Big Rock Chop & Brew House 245 S. Eton, Birmingham, 248-647-7774, $$$, Big Rock Chop House oozes northern lodge appeal and there are a variety of rooms in which to dine, including an outdoor patio. Located in Birmingham’s historic train station, it looks like the kind of place where Hemingway would spend a lot of time and a good portion of his book advances. Expect hand-cut, aged beef, cooked to order, with bone-in filet mignon ($29.95 and up), rib-eye ($29.95) and New York strips ($32.95) as well as an wine cellar that has received Wine Spectator’saward of excellence for nine years running.
Carl’s Chop House 3020 Grand River Ave., Detroit, 313-833-0700, $$$: Now that the Lodge is open again, it may be time to consider visiting a restaurant that’s been around a long time. How long? Since sirloin steak dinners were $1. And beef is still king at this huge downtown restaurant, which is truly a Detroit institution. In addition to slabs of beef, there are fish and seafood selections, and the classic roadhouse relish tray still comes to the table. Offers shuttle service from major sports and entertainment venues.
Clawson Steak House 56 S. Rochester Rd., Clawson, 248-588-5788, $$$: The roadhouse-nightclub on Rochester Road, just south of 14 Mile Road, opened in 1958. It has remained in that decade for several generations of locals who flock there to dine on beef washed down with highballs or red wine, and to dance the night away to the rhythms of the Mark James Band Wednesday through Saturday. Aside from the mildly pricey signature steaks and chops, other dinners, which include soup and salad, average around $16. And the 150-bottle-plus wine list, four-fifths of which are devoted to red wine, offers many solid selections for less than $30. The moderate cost of a night at the Clawson Steak House is a reason for its continuing popularity.
The Hill Seafood & Chop House 123 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms, 313-886-8101, $$$, Many of the Hill’s “signature dishes” cater to a Reagan-era notion of good eating — surf and turf, lots of blue cheese and bacon in the house salad. Seafood is a strong point: The grilled swordfish is tall and terrific and the calamari appetizer is out of the ordinary. Desserts are quintessentially American: The molten lava cake has a lucious liquid chocolate center. The steaks are the usual cuts — filet mignon, New York strip, porterhouse and ribeye — and all are certified Angus beef, char-grilled and prepared to spec, and finished with a burgundy demi glace. The strip is available au poivre. Meat lovers will also find lamb chop finished with rosemary balsamic natural sauce and french pomery mustard, and barbecued pork osso bucco.
Katana Nu-Asian Steakhouse 111 S. Main St., Royal Oak, 248-591-9900, $$$, Katana offers a spectacular show seven nights a week in the fine art of teppanyaki, or grilling. This is a Japanese restaurant for those who shudder at raw fish; any steak-loving American will find plenty that pleases. Seven stations are on one side of the restaurant, each with a granite counter wrapped around three sides of a hibachi. For this experience, expect to pay as little as $16 for chicken or $40 for a seafood combo of fillets, scallops and lobster (all tableside packages include soup salad rice and vegetables). Up to 10 people can be seated at each station. On the other side are booths and tables for those who prefer the bistro and sushi menu.
Moe’s on Ten Seafood Grill 39455 West Ten Mile Road, Novi, 248-478-9742, $$, At Moe’s, your friends can have the surf, but you still get your turf. For them: lemon sole that’s lightly breaded and served with a lemony sauce flavored with dill and scattered with capers, Chilean sea bass with green tomato salsa, halibut with mango chutney and salmon with hearts of palm salsa. For meat-lovers: a New York strip sautéed with mushrooms, scallions and herb butter, and a filet mignon heaped with sautéed mushrooms and onions and a demi-glace sauce, as well as French-cut pork chops.
Morton’s of Chicago 1 Towne Square, Southfield, 248-354-6006, $$$$, No cheap steaks are served here. The Morton’s chain specializes in serving only the very best quality, aged, prime quality cuts of beef. They’re so serious that a presentation cart of raw meat and fish comes to each table so diners may preview their porterhouse, double filet mignon or live lobster before actually ordering it. The setting is elegant, clubby and a monument to red meat — and everything is big enough to split. Since the menu is a la carte and expensive, it’s far from a bad idea.
No. VI Chop House 27790 Novi Rd., Novi, 248-305-5210, $$$, As plush a steak and seafood house as can be found in the area, this one offers top-of-the-line fare in a darkly sophisticated setting. All of the meats are prime, from the filet mignon to the veal chop. Expect to plunk down good money for fine meat. Prices range from $32 for the 7 oz. filet mignon to $43 for the 24-ounce porterhouse. Steaks can be topped with bleu cheese glaçage, foie gras, carmelized onions, portobellos with shallot madeira or a morel mushroom sauce. Steaks are broiled at 1,700 degrees to sear in flavor. The one-time seafood bar is no longer there, but customers will still find seafood on the menu. The remodeled bar now has plasma TVs and is cigar friendly. Open Monday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m., Sunday 5-9 p.m.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse 755 W. Big Beaver, Troy, 248-269-8424, $$$, The clubhouse-like dining room has a golf theme, lots of wood and brass, and white linen swathed tables. Steaks, ranging from a small filet mignon to a huge porterhouse (for two), come to the tables on platters sizzling with butter, hinting at the New Orleans origins of the now-international chain of very good steakhouses. Extras are all a la carte.
Shiraz 30100 Telegraph, Bingham Farms, 248-645-5289, $$$, Diners will find steaks of one grade only — prime, the most expensive and fattiest — plus beef in other forms, like short ribs, veal chops and calf’s liver. You can even get duck, or a “surf and turf” consisting of a 7 oz. fillet and lobster tail ($39). Steaks come with a choice of sauces: port wine veal essence, béarnaise, morel, horseradish cream or Detroit zip. The hearty port sauce complements the flavorful steak perfectly.
Sindbad’s-at-the-River 100 St. Clair, Detroit, 313-822-7817, $$, Dinner at Sindbad’s is roadhouse fare, in a multilevel restaurant with a view of the Detroit River. There’s an emphasis on steaks, chops and especially seafood. Try their fresh-made beer batter. Seafood appetizers include Snug Harbor mussels or Campeche Bay shrimp, and New England clam chowder. Steaks include a 16 oz., certified Angus beef center cut New York strip ($26), a choice 8 oz. center cut filet mignon with zip sauce ($27) and the “Coxswain’s Striker,” a choice 9 oz. Delmonico steak ($17).