Society Confidential: Bistro 82 celebrating a birthdayFebruary 23, 2019

The Detroit News

Aaron F. Belen celebrating as Bistro 82 turns 5

Aaron F. Belen celebrating as Bistro 82 turns 5 The very chic Bistro 82 in downtown Royal Oak turns 5 years old this month, and owner Aaron F. Belen is celebrating in a very cool way. On Feb. 27, he offers a $5 menu, including appetizers, entrees and desserts. Diners will experience tasty new dishes that have recently been added such as scallop carpaccio, pasta Bolognese and seafood mélange. “Our success is a direct result of our consistency, our steps of service and our use of quality sourcing,” says Belen, who owns AFB Hospitality Group, which owns Bistro 82 and The Morrie, another cool eatery in Royal Oak. The menu also includes some of the restaurants signature dishes such as French onion soup dumplings, filet mignon and pan-roasted cobia. For information visit bistro82.com. Special jazz concert in Palmer Woods Palmer Woods Music in Homes continues its 12th year of presenting jazz, classical and world music in mansions, historic homes and gardens with a special jazz concert honoring Black History Month at 8 p.m. Feb. 23 with the Marcus Elliot Trio. This homage to African-American music features saxophonist Marcus Elliot, bassist Brian Juarez and drummer Everett Reid. A delicious soul food-inspired dinner is included. The concert is held within a magical Tudor-style home built in 1925 in the historic Palmer Woods neighborhood. Tickets are $50.The series continues each month with a different ensemble in a different historic home in Palmer Woods through the end of June. Visit palmerwoods.org for more info. Chuck Bennett is the creator of TheSocialMetro.com and hosts “Happy Hour” Monday-Friday from 5-7 p.m. on 910AM Superstation.

At Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, everything on the menu will be $5 for anniversaryFebruary 21, 2019

Detroit Free Press

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is marking its fifth anniversary with a cool deal next week.

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is marking its fifth anniversary with a cool deal next week. On Wednesday, every item on the menu — all appetizers, entrées and desserts — will be $5. The event will showcase new menu items as well as changes to the restaurant's interior. “After five years, we know Bistro 82's success lies within its consistency, steps of service and quality sourcing,” Aaron F. Belen, owner of AFB Hospitality Group, said in a statement. “We’ve refined our menu, continuing to offer guest favorites while improving the overall experience. Our team is grateful for the community’s ongoing support, and we’re looking forward to the next five, 10 and beyond.” The menu, designed by executive chef Derik Watson, will retain many Bistro 82 signature dishes like the French onion soup dumplings, filet mignon and pan-roasted cobia. Newcomers include scallop carpaccio, pasta Bolognese and seafood mélange. A news release says the interior décor emphasizes intimacy and style while reflecting modern-day Paris. Expect "street scenes and fashion portraits in gritty black and white." Bistro 82 is at 401 S. Lafayette Ave. in downtown Royal Oak. For more information or reservations, call 248-542-0082 or go to bistro82.com.

Royal Oak's Bistro 82 celebrates anniversary with five dollar specialsFebruary 25, 2019

Metro Times

Royal Oak's Bistro 82 celebrates anniversary with five dollar specials Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is celebrating their five-year anniversary by offering a five dollar menu for their appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

The winner of Hour Detroit’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year is offering this special to diners on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Royal Oak Daily Tribune reported that the anniversary celebration is happening soon after the restaurant updated its interior and its menu. The special will include new menu items such as scallop carpaccio, pasta Bolognese, and seafood mélange. It will also include classics such as filet mignon, French onion soup dumplings, and pan-roasted cobia. Bistro 82 is located at 401 S. Lafayette Ave. in Royal Oak. Visit bistro82.com or call 248-542-0082 to make a reservation. Angela Zielinski is an editorial intern at Metro Times

Bistro 82 Celebrates 5 Years with $5 MenuFebruary 27, 2019

SEEN Magazine

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is celebrating its fifth anniversary by offering a $5 menu to all patrons. For one night only, guests can enjoy their favorite French-cuisine appetizers, entrees and desserts from the Bistro 82 menu for only $5 per dish. Make your Hump Day even better by enjoying a gourmet meal for a good price.

4-10 p.m. 401 S Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is celebrating its fifth anniversary by offering a $5 menu to all patrons. For one night only, guests can enjoy their favorite French-cuisine appetizers, entrees and desserts from the Bistro 82 menu for only $5 per dish. Make your Hump Day even better by enjoying a gourmet meal for a good price.

Bistro 82 marks milestone with $5 menuFebruary 22, 2019

Crain's Detroit Business

Bistro 82 marks milestone with $5 menu Bistro 82 in Royal Oak will offer its entire menu for just $5 per item on Feb. 27 in honor of its five-year anniversary. This one-night-only promotion includes all appetizers, entrées and desserts.

Bistro 82 marks milestone with $5 menu Bistro 82 in Royal Oak will offer its entire menu for just $5 per item on Feb. 27 in honor of its five-year anniversary. This one-night-only promotion includes all appetizers, entrées and desserts. The recently-evolved menu, designed by executive chef Derik Watson, features French onion soup dumplings, filet mignon, pan-roasted cobia and beignets, as well new dishes inlcuding scallop carpaccio, pasta bolognese and seafood mélange. The interior décor has also been upgraded to amplify intimacy and style, with works by photographer Boswell Hardwick, velvet drapery and new upholstery on the banquettes. Bistro 82 is at 401 S. Lafayette in Royal Oak.

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak offers $5 menu for its fifth anniversaryFebruary 18, 2019

Royal Oak Tribune

The award-winning Bistro 82 restaurant in Royal Oak is getting ready to celebrate its fifth anniversary with a $5 menu for all it appetizers, entrees and desserts. Diners can get the one-night-only special Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The award-winning Bistro 82 restaurant in Royal Oak is getting ready to celebrate its fifth anniversary with a $5 menu for all it appetizers, entrees and desserts. Diners can get the one-night-only special Wednesday, Feb. 27. Aaron F. Belen, owner of the AFB Hospitality Group that operates Bistro 82, said in a statement the celebration is happening right after making updates to the menu and interior design. “We’ve refined our menu, continuing to offer guest favorites while improving the overall experience,” he said. “Our team is grateful for the community’s ongoing support and we’re looking forward to the five, 10 (years) and beyond.” The menu from executive chef Derik Watson still features many signature dishes, like the French onion soup dumplings, filet mignon, pan roasted cobia, and beignets, as well as a number of new dishes, such as scallop carpaccio, pasta bolognese, and seafood mélange. The interior décor upgrade includes black-and-white photos of Paris street scenes and portraits from France-based photographer, Boswell Hardwick, a new mural, velvet drapery, new banquette upholstery and fixtures over the bar. Belen, who also owns The Morrie on Main Street, grabbed plenty of attention on the night of Bistro 82’s first anniversary in 2015. Dozens of diners - along with the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland and Macomb Counties - all got a treat from Belen when he announced he was picking up the tab for all the diners. The bill came to $5,182. Belen then doubled down and donated the same amount to the Boys & Girls Club. Bistro 82 is at 401 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak a the corner of Fourth Street. For more information on the upcoming anniversary, or to make reservations, call 248-542-0082 or visit bistro82.com. – Mike McConnell

Bistro 82 rolls out new fall menuSeptember 18, 2017

Fox 2

Bistro 82 has recently rolled out their Fall menu, and it is full of fresh seasonal flavors celebrating the harvest.

Bistro 82 has recently rolled out their Fall menu, and it is full of fresh seasonal flavors celebrating the harvest. Joseph VanWagner, Bistro 82 Chef de Cuisine, joined us in the FOX 2 Cooking School to tell us more about the new items on the menu. He also showed us how to prepare their beet salad, which you can get the recipe for below. For more information on Bistro 82, visit www.bistro82.com. CLICK MEDIA LINK BELOW FOR FULL VIDEO & BEET SALAD RECIPE

Detroit’s Culinary Scene Heats UpApril 26, 2017

Metro Times

In Oakland County, Bistro 82 is what many consider the "crown jewel" of the area's dining scene for its French-inspired menu, attention to detail, and execution.

