Continuing my foray into the eateries for those with deep pockets – Chris and I had a lovely dinner at Michael Symon’s Roast to commemorate my getting the internship with Quicken Loans. It is located in the Westin Book Cadillac, which had gotten an extensive restoration and was celebrating a grand reopening at the same time Roast opened. Walking into the lobby’s opulence should give you a taste of what your bill will look like before you leave.
Roast opened in October of 2008, and it is a carnivore’s stomping ground. You might be able to find salads and fish on the menu, but don’t expect anything so vegetarian as tofu for an entree.
We started with some drinks. Chris really enjoyed his wine, an Italian merlot. I loved that the drink list was on an iPad and you could add your drink to an order list so there was no second guessing what everyone at the table wanted.
I had some cocktail whose contents I don’t recall beyond the fact it had hibiscus flower. I’m not a big drinker, and honestly I should just stop ordering anything fancy because I rarely like them. This was the same, a bit too harsh for my palate but don’t let that discourage you from trying one yourself. Pretty much if you can taste the alcohol I’m not going to like it. I prefer things like chocolate choo choo’s.
The menus are large with wood and hammered copper on the front and remind me of the big hunting lodges that have dead things all over the walls. I think Symon would approve of this association.
We received some bread to nosh on while we waited.
For the starters we got Smoked Pork Belly, which does not photo well, but is pictured in the lower portion of the image below. It came with cheesy grits and micro-greens and was tasty but not enough to have me order it again. I picked the Roasted Marrow which Chris wasn’t too sure about but I know it’s one of Symon’s signature items and definitely a luxury food not found in most places.
It came with thin cut toast rounds to spread it on, and I really found it delicious. Chris was nonplussed but mostly because it was not divided evenly when it was cut and his marrow wasn’t as rich and thick on his half of the bone. After insisting he try a bite from mine he was a bit more impressed, but I think I’d still order it sooner than he would again. It is everything that is good about the kind of fat on a piece of meat that has been cooked until it is to the point of being like spreadable butter. Oh yes, I would eat this again.
Meat is the star of the show here, and all the entrees appear to come with no sides beyond some garnishment sized accompaniments. Chris ordered a Filet Mignon prepared simply with sea salt and olive oil. I opted for the “Beast of the Day” which was a shredded pork suckling pig with cracklings.
Chris proclaimed the steak DIVINE and only second to the Yachtsman Steakhouse where he had a Prime aged steak (which is the king of beef if you can get it). It was cooked as perfectly as he’d ever seen, was tender and juicy in all the right ways, and if he won the lottery I think we’d be here five nights a week.
My pig was not such a glorious affair. It was tasty enough, but I expected so much more pizazz out of what I was presented (on a pig shaped plate no less). The flavor was minimal, and the only thing I truly enjoyed were the cracklings which are the wonderfully crunchy kettle-chip-like bits of skin that come from an all-day-long roasting of an entire pig. The broth should have been rich with the fat and juices and the pig should have had deep flavors from the long cooking process but I found it bland and actually somehow devoid of even the basic pork flavor.
We did order sides a-la-carte and were very glad we did. The potatoes were light and seasoned just right. A touch of butter and salt just like I’d make at home and then whipped to a fantastic lightness, and I’m a gal that normally leaves chunks in my mashed potatoes on purpose.
The fried brussels sprouts and walnuts were, for someone who already loves brussels sprouts as I do, good enough to order by themselves. Another signature recipe, and one Chef Symon has featured elsewhere in his time with the Food Network, he is not lying when he touts these things as absolutely amazing.
Dessert was your basic Vanilla Creme Brulee. I’ve actually had better elsewhere. The caramelized sugar on top was barely there, and the custard was only so-so. I might try another dessert here in the future, but honestly you’re here for the meat anyway.
So ends our night of beastly consumption. I would absolutely return, but only on special occasions as it was definitely an expensive “splurge for a good reason” bill total. If you plan on dining here during any standard dinner hours on Friday or Saturday then be sure to make reservations in advance, as there can often be no such thing as a “wait time” – rather they are just full for the entire night. This is especially true if there is anything of interest going on in the city. That said, our reservations were for 8:30 and we got there around 7 and were seated fairly quickly once they confirmed an opening. As long as your name is down, they will do their best to nudge your time based on availability.