Randy Weed and Brian Henson

Lake perch from Steve & Rocky’s // Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Randy Weed, a busy chef who directs the kitchen at The Rugby Grille in Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel, prefers comfort food when he goes out with his fiancée, and he says they’re not afraid to travel around town to get what they want. For instance, they go to Livonia for roasted chicken and mac & cheese at Rocky’s Rotisserie. “It’s tough to outdo Slows Bar BQ roasted pork butt, apple barbecue sauce, and jambalaya soup,” he says. They like Miller’s Bar in Dearborn for burgers. And for Thai fare, it’s Bangkok Café in Ferndale. “Order the Siam wings and No. 14 Gang Kiew Warn. It’s awesome, curry-basil eggplant,” he says. For a special evening out, they head to Roast in downtown Detroit for the charcuterie platter — “the jowl bacon is amazing” — and other faves, such as the veal sweetbread appetizer, bacon-and-frisée salad, and fried Brussels sprouts.

With a demanding job at Birmingham’s Big Rock Chop and Brew House (and three young children at home), executive chef Brian Henson says he doesn’t have much of a chance to dine out. So when he does, he has definite parameters. He chooses Steve & Rocky’s in Novi, where “I’m confident our time is going to be well-spent. I’m not going to waste my time at a hole in the wall.” He orders perch “75 percent of the time.” The preparation is “very simple: It’s dredged in seasoned flour and served with brown butter, hazelnuts, and wilted spinach.”