Read the full list of Best of Detroit 2017 Best Food winners here. While unscientific, Best of Detroit voting can provide a pretty good picture of the Motor City's culinary drift. It's an undeniably exciting time in the region's dining scene, especially in greater downtown, where it's a challenge to stay on top of all of the city's new menus. Despite that, one fact remains: Michiganders still love the region's classics. Of the roughly 100 food categories, only around 15 restaurants that opened in the last three years are represented (excluding the Best New Restaurant category). That's not necessarily a bad thing, and and it's likely because southeast Michigan's restaurateurs have offered up some damn good eateries for decades. Among that list are household names like Zingerman's (Best Sandwich, Best Deli in Washtenaw), Joe Muer (Best Seafood), Avalon International Breads (Best Bakery), Fleetwood (Best Diner in Washtenaw), Slow's Bar BQ (Best Barbecue), Green Lantern (Best Round Pizza and Best Macomb Pizza), Bangkok 96 (Best Thai in Wayne), Bucharest (Best Shawarma), Buddy's (Best Pizza in Oakland and Wayne), Andiamo (Best Dessert in Oakland), Red Coat Tavern (Best Burger in Oakland), Toast (Best Brunch in Oakland), and Mudgie's (Best Deli in Wayne). That's a formidable roster of old schoolers. It was also their ilk that dominated the Best Steakhouse category: Clawson Steakhouse, Knight's, London Chop House, and Mr. Paul's — all of which are deserving, though that'll be an interesting category to check next year after the Caucus Club and Prime and Proper get rolling. Of the new-ish kids on the block, it was no surprise to find Mabel Gray's James Rigato took Best Chef for his refined, well-crafted modern American fare. The Morrie, with dishes like Kung Pao Cauliflower and Brisket Mac, and Bobcat Bonnie's, purveyor of spicy fried pickles and Queso Fundido, won Best Happy Hour in Oakland and Wayne, respectively. GreenSpace Cafe, which is the newest of the region's vegetarian and vegan shops with a range of creative offerings like carnitas burrito mojado or Salsicce, a flatbread with seitan sausage, took the Best Vegetarian honors. O.W.L., which quickly built up a reputation for its wonderful marriage of American diner food and mexican fare, won in the Best Diner and Best 24 Hour/Late Night categories, and Pop's for Italian, with its Neapolitan pizzas and classic pastas like baked ziti and fettuccine alfredo, won Best Italian in Oakland. The Best New Restaurants category saw no real surprises given the amount of chatter and excitement each generated. That includes Black Rock (Macomb), Otus Supply (Oakland), Mikette Bistro & Bar (Washtenaw), and Grey Ghost (Wayne). Perhaps the most passionately debated dish in Detroit is the coney dog, and the hottest contest in that mix is between Lafayette and American in downtown Detroit. This year, it's Lafayette that wins the contest, while National Coney Island takes the honors in Oakland and Macomb, and Uptown Coney Island wins in Washtenaw. American Coney Island's crunchy taters are considered the Best Fries in town, according to our readers. Another lively conversation is that on the best Detroit-style pizza. Is it the style's creator, Buddy's, that deserves the award? Or do one if its break-offs, like Loui's, Shields, or the new up-and-comer, Detroit Pizza Company, do it better? None of the above, say our voters: They selected metro Detroit chain Papa Romano's as the best Detroit Style/Deep Dish pizza. In Washtenaw County, readers say NeoPapalis makes the best pizza pie, and Supino Pizzeria — with its New York-style thin crusts that include options like the Affumicata with smoked gouda, mozzarella, smoked prosciutto, chopped parsley, and roasted garlic — wins in the Most Creative Pizza category. Metro Detroit also holds a long list of respectable restaurants with international flavors. According to our voters, the best tacos are not found in the heavily Mexican southwest Detroit, but at the popular Imperial in Ferndale, which serves up varieties like papas con rojas, a chorizo, potato, and queso fresco taco. Readers also say Shangri-La, a hip Midtown Chinese eatery that specializes in dim sum, is the region's best option for Chinese food. Corktown anchor Slow's Bar BQ wins for best barbecue, but Smoke Ring, with its Kansas City-inspired barbecue and amazing brisket, is the best of Detroit's thriving food truck fleet, readers say. And for Italian, our readers pointed to fan favorite Giovanni's, a classic restaurant that trades in homemade pasta, fresh ingredients, lots of tangy tomato sauce, and homemade pasta. If it's fresh fish that you crave, our readers say to head to Ichiban in Sterling Heights or Canton, a sleek, hip eatery with all of the classic rolls and inventive specials like the Spicy Girl, with crunchy spicy tuna, yellowtail, and salmon covered in spicy mayonnaise and caviar. But with all those good dishes to eat, which restaurants stand out above the rest? Which are the best in their respective counties? In Wayne County, readers say it's Selden Standard. The hip Midtown spot sets the bar for seasonal small plates and works closely with local farmers to find the best ingredients for dishes like Cauliflower Fritters or Rabbit Porchetta. In Oakland County, Bistro 82 is what many consider the "crown jewel" of the area's dining scene for its French-inspired menu, attention to detail, and execution. In Macomb, readers selected Luciano's, a mainstay since it opened in the 1980s. It's your classic upscale Italian experience with white linens, soft lighting, and a menu of old-fashioned northern and southern Italian cuisine that's made with fresh, natural ingredients. And in Washtenaw County, voters say Aventura, an Iberian eatery heavy on the olive oil, seafood, chorizo, and manchego is the Ann Arbor area's best restaurant. RELATED Welcome to the Best of Detroit 2017: Readers give their stamp of approval

AFB Hospitality Group Grows Exec TeamMarch 30th, 2017

Crain's Detroit

AFB Hospitality Group — owner of Bistro 82, The Morrie and SCL in Royal Oak — has hired three new members for its executive management team.

AFB Hospitality adds to team AFB Hospitality Group — owner of Bistro 82, The Morrie and SCL in Royal Oak — has hired three new members for its executive management team. Ben Robison is the new executive pastry chef for all properties, Keith Schofield joined as Bistro 82's general manager and Awsem Zbair is AFB Hospitality Group's director of nightlife. "As each of our venues continue to expand, we have an increasing need for talented, experienced management," Aaron F. Belen, owner of AFB Hospitality Group, said in a news release. "Ben, Keith and Awsem are arguably some of the most talented in their fields, and will elevate every facet of the experience at our properties." Robison, a graduate of the culinary arts program at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, has more than 11 years of culinary experience in Detroit and Chicago. Most recently, he served as executive pastry chef and chef de cuisine at Local Kitchen and Bar in Ferndale, and had previous long-term executive pastry chef positions with Bacco Ristorante in Southfield and Marais in Grosse Pointe. Schofield brings more than 30 years of restaurant experience to Bistro 82, with expertise in front and back-of-the-house operations. He had previous roles as food and beverage director at MGM Grand Detroit, director of restaurant operations at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham and senior managing partner of the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group. Zbair was the nightlife and entertainment manager at MGM Grand Detroit for the last decade. Previously, he worked with national acts at the casino's V Nightclub. Bistro 82 and SCL are at 401 S. Lafayette Ave. and The Morrie is at 511 S. Main St., all are in downtown Royal Oak.

2017 Restaurant of the Year: Bistro 82February 17, 2017

Hour Detroit

At first glance, Bistro 82’s menu may look like any other French bistro: steak frites, escargot, foie gras. But a closer look at each and every plate reveals what sets Bistro 82 apart: its tireless commitment to seek perfection. It’s easy to stick to what works; it’s another thing to scrap it and start over. This dedication to the craft permeates from the kitchen throughout the restaurant.

At first glance, Bistro 82’s menu may look like any other French bistro: steak frites, escargot, foie gras. But a closer look at each and every plate reveals what sets Bistro 82 apart: its tireless commitment to seek perfection. It’s easy to stick to what works; it’s another thing to scrap it and start over. This dedication to the craft permeates from the kitchen throughout the restaurant. “What are we going to do to not be stagnant? What’s next?” says executive chef Derik Watson of the kitchen’s approach to food. “Everything we’re doing we try to do it better, then the next day we either try to change it or do it better.” Since opening in early 2014, Bistro 82 has certainly not stood still. Dishes such as the cioppino and cobia have been on the menu for a long time, but when you visit the restaurant again, you notice the constant evolution of the dishes. “It was a February opening, so warm, rich flavors are comforting, and the direction I was leaning,” says Watson. “That and the identity of the restaurant hadn’t really been established. The concept of course was, that of a modern bistro, hence the classics like steak frites, escargot, steak tartare. “As we grew, so did the creative process,” he says. “As the seasons progress the flavors tend to lighten up [and] become more refreshing or bright, acidic, et cetera. Garnishes become what is available seasonally.” The scallops, which have been on the menu since Day One, are a perfect example. Watson estimates there have been a dozen versions. When we first reviewed Bistro 82 in our May 2014 issue, we noted that the scallops were served with a white bean mousseline and sauce Americaine, the rich, creamy, buttery, and slightly spicy shellfish broth-based sauce. More recently, the scallops were the same — seared to perfection, not one degree over or under — but were accompanied with white chocolate, cranberry, chestnut puree, salsify, apple, and radicchio. At first glance, the sweet elements might seem too cloying. The radicchio on its own was bitter. But the sweet, the bitter, and the texture all came together on the plate. The same held true for many dishes and over multiple visits. The ingredients and flavors of a Bistro 82 dish may change, but the foundation is the same. It’s a solid foundation that’s been built under the direction of Watson. Today’s food culture idolizes the celebrity chef, the larger-than-life persona that often dominates a restaurant’s image — and the food. But Watson — who worked under top chefs such as Takashi Yagihashi at Tribute and Don Yamauchi at MotorCity Casino’s Iridescence, both previous Hour Detroit Restaurant of the Year winners — doesn’t fit that mold. He’s quick to point out that the restaurant’s success is not about him. “I want [Bistro 82] to be bigger than me,” Watson says. Bistro 82 isn’t the flashiest restaurant or the most cutting edge — and they don’t want to be. “The goal here is to not create what’s cool or trendy but a great restaurant that’s timeless,” Watson says, adding that they’re aiming to “establish a kitchen that would earn the seal of approval — like Tribute, Bacco, or Golden Mushroom. “Are we there yet? No, but that’s the goal.” We happen to think they are well on their way. For its subtle, precise, and elegant food, its impeccable attention to detail, its rock-solid consistency, and culture that celebrates its team, we have selected Bistro 82 as Hour Detroit’s 2017’s Restaurant of the Year. Defining ‘New-School Cool’ Although Royal Oak has its share of interesting, diverse restaurants, it admittedly is not the first place that comes to mind when you think about fine dining. But in February 2013, Aaron F. Belen bought the former Sangria/Sky Bar space in downtown Royal Oak. Belen, barely 30 at the time, decided to go all in, putting up more than $5 million to develop Bistro 82 and Sabrage (its sister nightclub upstairs). It was, perhaps, a tad ambitious. Most of today’s new establishments are certainly less formal than traditional fine dining. And somewhat smaller than Bistro 82’s approximately 150 seats, as well. “I hate saying ‘high-end’ or saying ‘fine-dining,’ ” Belen says. “The Lark was classic French fine dining — it was old-school cool. We wanted to be ‘new-school cool.’ ” But that presented a challenge: How to strike a balance between being upscale and special, but not intimidating? “We wanted it to have a Michigan feel to it,” Belen adds. “This is not Madison Avenue. How do you make it cool … and still approachable?” Bistro 82 succeeds with a contemporary take that wouldn’t look out of place in any big city across the country. That’s by design. Its atmosphere was inspired by a number of visits to Chicago hot spots, from places with Michelin stars to trendy nightclubs that generated buzz. To launch Bistro 82, Belen formed the AFB Hospitality Group and began surrounding himself with restaurant veterans and rising stars. He tapped Scott Sadoff as his director of operations, who had stints at Ocean Prime in Troy and P.F. Chang’s. General Manager Matthew Hollander (who recently left Michigan for an “incredible opportunity” in Las Vegas) did double duty, keeping an eye on the floor as well as offering his advice as a certified sommelier. But the master stroke was landing the skilled and accomplished Watson to head up the kitchen. Belen says Bistro 82’s real “secret sauce” was having this team develop a philosophy and mission statement, and then doggedly holding to it. In the Heart of the House Meticulous attention to detail and precision are hallmarks of Bistro 82’s culinary style. In the kitchen, blue masking tape is used to label everything and the rule is to cut the tape with a pair of scissors versus hastily tearing it. Something like that has no effect on whether the diner will enjoy their scallops or steak more, but the fact that the staff cuts the tape is symbolic of how the chefs and cooks work. “Those details can inform everything we do,” says chef de cuisine Alex Dettwyler, an intensely focused chef who is known to bring a metronome into the kitchen during Saturday night service. “If we can’t get the little details right we can’t get the big details right. If we can’t cut the tape, we can’t sear a piece of fish. … Those details are what separate good restaurants from great restaurants, and we take a lot of pride in those details.” Watson may have the title of executive chef, but he empowers the rest of the team to have input on the menu while challenging them at the same time. The concept of team is almost a cliché, but at Bistro 82, that idea manifests itself in each plate. Take the bone marrow. The unctuous marrow is rich, the crostini crisp to a toast, the frisee salad bright with acidity from the well-balanced dressing. Each component has its place and its individual strength. On their own, they can be too rich, too bland, too bitter. But together it’s harmonious and one component can’t succeed without the other, much like the kitchen itself. Dettwyler cites an example. “I was working the opening shift and was supposed to go home at 6 o’clock and [was] looking at reservations, looking at weather [and] getting a feeling that something big is going to happen tonight. So I threw my chef coat back on,” he says. The night just kept getting busier and busier. “And then on cue Derik walks in the back door … still wearing his hoodie out of the cold [and] starts garnishing, wiping plates, and sending them out,” Dettwyler says. “That was a beautiful moment — especially [for] some of the cooks who haven’t spent a lot of time with Derik … to see him walk into that situation and jump in and help us in any way he could.” A Legacy of Mentorship Watson’s style of leading by example stems from his time working with some of the greats. Yagihashi, who built his reputation in Michigan as the executive chef at the legendary Tribute, says as a chef, you can tell pretty quickly if a chef has what it takes. With Watson, who worked with Yagihashi as a line cook at Tribute, he says, “I felt right away he could be very good.” Later he would ask him to work for him as his sous-chef at his eponymous restaurant in Chicago, which garnered a Michelin star. For most of his career, Watson has always looked ahead to what’s next and not rest on his laurels. While at Tribute, he wanted to push himself as a leader, and took an executive chef job at Peabody’s. Then he moved to Las Vegas before heading to Chicago to help open Takashi. He came back home to Michigan in search of something more challenging, and worked for Don Yamauchi at Iridescence. But he began to feel stagnant and bored, and took a year off, working odd jobs. A friend connected him to Belen and Sadoff, and after the three of them clicked, they started planning what would become Bistro 82. Here the chef has evolved into one who leads by influence and whose style is to “earn respect rather than demand it.” Watson fuels motivation and creativity into his associates, says Norman Fenton, who hired in at Bistro 82 as sous-chef and was then promoted to executive sous-chef. At the time of his hiring, he says he was questioning what he was doing and the direction of his career. Then he got the call from Watson. “He was very nurturing in the sense of helping you grow and spread your wings,” says Fenton. “Working for him is what help shaped the idea of where I want my own career to go.” The experience helped Fenton move on to bigger roles, such as revamping the menu at Tom’s Oyster Bar and Ale Mary’s in Royal Oak before heading to Chicago to work for Grant Achatz’s Alinea Group. He now works at Schwa in Chicago, where he can “continue honing my skills under amazing chefs just like [Watson].” The development of associates (Watson emphasizes they are not called staff) from dishwashers to the kitchen team has been one of his goals: The next position should be a step up. “No one makes a lateral move,” he says. “I’m personally reaching my goals [so] it’s really exciting to see Matthew [Hollander] head to Vegas [and] Norman moving to a large market and working with the Alinea Group and now with Schwa.” He harkens back to the goal to emulate places like Tribute to earn that “seal of approval,” and establish a kitchen that “if you see it on someone’s resume, you would know that you’re getting a good cook, a passionate cook.” Dettwyler is one who didn’t make a lateral move — he actually took a step down in order to work at Bistro 82. He was an executive chef in Ann Arbor, where he and his wife moved to from Pittsburgh so she could go to school. He came to “stage” at Bistro 82 (when chefs work for free in a kitchen to see if it’s a good fit for both parties) and was offered a line cook job because there were no open chef positions. It would have meant a pay cut, a long commute, and more hours, so Dettwyler said thanks, but no thanks. But a nagging feeling stayed with him. “It doesn’t matter how hard it is, it doesn’t matter how poor you have to be, it doesn’t matter how much gas you’re going to spend each week. This is the route to the top,” he says. Dettwyler called Watson a month later and asked if he could come back. He started at Bistro 82 a couple of days later as line cook, then moved up quickly, first to sous-chef and now chef de cuisine. Pushing the Envelope Now that the AFB Hospitality Group has opened The Morrie roadhouse in Royal Oak, Watson is overseeing the kitchen and menu at both places. That means he’s not at Bistro 82 “as much as he would like.” Holding true to his goal of nurturing his kitchen team, Watson is leaving much of the menu conceptualization and development in Dettwyler’s hands. Still, the two engage in a lot of back and forth in order to create the perfect dish. They communicate via phone and texts, and the conversation could start off simply with an ingredient such as bergamot, until the collaboration becomes a fully formed dish. “Derik has changed a lot in past year and a half … from the guy who I was saying ‘Yes, chef’ to,” says Dettwyler. “Now … he’s more like the Yoda or the Obi-Wan Kenobi to my Luke Skywalker.” He adds that Watson and operations director Sadoff built the car; he’s just driving it and continuing down the path that’s been paved. And the direction is always forward. “How far can we push the envelope in terms of quality while still being viable as a business?” Dettwyler says. “Since I’ve started we’ve always had that established goal of being an institution — not just being a flash in the pan [or] a trendy restaurant that comes and goes. “Part of that is looking at the future, taking the long view of things, and not being afraid to make hard decisions,” Dettwyler says, citing the choice to make all the bread for both restaurants in house as an example. “[It] was a huge undertaking and it was a huge commitment, and now it’s just a part of what we do, just one more step toward perfection — something you never get to, but you’re pushing toward it every day.”

