In the Hotel Pontchartrain, Detroit MI
At the top of a newly renovated hotel, the Top of the Pontch is a restaurant and bar with a great view of Downtown Detroit and Windsor Ontario Canada across the river. I had no idea what to expect, and not entirely sure how to describe the restaurant.
The first thing that I noticed is that the it is very spacious, with wide aisles and tables placed with a copious amount elbow room between. There is a raised level with the bar and some small tables which look out over the backs of rounded booths for a view of the Detroit River and southwest Detroit. The booths provide a very private exclusive dining experience- right in the middle of the restaurant. The windows of the restaurant are a series of large prow like alcoves with floor to ceiling glass at a 45 degree angle from the main dining room.
This is where the confusion begins for me. The corner windows could be the signature for the restaurant, where every table is in a room with a view. In business, the corner office is the coveted space with the best view – saved for the CEO. Here every table around the perimeter of the restaurant could be a coveted table, featuring the two walls of glass – something no other restaurant in Detroit has. I wanted to stand at the very corner of the prow and experience the view high above the city. Unfortunately the table layout inexplicably ignores this feature. The 4-top tables are placed as if the glass prows and view do not exist. Instead of orienting the tables at the 45 degree angle within the alcove – so that everyone has a view out the window and embraces the unique feature of the space- the tables are lined up as if the wall was flat and half of the diners have their backs to the view.
Now on to the decor. The calm off-white and caramel tone interior in punctuated by tall internally illuminated urns. A streamlined glossy caramel ceiling feature is illuminated by a line of cove lights highlighting sparsely placed art glass elements – too sparsely placed. Compared to art glass installations I have seen by glass artist Dale Chihuli, this seems scattered and unfinished. Perhaps they are waiting for a second shipment? If not, I think placing the art glass in groupings would have been a more impressive installation.
Another feature that just seemed out of place was the column treatment. In what is a fairly sophisticated room, where did the bubbling column covers with blue LED lights come from? These bubbling disco-era mainstays, and the streamlined cove ceiling feature made me feel like I was on an 80’s cruise ship.
The Food? Well we went here for an after dinner drink, so we did not sample any of the menu items. We did review the menu and it looks interesting. I think I will be back to try a few selections, but will sit with my back to the bubble columns, blue light is harsh on skintones. Oh, by the way the craft cocktails were perfectly prepared and were delicious.
Since posting my review of the Pontchartrain I came across another review of the hotel , also commenting on the “Cruise ship- style decor”…so guess I was not the only one that observed that reference.