Admittedly, we’re fans of metro Detroit’s burgeoning food scene. We love the anticipation of visiting a hot new place to see what the “food-forward” chef everyone’s been talking about has prepared.
Then again, there are times you simply want a quiet evening somewhere you just know you’ll have an outstanding meal. That’s when a visit (or revisit) to a place like Cuisine is definitely in order.
Since 2001, Paul Grosz has helmed the kitchen at this restaurant in the 1920s-era home just behind the Fisher Theatre. Naturally, it’s quite busy on show nights. But that’s not the only time or reason to visit.
Cuisine offers a romantic, white-linen experience with the level of food, service, and ambience one might call more “timeless” than “trendy.” The fare is predictably excellent, but that doesn’t mean Grosz’s food is predictable. His ever-changing offerings are as contemporary as they are expertly prepared.
The a la carte menu is arranged into fish, meats, and vegetables — each with several choices.
Under fish, for example, you can find soup — perhaps a crab corn chowder or the silky-smooth lobster bisque with crab. Main dishes could include California sturgeon, diver scallops, or a sablefish prepared with miso, bok choy, and fried sticky rice.
Vegetable items are seasonal. One chilly night, our warm root vegetable salad with goat cheese and braised red cabbage arrived with small black lentils that perfectly retained the right amount of firmness.
The meats follow the same theme. Main courses might include beef tenderloin with Parmesan risotto or variations on duck: roasted with quinoa and wine-braised berries or a “duck ham” with onion risotto.
Having trouble making decisions? There’s always the “progression menu” with a sampling of the evening’s offerings. A vegetable option can also be “performed as vegan” upon request.
Desserts are equally enticing. Our chocolate lava cake and a berry tart were wonderful. But we gazed on with a bit of envy as a nearby diner had something hot and wonderful poured into the center of an exquisite-looking soufflé. Maybe next time.
And yes, there will be a next time, because at Cuisine, you’re in the hands of a veteran chef. Grosz has been at this for a while. Since age 6, actually, when the Warren native discovered a passion for baking. He left for a time to work in Chicago and France, returned home to Michigan to work at the Hyatt-Regency in Dearborn, and then spent a decade at The Whitney before opening Cuisine.
And there he’s stayed, although he has branched out a bit, opening The Stand in Birmingham in 2013.
Cuisine isn’t the new kid on the block. It doesn’t need to be. And although there’s white linen, the character of the place — with an ensemble-style wait staff that’s a mix of solid veterans and eager newcomers — isn’t stuffy at all.
It’s just a totally comfortable, consistent classic.