Hour Detroit names Bistro 82 as 2017 Restaurant of the YearMarch 6, 2017

Fox 2 Detroit

(WJBK) - The March issue of Hour Detroit unveils the magazine's pick for its 2017 Restaurant of the Year: Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. Since opening in early 2014, Bistro 82 has been perfecting its French-inspired menu, from their foie gras and escargot to steak frites and scallops

(WJBK) - The March issue of Hour Detroit unveils the magazine's pick for its 2017 Restaurant of the Year: Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. Since opening in early 2014, Bistro 82 has been perfecting its French-inspired menu, from their foie gras and escargot to steak frites and scallops. Hour Detroit editor Steve Wilke joined us in the FOX 2 Cooking School with executive chef Derik Watson to tell us more about Bistro 82's menu and food. Chef Derik also shared their vegan risotto recipe with us, which you can find below. For more information on Bistro 82, visit www.bistro82.com. You can also read more about the restaurant in the magazine's March issue, which is out now on newstands and at www.hourdetroit.com. Hour Detroit names Bistro 82 as 2017 Restaurant of the Year VEGAN RISOTTO CASHEW CREAM Roasted Cashews 2 cups Cover cashews with cold water and allow to soak at least twelve hours. Drain cashews and place in blender, adding just enough fresh water to cover. Puree on high speed for several minutes until a smooth and thick cream is formed. Pass through a chinois and reserve. LEMON VINAIGRETTE Lemon juice 1 Cup Lemon zest 1 lemon Dijon mustard ½ T. Salt ½ t. Sugar 2 t. White pepper ¼ t. Olive oil 2 Cups White balsamic vinegar 1Cup Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a blender on low speed, slowly add in olive oil while blending to create an emulsified vinaigrette. Pass through a chinois and reserve. RISOTTO Olive Oil 0.5 Cup Leeks ¼ C. Shallot 2T Garlic 2T Vegetable Stock 6 Cups Arborio rice 3 Cups Peas 1 Cup In a medium pot over a low flame sweat leeks, shallots, and garlic in olive oil until translucent, about three minutes. Add Arborio rice, stirring constantly to absorb butter and “toast” the rice until the rice develops a small bit of color and starts to become translucent, around five minutes. Add stock, four ounces at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to develop starches. When a ladle of stock is absorbed, and the bottom of the pan is easily visible, add another ladle. Continue until all stock is used or until risotto is just cooked with a small bit of al-dente texture left. Stir in peas and finish with cashew cream and salt to taste. Top with roasted carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms as well as arugula salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette.

2016 Top Restaurants in Metro Detroit for BusinessDecember 6th, 2016

dbusiness.com

A private dinner, a power lunch, or a corporate event can make or break a company’s brand or image. Find the best tables and private rooms in the region. BISTRO 82 One of the only destination dining locations in downtown Royal Oak, their menu features French onion soup dumplings, steak frites, daily selection of oysters and cinnamon sugar coated beignet. 401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak, 248-542-0082, D Tues.-Sun. Brunch Sun. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 18/ Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table seven, a round table that seats up to eight people.

