Before Restaurant Week, I’d only had a taste of Roast. Celebrating a friend’s birthday at happy hour, I’d tried their amazing rosemary French fries, and even mustered up the moxie to taste their bone marrow. It was amazing! Imagine a very savory flavor of a gelatin-like spread that you smear on crackers. It sounds strange, but I think it’s something everyone should try once. After that adventure, the curiosity got me hooked. So with Restaurant Week coming up, I set my reservations for Roast.
Pork belly was the appetizer I chose from the official Restaurant Week menu, and I’m thinking I’ll have to make it back just for this. Luckily it’s on their menu even after the week’s celebrations are over. The cut is unbelievably tender. I’d almost say that it melts in your mouth. The presentation is a definite feast for the eyes as well. Apple, fennel and watercress nestle the pork and bring out the flavor beautifully.
I chose the Ricotta Gnocchi for my main course. I’m always eager to try an Italian dish, but this one stole the show. Mushrooms and cippolini onions mingled in with the gnocchi pasta in what appears to be a very traditional meal… but Roast adds a definite spin on the entrée. With the pesto sauce, there is a very lemony, zesty flavor that makes what is usually a heavy, wintery meal surprisingly light and almost summery. It was wonderful timing for Restaurant Week, falling just between summer’s last stretch and the autumn cool coming in.
We finished with sweet potato pie as dessert. Candied pecans topped it off, mixing well with the nutmeg flavor and making it one of the best sweets I can think of for fall.
I was also happy to find out that although Roast is a carnivore’s dream, they go to lengths to make their vegetarian and even vegan patrons welcome too. A vegan friend of mine who usually eats before going out or sticks to bread and salad was happy to find three whole courses edible. He started with the mixed green salad with red vinaigrette and moved over to a vegan version of the gnocchi, sans the ricotta and parmesean. The flavor, he says, didn’t suffer a bit. To top it off, the dessert was a lovely pear sorbet.
Iron chef Michael Symon presides over the restaurant. Gourmet magazine named it one of America’s best restaurants. The Detroit Free Press named it “Restaurant of the Year.” As such, you will absolutely find the luxurious dining experience you would expect. But if you’re in the frame of mind for a more casual meal, try their happy hour 4-6, Monday through Friday. The “bites” menu are $3 each: the Roast burger, tacos, mac & cheese and more. For more on their menu, and to book a reservation online, visit http://www.roastdetroit.com/