recommendation, especially for extra special occasions and those wonderful times when work wants to pay to impress clients. ~I♥DM