ANN ARBOR THE CHOP HOUSE An elegant steakhouse destination featuring grain-fed beef like filet mignon — a great spot before or after a U-M football game. 322 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, 888-456-3463, D Mon.-Sun. / $35 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The Chef’s Table. Seats 10-12 people at the front of the restaurant with a view of Ann Arbor’s Main Street. GANDY DANCER Located in the elegantly restored 1886 Michigan Central Depot railroad station, the Gandy Dancer specializes in seafood, steak, and pasta dishes. 401 Depot St., Ann Arbor, 734-769-0592, L Mon.-Fri., D Daily / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 130 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Window tables with a scenic view of the train tracks. PAESANO RESTAURANT & WINE BAR A cozy atmosphere featuring rustic Italian dishes with an emphasis on regional preparations. The menu also boasts variety, offering dishes such as duck ravioli and barbequed ribs, flavored with orange molasses and vinegar. 3411 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 734-971-0484, L&D Daily / $16 / Meeting Room Capacity: 10 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: N/A ZINGERMAN’S ROADHOUSE A down-to-earth setting, Zingerman’s serves fresh regional American foods. Entrees include roasted semi-boneless Cornish chicken. 2501 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor, 734-663-3663, L&D Daily / $28 / Meeting Room Capacity: 120 / Wi-Fi / N/A AUBURN HILLS LELLI’S OF AUBURN HILLS This intimate Italian restaurant is known for its filet mignon with zip sauce. Originally located in Detroit. 885 Opdyke Rd., Auburn Hills, 248-373-4440, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $45 / Meeting Room Capacity: 70 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Eight seats at the bar. Located in a high-profile part of the restaurant, these tables are highly requested. BIRMINGHAM BIG ROCK CHOP HOUSE This Birmingham staple, set in a historic train station, offers an award-winning menu highlighted by unique steak and seafood offerings, including cold water lobster tail and a 24-ounce porterhouse. 245 S. Eton, Birmingham, 248-647-7774, L&D Mon.-Sat. / $22 / Meeting Room Capacity: 300 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Under the outdoor gazebo or, if you are looking to see or be seen, table 30 or 31 in the center of the dining room. Both tables seat five to six people. THE BIRD & THE BREAD Munch, crunch, slurp, or chow on a seasonal menu offering plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. The Chestnut Farms rotisserie chicken is a house favorite. 210 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 248-203-6600, L Mon.-Fri., D Daily, Brunch Sun. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 150 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: If you are looking for privacy ask for the Stave Cave, which seats up to 20 and has curtains that can be closed. CAMERON’S STEAKHOUSE Executive Chef Alex Lucier brings his New York culinary experience — think bone-in rib-eye and lamb chops. 115 Willits, Birmingham, 248-723-1700, D Nightly / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The Sonoma and Napa rooms, which hold 25 and 15 people, are the most requested part of the steakhouse. FLEMING’S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR This steakhouse, accompanying a menu complete with aged prime beef and fresh seafood, offers a renowned wine list with more than 100 selections. 323 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 248-723-0134, D Daily / $45 / Meeting Room Capacity: Three rooms of 36 or one combined room of 72 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The Captain’s Table seats eight people in large, comfortable chairs. FOREST Located in Birmingham’s Triangle District, the culinary team prepares charcuterie and traditional bistro dishes. The chef emphasizes fresh, local ingredients. 753 Forest Ave., Birmingham, 248-258-9400, D Mon.-Sat. / $33 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The restaurant’s corner booth seats up to fourteen people and provides ample privacy. HYDE PARK PRIME STEAKHOUSE The popular downtown venue offers both traditional and specialty steaks, including dry aged reserve prime offerings, as well as shrimp and lobster tail. 201 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 248-594-4369, D Daily. / $45 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The plush red Gotti booth is a customer favorite, but for more privacy the board rooms seats 8-10. Other popular areas of the restaurant include six rooms for private dining, serving and glass-stained Room 11, which includes a flat screen TV and a fireplace. PHOENICIA A unique and refined menu for Middle Eastern cuisine inspired by Old World Beirut. Owner Sameer Eid selects the finest cuts each morning, using them in specialty dishes such as the baba ghanoush and hashwi with lamb confit. 588 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 248-644-3122, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $22 / Meeting Room Capacity: No private meeting room but the dining area can comfortably accommodate parties of up to 10 people / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Booths 1, 2, and 21 are popular for meetings. The two most private booths can seat up to six people and are located beside the wine cellar. RUGBY GRILLE Tucked inside Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel, the Rugby Grille offers steaks, seafood, and racks of lamb. 100 Townsend St., Birmingham, 248-642-5999, B, L&D Daily / $38 / Meeting Room Capacity: N/A / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: 71 and 74 have unparalleled vantage points of the restaurant. THE STAND GASTRO BISTRO Featuring craft beer and extensive vegan options, this bistro features meats and seafood prepared in-house, with specialties including lobster fried egg and roasted duck breast. 34977 Woodward Ave., Suite 100, Birmingham, 248-220-4237, D Mon.-Sat., L Tue.-Fri. / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: If you are looking to maximize privacy, the Paul Smith room has its own private entrance. BLOOMFIELD HILLS EDDIE MERLOT’S This is the first and only Eddie Merlot’s in Michigan and, in keeping with the restaurant’s mantra, provides top-of-the-line steaks and seafood. 37000 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, 248-712-4095, D daily / $80 / Meeting Room Capacity: 70 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: 441. Located in the center of the restaurant, this table seats up to eight people and offers views of the entire restaurant and the wine wall. Table 119 is also highly requested for a more private setting. ANDIAMO BLOOMFIELD Popular year round, the Italian eatery offers a range of traditional dishes such as ravioli and lasagna along with premium cuts of beef. 6676 Telegraph, Bloomfield Hills, 248-865-9300, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. & Sun. / $24 / Meeting Room Capacity: 130 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 40 is at the center of the restaurant near a fireplace. With a low wall to one side and a high wall to the other, this secluded table offers ample privacy for a group of eight. ROADSIDE B&G The bar and grill is retro-themed and specializes in everything from burgers, ribs, and fish and chips to steaks and seafood. 1727 S. Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Township, 248-858-7270, L & D daily / $20 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Best Table: Tables on the patio are the most requested. CANTON ANTONIO’S CUCINA ITALIANA Family recipes featuring authentic Italian cuisine like linguine primavera that truly reflects the old country. 2220 N. Canton Center Rd., Canton, 734-981-9800, L&D Daily / $14 / Meeting Room Capacity: 140 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The VIP Room. This plush and private room, equipped with a 20 foot-long captain’s table and captain’s chairs, has a wide-screen TV with a DVD player. CLARKSTON VIA BOLOGNA Designed to remind customers of the romantic atmosphere of European dining, this Italian restaurant specializes in pastas, veal, chicken, and fish entrees. 7071 Dixie Hwy., Clarkston, 248-620-8500, D Daily / $20 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 (only before 3 p.m.) / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 14 is tucked away and by a window. CLINTON TOWNSHIP THE BREWERY RESTAURANT A casual American restaurant featuring upscale, world-class cuisine including steak, chops, fresh seafood, and daily specials. 39950 Hayes, Clinton Township, 586-286-3020, D Daily / $19 / Meeting Room Capacity: 75 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A corner table by the patio that seats up to eight people and offers plenty of privacy. DEARBORN BIG FISH SEAFOOD BISTRO This seafood and fish house offers, among other entrees, steamed live Maine lobsters as well as a variety of pastas and pizzas. 700 Town Center Dr., Dearborn, 313-336-6350, L&D Mon.-Sat., D Sun. / $18 / Meeting Room Capacity: 100 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The Michigan Room can seat up to 20 people, is very private, and can accommodate computer, television, or other media use. ANDIAMO DEARBORN Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Dearborn features cuts of premium beef and seafood, tableside Caesar salad, cordial, and dessert carts. It has all the ambiance of an upscale steakhouse. 21400 Michigan, Dearborn, 313-359-3300, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 250 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 36 is nestled in the corner next to the fireplace and with a view of the woods. ROMAN VILLAGE CUCINA ITALIANA This family-owned restaurant sticks to its traditional Italian roots and uses family recipes, such as their polenta, consisting of cornmeal topped with Italian sausage and meat sauce. 9924 Dix Ave., Dearborn, 313-842-2100, L&D Daily / $12 / Meeting Room Capacity: 110 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A round table in the center of the room. DEARBORN HEIGHTS ANTONIO’S CUCINA ITALIANO This location, just as the Rugiero family’s other locations, produces its own pasta daily in the heart of the dining room. Pair their fresh gnocchi with the house special pancetta and mushroom sauce. 26356 Ford Rd., Dearborn Heights, 313-278-6000, L&D Daily / $14 / Meeting Room Capacity: 70 / Best Table: The secluded south room, with its few tables, is reminiscent of old school Italian restaurants away from the main room’s hustle and bustle, private and quaint. DETROIT ANDIAMO RIVERFRONT Located on the Detroit River in the Renaissance Center, this scenic eatery offers authentic Italian dishes, including ravioli and lasagna, and numerous wine selections. 400 GM Renaissance Center, Detroit, 313-567-6700, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. & Sun. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 90 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The Galleria. Accommodating up to 90 guests, the elegant Galleria offers plenty of privacy for meetings both small and large. SELDEN STANDARD This seasonally driven restaurant allows guests to enjoy flavors born in local farms and captured at the peak of the season. Meals are prepared in a wood-fire oven and served small plates-style in shareable portions. The eatery offers meals such as seasonal flatbread, grilled trout, and charred octopus, as well as local brews and craft cocktails. 3921 Second Ave., Detroit, 313-438-5055, L&D Mon.-Sun. B, L, D Sat. & Sun. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 90 / Best Table: The chef’s counter seating area is highly requested and very interactive. WRIGHT & CO. Marking its one year anniversary this month, Wright & Co. has seen immense success since opening. The restaurant offers contemporary American food, small-plates style, along with craft cocktails. The opening menu offers nine plates and three desserts, which change with the seasons. 1500 Woodward Ave Second Floor, Detroit, 313-962-7711, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. & Sun. / $15 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: 40 This round table underneath the chandelier is by the front window, and overlooks Woodward. The table seats a minimum of five people and a maximum of eight, comfortably. REPUBLIC TAVERN This newly created restaurant focuses on European tavern style dishes. All ingredients are locally sourced and butchery is done in-house. This allows the chefs to work with different cuts of meat. Republic Tavern also practices “nose-to-tail” eating with its meat, allowing for minimized waste. 1942 Grand River Ave, Detroit, 313-446-8360, L&D Tue.-Fri. D Sat. & Sun. / $8-$28 / Meeting Room Capacity: 150 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: There are two royal blue celebrity booths that are highly requested. There is also a private table behind the booths, centered around a 3-piece mural of Detroit. COACH INSIGNIA As the second highest restaurant in the United States, Coach Insignia offers panoramic views of Detroit and Windsor. The restaurant also prides itself in using as many Michigan products as possible, such as the Michigan rainbow trout in their Detroit fish and chips. 71st & 72nd floors, Renaissance Center, Detroit, 313-567-2622, D Mon.-Sat. / $32 / Meeting Room Capacity: Private rooms hold 16 and the lower levels can hold up to 400 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A window table overlooking the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit River. CUISINE RESTAURANT Set in New Center, this quaint French-American restaurant is located inside a residential manor and offers seared sea scallops, beef tenderloin, and roasted Alaskan halibut. 670 Lothrop, Detroit, 313-872-5110, L Wed.-Fri. D Tue.-Sun. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 80 / Wi-Fi / Valet by request / Best Table: Table 15 or 16 are on the old porch overlooking Lothrop Street. GIOVANNI’S RISTORANTE Recipient of the 2001 DiRoNA award for being among the best restaurants in North America, Giovanni’s is a cozy Italian eatery offering ravioli, lasagna, and gnocchi. 330 S. Oakwood, Detroit, 313-841-0122, L&D Tue.-Fri. D Sat. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 28 / Valet / Best Table: The Sewing Machine Table is in a corner that overlooks the entire restaurant and seats up to four people. IRIDESCENCE Located atop of the stylish MotorCity Casino Hotel, Iridescence is an AAA Four Diamond rated restaurant that offers Yuzu salmon, wild striped bass, and duo of Colorado lamb. 2901 Grand River, Detroit, 313-237-6732, D Wed.-Sun. / $75 / Meeting Room Capacity: Six / Valet / Best Table: A corner booth with a bird’s-eye view of the city. JOE MUER SEAFOOD With sweeping views of the Detroit River and a modern interior, the menu offers various seafood dishes, sushi, and classics such as Dover sole, whitefish, and surf and turf. 400 Renaissance Center, 313-567-6837, D Daily / $36 / Meeting Room Capacity: 36 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A table in the main dining room, next to floor to ceiling windows with views of the river, the Riverwalk, and Windsor. THE LONDON CHOP HOUSE Newly renovated in an old time fashion paying homage to the institution of the original restaurant, including a snug where famous guests have and can dine in private luxury. Also harkening back to the original restaurant, the new establishment serves old favorites like the veal chop Oscar. 155 West Congress, Detroit, 313-962-0277, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Saturday / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 75 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Booths 1, 2, and 131. In the restaurant’s early days, these booths hosted celebrities and auto industry higher-ups. RATTLESNAKE CLUB Enjoy Maine diver sea scallops and a host of seafood and steak selections on the covered terrace, when weather permits, and take in the views of the Detroit River. 300 River Place, 313-567-4400, L&D Tue.-Fri., D Sat. / $40 / Meeting Room Capacity: 70 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Any table along the riverfront provides a wonderful view for guests. ROAST Tucked inside the refurbished Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, Roast offers everything from beef pierogi, to stuffed Hungarian hot peppers, to porterhouse for two. 1128 Washington Blvd., Detroit, 313-961-2500, D Mon.-Sun. / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 55 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: For privacy, there are enjoyable booths behind the bar. For a more scenic view, sit next to the windows that look out onto Washington Blvd. SANTORINI ESTIATORIO Located in Detroit’s Greektown, Santorini offers traditional Greek entrees and desserts, along with select beef, chicken, and seafood selections. 501 Monroe, Detroit, 313-962-9366, L&D Tues.-Sun. / $21 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Any table that overlooks the front window provides a view of Greektown, as well as a gentle breeze to those dining. TOP OF THE PONTCH Offering a “seafood centric” menu that includes steaks and other cuisine, the return of Top of the Pontch to the 25th floor of the Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain Detroit Hotel, next to Cobo Center, brings back one of the region’s most storied and alluring dining rooms. There’s also the neighboring Summit Room, which offers private dining options. 2 Washington Blvd., Detroit 313-782-4131, D Tue-Sat. / $35 / Meeting Room Capacity: 170/ Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Tiered seating on three levels offers the best skyline views. THE WHITNEY Detroit’s most iconic mansion, the historic eatery retains all of its charm and refinement while appealing to contemporary tastes with offerings such as bourbon beef wellington, bourbon glazed salmon, and crispy pan-roasted duck. 4421 Woodward Ave, 313-832-5700, D Daily / $40 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 28 sits in the center of the bay window area and overlooks Woodward Ave. The table seats two and is surrounded by a garden and a wrought-iron fence. WOLFGANG PUCK STEAK Japanese A5 from Miyazaki Prefecture highlights the menu of red meat, but the restaurant also offers seafood dishes such as stuffed shrimp and whole Maine lobster. 1777 Third St. in the MGM Grand Detroit, 313-465-1644, D Daily / $50 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The aptly named Wine Cellar Table is located in the restaurant’s wine cellar, readily visible as the cellar is enclosed with glass. Also, the chef’s table, located near the wine cellar and in front of the kitchen, provides an excellent view of the grill, allowing guests to watch the preparation of their meal. FARMINGTON HILLS ANTONIO’S CUCINA ITALIANA Signature dishes include gnocchi Rita, chicken Antonio, various veal dishes, and pizzas — all in an Italian countryside setting. 