Experiencing Great Restaurants and Delicious Libations

Archive for April, 2012

Cafe Zinc – Midland MI

In the H Hotel, 111 W. Main Street, Midland MI

Visited April 21, 2012

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While looking for a place for a pleasant lunch in Midland, before a special tour of the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, I came across what looked like a good option. Cafe Zinc on Main Street turned out to be a fantastic option. It is a perfect blend of crisp contemporary design, clever surprise touches, and an underlying french cafe feel. With white marble wall panels, a decorative tin ceiling, white leather upholstered chairs with a drawer pull handle on the back to assist in pulling the chairs out, and a wood grate wall perfectly displaying apples all show the attention to detail in the design.

And the food…well it was delicious. A warm, crisp mini baguette to begin, then I had a mushroom and spinach quiche served with a nice green salad. The menu includes a wide variety of items for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Everything looked delicious. The server suggested a “build your own” bloody mary. I declined, as I was driving, but I did wander over to the adjacent Oxygen O2 bar to check out the room. It proved to be another great space, with a very well stocked bar. Check out my separate post on the Oxygen O2 Bar for some photos. I am already planning on a trip back to Midland to spend the night so I can enjoy both of these establishments.

Oxygen O2 – Midland MI

In The H Hotel, 111 W. Main Street, Midland MI

Visited April 21, 2012

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This bar and lounge in The H Hotel is adjacent to the Cafe Zinc. The names of the spaces reference the elements on the Periodic Table, a clever nod to the scientists in Midland’s main employer Dow Chemical. Oxygen O2 is a well designed space with a perfect mix of cool contemporary elements and a warm lounge feel. I just wish I was there in the evening….with a dry gin martini, shaken not stirred.

London Chop House – Detroit MI

155 W. Congress, Detroit MI

Visited April 20, 2012

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The Legend is back. The London Chop House in Detroit reopens, providing a classic and classy dining experience for a whole new generation. The long bar is the perfect place for a perfect Manhattan or a dry gin martini – which we had. The dining room is old school classy, with the burgundy leather banquette curving around the perimeter of the dining room, and tables covered with black linen tablecloths and napkins, each with a single white lamp. The dark wood-paneled walls have oil paintings  and dark mirrors. There are small crystal chandeliers above the bar. The staff was plentiful, with hands appearing out of nowhere to remove an empty drink glass, or refill a water-glass with a hand towel to shield against any splashing. This is dining as you read about it in The Great Gatsby, or see on the silver screen.

And yes, the food was good, really good. It was a special dinner with special friends celebrating a birthday. With the four of us ordering, we were able to experience a variety of classic dishes retained from the original menu, as well as new dishes introduced for this new incarnation. The Caesar Salad is two heads of romaine trimmed, dressed with garlic and anchovy dressing, and roasted onions. The Caprese alternates generous slices of mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes with a balsamic drizzle. The Dover Sole Meuniere is a Signature Entree from the original  menu and is served with a brown butter sauce and haricots verts. My first impression was that the portion was small, especially given the price, but it turned out to be just enough, and it was delicious. The guest of honor had the Marinated and Grilled Lamb Chops, served with fava beans – yes Clarice, fava beans. Another entrée on the table was another hold over from the original menu, the Sauteed “Mess” of Lake Perch, served with caper berries. And of course for a birthday celebration we had dessert; cheesecake and icecream served with a candle.

This is where Barbara Streisand used to eat dinner after performing across the street at the Caucus Club, her first professional singing gig. John Barrymore, Errol Flynn, Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper, Bob Hope, Alfred Hitchcock, Danny Kaye, and even Duncan Hines were frequent dinners. While here I looked around, just wondering who was sitting in the booth next to us…

The London Chop House website


The Palm Court – Cincinnati OH

Located in the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel

35 W. Fifth Street, Cincinnati, OH

Visited March 18, 2012

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One of the greatest rooms for dinner and a drink in a hotel – anywhere.

This grand French Art Deco masterpiece is a showstopper. Just walking in makes you feel like a movie star. The rare brazilian rosewood paneling and italian marble exudes elegance, and the ceiling murals in the Louis XV style feature various views of “recreation”. At the north end of the room is a slightly raised stage with an incredible Art Deco marble wall fountain. Atop the fountain is a ram’s head, with just a slight stream of water dropping through several basins to the pool at the floor.

It has been years since I have eaten here, but whenever I am in Cincinnati, I always stop in just to walk through….. and feel like a movie star.

Mad Platter – Nashville TN

1239 Sixth Avenue N, Nashville TN

Visited March 16, 2012

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I did not have my camera the evening we had dinner there, but came back the next day to walk around the neighborhood. This restaurant is in historic Germantown  just north of the State Capitol. The restaurant is in a 1890’s brick storefront overlooking “shotgun” worker’s houses and the Little’s Fish Co.

The food was good, and you can turn your entre into a five course meal by adding $20 to your entre price. This includes soup, appetizer, salad, entre and dessert.

Restaurant Website

My photos of the Historic Germantown Neighborhood