37646 W. 12 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, 248-994-4000, L&D Mon.-Fri., D Sat.-Sun. / $15 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Best Table: N/A CAFÉ CORTINA This Farmington Hills restaurant may be the “best kept secret” in metro Detroit. A garden provides fresh ingredients like arugula, basil, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes for the Northern Italian cuisine. 30715 W. 10 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, 248-474-3033, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 150 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: When weather permits, the ideal table is one by a fireplace, on the patio with a scenic view. HONG HUA With more than 80 years of combined experience, the chefs at Hong Hua offer guests authentic Chinese cuisine like Peking duck in an upscale setting. 27925 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills, 248-489-2280, L&D Daily / $14 / Meeting Room Capacity: 200 / Best Table: N/A LELLI’S INN ON THE GREEN Located at Copper Creek Golf Course, Lelli’s Inn continues the tradition started in 1939, serving filet mignon with zip sauce, bone-in filet mignon, and veal marsala. 27925 Golf Pointe Blvd., Farmington Hills, 248-994-1111, L&D Tue.-Fri., D Sat.-Sun. / $40 / Meeting Room Capacity: 165 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Tables in the Red Room or the Champagne Room are fantastic and private. The middle booth 21 is also a great option. GROSSE POINTE MARAIS Hour Detroit’s pick for Restaurant of the Year in 2014 features everything from black truffle risotto to duck a l’orange to a dish called “Tasting of Veal.” There’s also an expansive wine list and homemade ingredients like butter and bread. 17051 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe, 313-343-8800, D Tue.-Sat., Brunch Sun. / $40 / Meeting Room Capacity: 24 / Best Table: Table one and 27 are recommended for business meetings because of their intimate and private ambience. GROSSE POINTE FARMS DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ In an intimate pub atmosphere, this restaurant provides live music along with entrees such as Vietnamese short ribs, confit chicken fettuccine, and braised pork chops. 97 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms, 313-882-5299, L&D Tue.-Fri., D Sat. / $17 / Meeting Room Capacity: 22 /Wi-Fi / Best Table: For entertainment, table four offers an up close view of the live music, but for a quieter and secluded setting, the Board Room is a private room with a 64-inch screen and speakers that allow guests to see and hear the band, yet still conduct a private meeting. THE HILL RESTAURANT The award-winning restaurant offers classic American fare prepared with premium ingredients, including numerous meat and seafood choices. The European Dover Sole fish is one of the restaurant’s signature items. 123 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms, 313-886-8101, L Mon.-Fri. D Mon.-Sat. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 64 seats up to eight people and is convenient for a private lunch-in. GROSSE POINTE WOODS DA EDOARDO Family-owned by the Barbieri family for more than 25 years, Da Edoardo offers Italian cuisine like fettuccine alfredo, tuna au poivre, and veal saltimbocca. 19767 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods, 313-881-8540, D Daily / $20 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Best Table: Fireside booths, with their elegant mahogany leather, offer an impressive and an intimate setting. LIVONIA FLEMING’S PRIME STEAKHOUSE An ideal setting to entertain clients, the restaurant offers award winning steak and seafood, including New York strip, bone-in rib eye, and double breast of chicken. 17400 Haggerty, Livonia, 734-542-9463, D Nightly / $60 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A table in the main dining room, next to the reserve wine room with more than 100 bottles. NORTHVILLE GAUCHO STEAK HOUSE An authentic Brazilian steak house offers a vibrant atmosphere and 17 types of unlimited meats, including filet mignon, rib-eye, and lombo. 39550 W. Seven Mile, Northville, 248-380-7770, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $49 / Meeting Room Capacity: 30 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table seven is located in a second dining room and is near the salad bar. This table offers privacy and one of the restaurant’s waterfalls accentuates the surroundings. There is also a private dining room that seats up to 30 people. NOVI NOVI CHOPHOUSE Serving prime steaks and seafood in an elegant setting, this Novi establishment located inside the Crowne Plaza Hotel is known for its live Maine lobster and generous cuts of beef. 27000 S. Karevich Dr., Novi, 248-305-5210, D Daily / $32 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Any of the over-sized luxury booths. STEVE & ROCKY’S Opentable.com’s Diner’s Choice Winner for 2009 and 2016, chefs Steve Allen and Chuck “Rocky” Rachwitz offer local American fare favorites including filet mignon, shrimp provencal, and lake perch saute. 43150 Grand River, Novi, 248-374-0688, L Mon.-Sat. D Daily / $22 / Meeting Room Capacity: 125 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The perimeter tables offer the most privacy. TOASTED OAK GRILL & MARKET Located in the renovated Baronette Renaissance Hotel next to Twelve Oaks Mall, the upbeat restaurant offers an array of steak and seafood prepared in house, including grilled pizza, Lake Huron trout, local grass fed rib-eye, and Creekstone Farms tenderloin. 27790 Novi Rd., Novi, 248-277-6000, B&L Mon.-Sat. D Daily Brunch Sat.-Sun. / $19 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A private dining room is available that can extend near the fireplace. With its doors shut, the private dining room holds approximately 26 people. PLYMOUTH FIAMMA GRILLE With a quaint view of downtown Plymouth, this restaurant offers a contemporary dining experience. Entree selections include Piedmontese filet mignon, Norwegian salmon, and spring vegetable risotto. 380 S. Main St., Plymouth, 734-416-9340, D Daily / $23 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A table by the window overlooking the park for a quieter dinner, or a table in the back corner. LA BISTECCA ITALIAN GRILLE The Grille offers pollo alla picatta and an array of steak and seafood such as a 16 oz. New York strip and salmon al griglia. All Steak is certified Piedmontese beef. 39405 Plymouth Rd., Plymouth, 734-254-0400, L Wed.-Fri. D Mon-Sat. / $23 / Meeting Room Capacity: N/A / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 11 and 22. Table 11 is tucked away in the corner of the dining room at an off-beaten path, giving you a full view of the room. Table 22 is more private, placed in an area where diners do not see many others. ROCHESTER CHAPMAN HOUSE From a former manor built in 1917, the Chapman House offers an array of well-furnished rooms on two floors, along with a spacious outdoor courtyard. Entrées are mostly locally sourced and include seared duck breast, crispy-skin trout, and semolina gnocchi along with American and French wines. 311 Walnut Blvd., Rochester, 248-759-4406, D Tues. – Sat./ $32 / Meeting Room Capacity: 100 on courtyard (flexible inside) / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Glass enclosed conservatory, upstairs corner room, private dining room called The Vault on lower level seats up to eight people. PARK 600 BAR + KITCHEN AT THE ROYAL PARK HOTEL (PREVIOUSLY BROOKSHIRE) Park 600 bar + kitchen is a newly renovated restaurant that has bold flavors and locally sources foods. Their menu features Indian Brook Rainbow Trout, Asian styled pork shank. 600 E. University, Rochester, 248-453-8732, BL&D Mon.-Sat. / $26 / Meeting Room Capacity: 118 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Booths near the fireplace or the half-booths along the back wall are highly requested. ROCHESTER CHOP HOUSE The Kruse and Muer restaurant offers great, affordable steaks, chops, and seafood such as Maine lobster tails, stuffed shrimp, and Australian lamb chops. 306 Main St., Rochester, 248-651-2266, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat-Sun. / $28 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 210 is highly requested, being in the center of the restaurant. The table is half moon-shaped and near the piano, providing a warm view of the restaurant to guests. ROCHESTER HILLS MITCHELL’S FISH MARKET Fish so fresh, the menu is printed twice daily. Mitchell’s provides a wide array of fish, and their crab cakes are a guest favorite. 370 N. Adams Rd., Rochester Hills, 248-340-5900, L&D Daily/ $21 / 32 / / / Tables 91, 92, 93, 94 are four horseshoe-shaped booths that are semi-private, located in the back of the restaurant. Each one seats up to six people. SILVER SPOON RISTORANTE The interior is modern and eclectic, while the wait staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the authentic Italian menu. 6830 N. Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills, 248-652-4500, D Mon.- Sat. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: N/A / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Will accommodate upon request. ROMULUS REFLECTION (PREVIOUSLY DEMA) Located inside The Westin at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Reflection offers a modern setting with a Modern American menu that provides a wide array of options, including pasta, salads, and soup. 2501 Worldgateway Place, Detroit, 734-229-6782, B, L&D Daily / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 10 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 29 is next to the tranquility pond in the atrium and provides an intimate and relaxed setting for diners. ROSEVILLE MR. PAUL’S CHOPHOUSE The family operated restaurant offers exceptional steak, seafood, and pasta in a club-like setting. Beef and fish is delivered to the restaurant twice daily, in order to keep meals fresh. 29850 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville, 586-777-7770, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. / $24 / 182 / / / The larger booth in the back corner of the restaurant. ROYAL OAK ANDIAMO ROYAL OAK Quaint and memorable, this popular local franchise features authentic Italian cuisine like tortellini alla panna. 129 S. Main St., Royal Oak, 248-582-9300, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat.-Sun. Brunch Sun./ $19 / Meeting Room Capacity: N/A / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Several tables available in the quieter areas of the restaurant. BISTRO 82 One of the only destination dining locations in downtown Royal Oak, their menu features French onion soup dumplings, steak frites, daily selection of oysters and cinnamon sugar coated beignet. 401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak, 248-542-0082, D Tues.-Sun. Brunch Sun. / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 18/ Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table seven, a round table that seats up to eight people. HAMLIN CORNER Billed as a “sophisticated sports bar,” Hamlin Corner offers 50 beers on draught, pizza, sandwiches, and more. 386 N. Main St., Royal Oak, 248-556-5428, L&D Daily / $12 / Meeting Room Capacity: Varies with setup / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Choose any table with available VIP service. SOUTHFIELD BACCO RISTORANTE Classic Italian cuisine meets contemporary ambiance. The restaurant boasts an impressive selection of authentic Italian dishes made with fresh ingredients. 29410 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield, 248-356-6600, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat. / $38 / Meeting Room Capacity: 65 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: 40 and 44. Private rooms are also available upon requested. MERIWETHER’S The high ceilings and stained glass, along with dark-stained wood, nicely accentuate the restaurant that serves a variety of fresh fish dishes. 25485 Telegraph Rd., Southfield, 248-358-1310, L Mon.-Sun., D Daily / $25 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Private rooms. STERLING HEIGHTS ANDIAMO STERLING HEIGHTS A sister location of the popular local franchise, this airy and private location specializes in everything Italian, offering a range of traditional dishes such as ravioli and lasagna, along with premium cuts of beef. 14425 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights, 586-532-8800, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat.-Sun. / $24 / Meeting Room Capacity: 100 / Valet / Best Table: The restaurant will accommodate any seating request. JOE BOLOGNA’S TRATTORIA This restaurant gives off a homey Italian atmosphere, with family photos and paintings of the Italian countryside decorating the walls, and excels at providing fresh cuisine. 2135 17 Mile, Sterling Heights, 586-939-5700, L Tues.-Fri., D Daily / $20 / Meeting Room Capacity: 62 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 36 is upstairs in the balcony and seats four people. TAYLOR PETE’S PLACE Good food and fresh service has been the motto for the past 30 years. A new addition has taken the motto a step further to include 40 draft beers, 26 of which are Michigan craft beers. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, pasta, and more. 12245 Telegraph Rd., Taylor, 734-374-0088, B, L&D Daily. / $11 / Meeting Room Capacity: 40 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A large high-top table seats up to 10 people and is highly requested by larger parties. TROY THE CAPITAL GRILLE Located at Somerset North in Troy, the Capital Grille offers prime steaks and seafood, accompanied by an extensive wine list. 2800 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, 248-649-5300, L Mon.-Sat. D Daily / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 50 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 64 is the most secluded table and 61 is great for romantic occasions such as anniversaries and engagements. MCCORMICK & SCHMICK’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT They bring in fresh lake and ocean fish each day and prepare it to order, whether it is cooked simply or accentuated with sauces. 2850 Coolidge Hwy., Troy, 248-637-6400, L&D Daily / $22 / Meeting Room Capacity: 42 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A secluded, semi-private dining room with a window. MON JIN LAU Offers a cuisine infused with Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese influences, a lengthy sushi list, and a lively atmosphere. 1515 E. Maple, Troy, 248-689-2332, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $15 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The patio is great when the weather is cooperative, for good lighting and extra space. MORTON’S STEAKHOUSE Offers an intimate setting of lush wood tones and unique caricatures — as close to an Old World steak and seafood club setting as you get and famous for its large portions. 888 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, 248-404-9845, D Daily / $45 / Meeting Room Capacity: 88 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Booth 70 is a requested table for a party of two, pushed against a brick wall and slightly hidden for privacy. Table 51 is highly requested for a party of eight. The round table encourages interaction between guests. OCEAN PRIME This contemporary version of an American supper club is an award-winning steakhouse that offers prime beef and seafood on its made-from-scratch menu. 2915 Coolidge Hwy., Troy, 248-458-0500, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $38 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 10 is highly requested for a party of eight. An additional all glass room seats 8 people. RUTH’S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE With more than 40 years of rich history, Ruth’s Chris boasts an extensive offering of steak and seafood and an award-winning wine list. 755 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, 248-269-8424, D Daily / $40 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 50, a special round table that accommodates 10. TRÉ MONTI A seemingly private restaurant along Big Beaver Road, the restaurant offers warm, casual décor with a lengthy wine list and Italian cuisine a French and Asian infusion. 1695 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, 248-680-1100, D Tues-Sat. / $35 / Meeting Room Capacity: 120 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table 201 and 205. UTICA FILIPPA’S WINE BARREL A tradition in dining excellence for more than 40 years, Filippa’s offers quality steaks and seafood, but the hand-rubbed, sweet-sauced ribs are a favorite. 45125 Mound Rd., Utica, 586-254-1311, L&D Daily / $18 / Meeting Room Capacity: 120 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Table five is placed in a corner by a window, and faces the main dining room. Table 91 faces the bar and is near the bulk counter. With the terrace to the right, this is a great option for guests looking for a serene setting. WARREN ANDIAMO RISTORANTE The flagship location of a bustling Italian franchise, Andiamo Ristorante features cuts of premium beef and seafood, table side Caesar salad, cordial, and dessert carts. 7096 E. 14 Mile, Warren, 586-268-3200, L&D Mon.-Fri. D Sat.-Sun. / $24 / Meeting Room Capacity: 750 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Tables in the main or west part of the restaurant allow diners privacy while they enjoy the Italian restaurant’s ambiance. WEST BLOOMFIELD PRIME29 STEAKHOUSE A contemporary steakhouse, featuring prime cuts of seafood and beef aged for 29 days. The 24 oz. bone-in rib-eye is a restaurant specialty. 6545 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield, 248-737-7463, D Daily / $30 / Meeting Room Capacity: 229 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: A table inside of a glass portioned room adjacent to the main dining area is one of the most requested spaces. WINDSOR ENZO’S TRATTORIA A casual, home-style trattoria offering a simplistic approach to fine Italian dining, with a new menu, enzos.ca, that includes pizza, pasta, and more. 1063 Erie St. East, Windsor, 519-254-6213, D Tue.-Sun. / $15 / Meeting Room Capacity: 90 / Wi-Fi / Best Table: There is a secluded VIP table, available upon request. ZINGARA FINE TRATTORIA Contemporary dining with a rustic Italian flare. Pina Maceroni moved to Windsor’s “Little Italy” to offer authentic cuisine. 769 Erie St. East, Windsor, 519-258-7555, L Mon.-Fri. D Daily / $23 / Meeting Room Capacity: 60 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: Private rooms available upon request. The patio seating is also very popular. WYANDOTTE PORTOFINO A landmark for 30 years, the restaurant features authentic Italian cuisine including seafood, pastas, and authentic Italian desserts. 3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte, 734-281-6700, L&D Daily / $18 / Meeting Room Capacity: 200 / Valet / Wi-Fi / Best Table: The August Room seats up to 18 people.

Don't Miss Specials October 13th, 2016

Don't Miss Specials

DON’T MISS SPECIALS There’s a handful of fantastic new specials on the menu at Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 (401 S. Lafayette Ave.) just in time for fall. Executive Chef Derik Watson has revamped some guest favorites with seasonal flavors that pair perfectly with its ever-growing wine program.

DON’T MISS SPECIALS There’s a handful of fantastic new specials on the menu at Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 (401 S. Lafayette Ave.) just in time for fall. Executive Chef Derik Watson has revamped some guest favorites with seasonal flavors that pair perfectly with its ever-growing wine program. How he made the time to invent these amazing new dishes I’ll never know, as Derik is also now serving as the executive chef at AFB Hospital Group’s new sister restaurant, The Morrie. Hitting the menu is a new carrot salad, which features roasted carrots with a hickory-smoke vinaigrette, buttermilk pudding and a dehydrated pickled shallot — the dish is both vegetarian and gluten-free. The Scottish salmon is now paired with a vanilla beet puree, baby turnips, baby beets, frisee and shishito peppers. One of my favorite dishes is their roasted cobia, which, for the season, is paired with a phenomenal butternut parmesan risotto, edamame, maitake mushrooms and baby kale. Finally, don’t miss the sea scallop served with a chestnut puree, radicchio, apple, salisfy, cranberry coulis and white chocolate. Enjoy any (or better yet all) of these truly elegant dishes on a Wednesday night with any bottle of wine regularly priced at $100 or less for half-off. Its $25 filet and cabernet pairing every Tuesday is also a total steal for the price, and the steak is absolutely to die for.

Bistro 82 Goes Seasonal October 13, 2016

Crain's Detroit Business

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak introduced several new menu items for fall. Executive Chef Derik Watson, who is also the executive chef of AFB Hospitality Group's new sister restaurant, The Morrie in Royal Oak, has revamped several guest favorites with seasonal flavors

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak introduced several new menu items for fall. Executive Chef Derik Watson, who is also the executive chef of AFB Hospitality Group's new sister restaurant, The Morrie in Royal Oak, has revamped several guest favorites with seasonal flavors, including: carrot salad with roasted carrots, hickory-smoke vinaigrette, buttermilk pudding, dehydrated pickled shallot Scottish salmon with vanilla beet purée, baby turnips, baby beets, friseé, shishito peppers roasted cobia with butternut parmesan risotto, edamame, maitake mushrooms, baby kale sea scallop with chestnut puree, radicchio, apple, salsify, cranberry coulis, white chocolate Bistro 82 is at 401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak.

Beyond Fine Cuisine October 6, 2016

Seen Magazine

We decided to visit Bistro 82 in Royal Oak with a couple of friends for dinner on a Sunday evening. The sophisticated decor was completed in a grey, black and white color palette with a contemporary wall painting by artist Sam Fridman of Brooklyn, New York, projecting rich color into the space.

We decided to visit Bistro 82 in Royal Oak with a couple of friends for dinner on a Sunday evening. Th e sophisticated decor was completed in a grey, black and white color palette with a contemporary wall painting by artist Sam Friedman of Brooklyn, New York, projecting rich color into the space. Several French glass doors opened to the street, lending a light, airy feeling to the room. Our server handed us an iPad with the extensive menu and bar off erings. Th e tablet presentation off ered helpful photos of the items to view before ordering. Our appetizer courses included the French onion soup, which consisted of dumplings made with cheddar, caramelized onion and Poet Oatmeal stout. If you are expecting a bowl of French onion soup, forget it; this dish is served with the dumplings portioned into separate pockets in the dish, then covered with cheese and baked. It was an unexpected and delicious appetizer that was easy to share with others at the table. Next we savored a specially prepared orange caulifl ower dish made with sesame, ginger, orange marmalade, mirepoix and cashews. I’ve never met a caulifl ower I liked, but the fl avor and seasonings of this dish made me a convert. Th e jumbo shrimp cocktail that followed tasted as though the shrimp were just harvested from a casting net. Salad and soup courses included lobster bisque and watermelon salad with compressed watermelon, whipped feta, toasted pistachios, white balsamic and cucumber herb sorbet. Another guest shared her arugula salad with pear, Parmesan cheese and walnuts dressed with roasted garlic vinaigrette; both salads were “must haves.” I ordered the steak frites, a perfectly prepared 10-ounce reserve New York strip with pommes frites, béarnaise sauce and maître butter. You don’t need to visit a steak house to taste tender meat with the perfect sauce accompaniment because this was as good or better than I’ve eaten in such establishments. One guest ordered the 8-once filet mignon aupiovre steak selection served with truffl e potato espuma, mushroom duxelles and broccolini. The truffle potato espuma accompaniment was a rare experience of the “foams” or thermal whips that have become a part of the molecular gastronomy technique. It added fl avor without changing the substance and defi ed description. Th e seafood cioppino included scallops, king crab, mussels, clams and shrimp in a saff ron shellfi sh broth with a touch of cumin. The freshness of the ingredients combined with the saff ron broth was simply brilliant. We finalized the evening with a selection of desserts, including blueberry cheesecake, baked apple crisp, chocolate raspberry moose and cinnamon sugar beignets. One was better than the other. Owner Aaron Belen, Cranbrook alum, opened Bistro 82 and assembled a top-notch professional team to introduce his French restaurant to RoyalOak. Th e front of the Bistro is under the direction of GM Matthew Hollander, a rising star on the dinning scene and Level 1 certifi ed sommelier. Executive Chef Derik Watson, who is well known for turning out some of the best cuisine in Michigan, is taking Bistro 82 to a culinary perspective that’s beyond what’s happening on Main Street. His forward thinking and current knowledge of the food scene will ensure Bistro 82 remains a leader in fine dining establishments. At the end of the evening one of my guests remarked, “Th is was the best food I’ve eaten all year.” NS

Chefs’ DelightAugust 25, 2016

Jewish News

Join famous chefs in event to benefit Friendship Circle.

On Monday, Sept. 19, Chefs Reva Constantine (Great Lakes Culinary Center), Derik Watson (Bistro 82) and Sarah Welch (Republic Tavern) will compete in an exciting culinary battle that will test their cooking creativity and skills. Like the television show MasterChef, these chefs will be presented with an assortment of ingredients and quick-fire challenges. Michelle Bommarito, a local accomplished chef and TV/radio personality, will emcee. All proceeds benefit the Friendship Circle, which provides programs and services to individuals with special needs. The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Friendship Circle’s Soul Center and Soul Cafe, an art gallery and restaurant in West Bloomfield staffed by young adults with special needs. Tickets are $75. In addition to the competition, guests will enjoy desserts, interactive cooking demonstrations, question-and-answer sessions with the guest chefs as well as a silent auction. Those making a donation of $200 or more will serve as sous chefs and assist the chefs during the competition. Audience members will also bid on the opportunity to taste the dishes and select the winner. The event is hosted by Jennifer Lovy, parent of a 10-year-old with autism who has been participating in Friendship Circle programs since age 2. The Lovy family has raised approximately $50,000 for the organization out of gratitude for the support and services it provides to local families living with a child with special needs. Space is limited. Register online at friendshipcircle.org/masterchef. Event sponsors are Event Bliss, Miller Canfield and Masserman Photography. *

Bistro 82's orange cauliflower recipeAugust 18, 2016

Fox 2 Detroit

(WJBK) - This cauliflower recipe comes courtesy of Sous Chef Alex Dettwyler from Bistro 82. Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is located at 401 S. Lafayette Avenue. They have happy hour every Thursday from 4 p.m. to close.

POSTED:AUG 18 2016 01:33PM EDT UPDATED:AUG 18 2016 01:33PM EDT Video Link http://www.fox2detroit.com/good-day/cooking-school-sponsored-by-andiamo/193411683-story (WJBK) - This cauliflower recipe comes courtesy of Sous Chef Alex Dettwyler from Bistro 82. Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is located at 401 S. Lafayette Avenue. They have happy hour every Thursday from 4 p.m. to close. You can get more information at www.bistro82.com. ORANGE CAULIFLOWER Batter: 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup corn starch 1 1/2 cups cold water Bistro 82's orange cauliflower recipe Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Sauce: 2 cups orange marmalade 1/4 cup sambal chili paste 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. Ingredients: 2T sesame oil 1t minced ginger 1t minced garlic 1t minced shallot 2T brunoise mirepoix 2T brunoise red bell pepper 3T toasted cashew halves 1t white sesame seeds 1t minced parsley 8oz cauliflower florets Salt to taste Dredge cauliflower florets in the batter mixture, remove with a slotted spoon and allow the majority of the batter to drip off. Once the cauliflower is thinly coated in batter deep-fry it at 350F until crispy and just cooked through, about 2.5 minutes. Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, when warm add sesame oil, ginger, garlic, shallot, mirepoix, and red pepper. Sauté briefly until vegetables are just softened. Add 1/2 cup of sauce mixture, cashews, and sesame seeds. Allow the sauce to boil for a few seconds, then add the fried cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower in the sauce until the sauce is thickened and the cauliflower is evenly coated, this will take about one minute. Add parsley and salt to taste. Serve while very hot.

Royal Oak's soon-to-open Morrie restaurant is the latest from Bistro 82's Aaron Belen July 27, 2016

Metro Times

The site of the Morrie restaurant is busy with construction in advance of a planned late August opening, which will introduce visitors to developer Aaron Belen’s vision of casual dining in downtown Royal Oak.

The site of the Morrie restaurant is busy with construction in advance of a planned late August opening, which will introduce visitors to developer Aaron Belen’s vision of casual dining in downtown Royal Oak. The Bloomfield Hills resident and Cranbrook grad opened Bistro 82 — and nightclub Sabrage upstairs — at Lafayette and Fourth in February 2014. This year, the French restaurant was named by Metro Times readers as the Best Restaurant in Oakland County. The finishing touches are being put on the Morrie in a 8,000-square-foot space on Main Street at Sixth, with Birmingham architect Kevin Biddison leading the design, Royal Oak-based Ronnisch Construction Group completing the build-out, and executive chef Derik Watson in charge of the menu. Watson’s resume includes stops at Iridescence, Tribute, and the Rugby Grille. click to enlarge Aaron Belen stands among the wine racks at Bistro 82. - PHOTO BY VAUGHN GURGANIAN Photo by Vaughn Gurganian Aaron Belen stands among the wine racks at Bistro 82. “We want to go beyond what anyone’s doing on Main Street from a culinary perspective,” Belen says. “We’re going for any and everybody who wants great value and service.” The menu at the Morrie focuses on eclectic roadhouse cuisine, Belen says, and the restaurant will feature live music, with a stage built into the restaurant’s design. The eatery’s namesake is Belen’s late grandfather, who Belen calls his mentor and best friend. The restaurant revives the former Franklin Fine Wine shop space, which had sat vacant for 2 1/2 years. After the Morrie opens, AFB Hospitality will have 150 full- and part-time employees. During an interview at Bistro 82, Belen says there was a gap in Oakland County dining options that the restaurant fills, and it’s become a destination as a result. “A lot of people who come to Bistro 82 wouldn’t otherwise come to Royal Oak.” AFB Hospitality Group — the company is named after Belen’s initials — is investing in Royal Oak for the long haul, Belen says. A graduate of the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford, the 33-year-old found his way into the hospitality industry after organizing events and parties in college. “This is about being a business in 25 years,” says Belen, who describes his development strategy as “tortoise and not the hare.” “We’re going to show people that Royal Oak is a real culinary scene. You don’t have to go downtown to feel like you’re in a real city.” Belen says he urges other developers to come to Royal Oak. “I want 20 more guys like me.”

Bistro 82 names new GMMay 26th, 2016

Crain's Detroit Business

AFB Hospitality Group announced the promotion of Matthew Hollander to general manager of the award-winning Bistro 82 in Royal Oak.

AFB Hospitality Group announced the promotion of Matthew Hollander to general manager of the award-winning Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. "Matthew has been with our company since its inception, and was instrumental in the development of the Bistro 82 concept," said Scott Sadoff, director of operations at AFB Hospitality Group. "We've watched Matthew grow into an exceptional hospitality pro, consistently exceeding guests' expectations and demonstrating strong leadership skills that, along with his passion for the industry and strong work ethic, has encouraged and supported all of our associates. "In this new role, Matthew will oversee the day-to-day operations of Bistro 82, and he will be the driving force behind the continued success of this award-winning restaurant." Bistro 82 is at 401 S. Lafayette Ave. in Royal Oak.

Get Ready For The MorrieMay 26th, 2016

Detroit Jewish News

The Morrie, an exciting new restaurant-bar-music venue rising on Main at Sixth streets in Royal Oak, is AFB Hospitality Group President Aaron Fenkell Belen’s homage to his beloved maternal grandfather. The venue is intended to be contemporary yet comfortable for everyone and offer a different experience on every visit.

The Morrie, an exciting new restaurant-bar-music venue rising on Main at Sixth streets in Royal Oak, is AFB Hospitality Group President Aaron Fenkell Belen’s homage to his beloved maternal grandfather. The venue is intended to be contemporary yet comfortable for everyone and offer a different experience on every visit. Named for the late bank chairman and philanthropist Morris “Morrie” Fenkell, The Morrie is “well-underway,” said Belen, anticipating the opening for mid-summer. The Morrie, his company’s second Royal Oak entertainment venture, will be one of the biggest building projects in the city at 7,400 square feet and nearly $4 million in total investment. Such commitment to Royal Oak helped earn Belen, 33, the honor of being named the city’s 2015 Businessman of the Year. AFB Hospitality Group, founded 3½ years ago with business offices in Berkley, “is built on doing things in the right way,” said Belen, who was raised in West Bloomfield. “We set our bar high enough to be Midwestern in feeling and values.” A carefully thought-out venue nearly two years in the planning, the one-story Morrie will offer roadhouse-style dining for up to 240 “at a very affordable price point,” Belen said, while still offering the impeccable attention to fresh ingredients, service and decor that distinguish the company’s original foray into Royal Oak — the award-winning Bistro 82 restaurant and Sabrage nightclub. Open since February 2014, Bistro 82 was an instant hit, chosen Best New Restaurant in that year’s Jewish News’ “Best of Michigan” readers’ poll and continuing to be honored by other local media. Simply put, Belen and his team have succeeded in creating the “cool, chic dining and nightlife experience” he envisioned at the corner of Lafayette at Fourth streets. Diners at Bistro 82 can enjoy a gourmet dinner before heading upstairs to “dance to a world-renowned DJ that we’ve flown in for the night,” Belen said. Inside Bistro 82, two walls opposite the windows feature a glowing onyx bar and a huge, multi-colored abstract by artist Sam Friedman. Soft-touch, faux leather for seating in ivory also brightens the gray, contemporary dining room. Black chairs and dark gray tables left bare provide a contrast to the parade of white china. Spanish porcelain tiles cover floors. The vibe is enhanced by an unobtrusive, Harman-designed sound system. The same attention to design will be evident at The Morrie, which has employed noted Birmingham architect Kevin Biddison and Ronnisch Construction of Royal Oak. “We’re doing things the right way with talent across the board,” said Scott Sadoff, director of operations for AFB Hospitality Group. The Morrie will feature 23-foot high ceilings with exposed ductwork, 14 TV screens, roll-up garage doors, small street-side patio, eight large tables that accommodate six-eight guests and a stone-and-granite bar top with wood liner, also found on high and low tabletops. Visible from all vantage points of the spacious room will be a center stage featuring musical performers. At different times guests can enjoy rock bands, jazz, blues and country. “We will offer every feature people could want” in entertainment, said Belen, noting the inclusion of a dance floor and state-of-the art “unbelievable” acoustics at The Morrie. “Restaurant-bar science helps separate us from others in the market,” he said, promising that “the music will sound great and yet allow guests to hear each other speak.” The Morrie personality will be different from Bistro 82, which tends to attract an older, more sophisticated crowd. “We will cater to a different demographic,” Belen said. “We’ll be incredibly food-, service- and pricefocused. You could come in to eat seven days a week.” The prime, high-visibility location on Main Street, convenient for foot traffic, will make The Morrie “a place where the Royal Oak community can pop up every day — families as well as couples and individuals,” said Sadoff. The venue also includes a dedicated parking lot. Derik Watson, the company’s notable executive chef, is developing a menu of eclectic, neighborhood-style, “wonderful bar food” for The Morrie, Belen said. Guests can look forward to large entree salads, and burgers and sandwiches placed inside house-made, freshly baked buns. “We’ve imported an Italian artisan stone bread oven and will use a small smoker for meats and other entrees,” Watson said. Helping the new enterprise to run smoothly from the start is its close proximity to Bistro 82. Belen said that synergy will allow for coordinated food buying, and “we’ll have every piece of kitchen equipment necessary to make any kind of food in the two kitchens.” He can’t say enough good things about the talent and dedication of his young and growing AFB Hospitality Group, which will soon employ between 140-165 full and part-time associates. Content to keep his properties in Royal Oak, “where we’ve planted a flag,” Belen is confident “we know the pulse of the community, and we’ll be able to back up our claims of being at the top of the culinary food chain.” Belen looks forward to his company attracting “a whole new kind of guest” with the addition of The Morrie. It will be available for corporate functions, fundraisers, political events and private parties, in addition to regular guest visits to enjoy dining, drinking, and listening or dancing to live music. It’s varied and affordable entertainment all under one roof. “At The Morrie, you can go and have fun at great value,” said Belen.

Bistro 82 named Best Oakland County RestaurantApril 26, 2016

Fox 2 News

Chef Derik Watson and Scott Sadoff, Bistro 82's Director of Operations, joined us on The Nine to tell us more about the restaurant.

(WJBK) - Metro Times' biggest and most anticipated issue of the year hits newsstands this week. It names Bistro 82 Best Oakland County Restaurant. Chef Derik Watson and Scott Sadoff, Bistro 82's Director of Operations, joined us on The Nine to tell us more about the restaurant, and show us how to prepare one of their dishes. You can find their filet mignon recipe below. Bistro 82 is on Lafayette Avenue in Royal Oak. For more information on the restaurant, visit www.bistro82.com.

Grapevine: TV actor James Wolk and Bistro 82 help FlintFebruary 8, 2016

The Detroit News

Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 will donate 100 percent of all tips received Thursday to the United Way of Genesee County’s Flint Water Fund. The fine dining restaurant’s parent company AFB Hospitality Group will match the donations dollar for dollar.

Bistro 82 and actor James Wolk to aid Flint Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 will donate 100 percent of all tips received Thursday to the United Way of Genesee County’s Flint Water Fund. The fine dining restaurant’s parent company AFB Hospitality Group will match the donations dollar for dollar. “Zoo” and “Mad Men” actor James Wolk, a Michigan native and a regular of Bistro 82, will also pitch in and will match a percentage of the donations. “What happened in Flint is a tragedy,” said Wolk in a press release Monday. “I really admire what the Bistro 82 team has chocen to do for their anniversary, and I’m proud to help support the relief efforts in my home state.” Bistro 82 is at 401 S. Lafayette. Call (248) 542-0082 for reservations. Dead & Company take Grateful Dead songs on the road Dead & Company, the reconstituted version of the Grateful Dead, is alive and well and heading to DTE Energy Music Theatre. The group — which pairs Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir with singer and guitarist John Mayer; Allman Brothers’ bassist Oteil Burbridge and “Fare Thee Well” and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti — will perform at DTE on July 7, promoters announced Monday. Tickets, $36-$145.50, go on sale through Ticketmaster at 10 a.m. Friday, with pre-sales beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The DTE date is part of a five-week summer trek that kicks off June 10 in Charlotte and wraps July 16 in Boston. The group is also headlining this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The band’s concerts will see them performing two sets of Grateful Dead songs. Dead & Company made its debut in October 2015, following the Grateful Dead’s successful series of “Fare Thee Well” concerts in summer 2015. Mo Pop returns to Detroit’s West Riverside Park M83, Haim and G-Eazy lead the lineup for this year’s Mo Pop festival, July 23 and 24 at Detroit’s West Riverside Park. Father John Misty, the Head and the Heart, Matt and Kim, Glass Animals, Twin Peaks, BØRNS, Mac DeMarco, Shakey Graves, Fidlar and Raury are also on the lineup, as are Tunde Olaniran, Alex G, Quilt, the Greeting Committee, Coast Modern, Lewis Del Mar, Panama Wedding, Nothing But Thieves, Banners and the Strumbellas. Pre-sale tickets for the festival, $89.50, are on sale now through the event’s website, mopopfestival.com. General tickets go on sale for $109.50 at midnight Feb. 16, with VIP tickets available for $249. Special four-packs of tickets are available for $299 through the presale and $379 during the general on sale. This marks Mo Pop’s fourth year and second at Detroit’s West Riverside Park. Last year’s festival included performances by Modest Mouse, Passion Pit and Brandon Flowers, as well as a massive rainstorm that sent fans scrambling for shelter and briefly shut down the festival. Prior to its debut at West Riverside Park, Mo Pop was held at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights in 2013 and 2014. Mo Pop will mark the Metro Detroit debut of Haim, the L.A. trio of sisters who skipped the market entirely during the extensive touring behind their 2013 debut album, “Days are Gone.”

DETROIT CHEFS WEIGH IN ON CULINARY TRENDS FOR 2016January 12th, 2016

Foodable

Will 2016 be the year we finally bid farewell to kale salads and bacon on everything? What will be the next bacon and kale? Detroit culinary experts — Derik Watson, executive chef at Bistro 82;

Will 2016 be the year we finally bid farewell to kale salads and bacon on everything? What will be the next bacon and kale? Detroit culinary experts — Derik Watson, executive chef at Bistro 82; Luciano DelSignore, chef and owner at Bacco Ristorante and Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina; Nick Janutol, executive chef at Forest; TJ Newington, chef at Terry’s Terrace; and Jared Chorney, food and beverage director at The Townsend Hotel, home to the Rugby Grille — share what’s going to be hot this year in the food world and what’s on the way out. Foodable: What do you predict as the top culinary trends of 2016 and why? Watson: Culinary trends for 2016 I believe will include lighter fare, a stronger focus on vegetables. Also street food. Primarily Korean and southeast Asian. Fermentation is a technique that is becoming more popular due to the Noma movement. Prices are rising at such a rate that the need to source other options such as vegetables is becoming necessary in order to keep costs in line. Also just the awareness of the health benefits as opposed to the meat-and-potato diet. Fermentation is opening an entirely new pantry of flavors that are allowing for new, innovative dishes and flavors. DelSignore: Non-GMO & nutrition. I think people are getting tired of super fatty foods and are concentrating on healthier food options. Veggies will be making more of a presence on menus. More focus will be put on non-GMO ingredients. Organic will still have importance, but only if it's non-GMO first. Fermented foods. I think people will start paying attention to the health benefits of fermenting vegetables. Sugars and carbohydrates are broken down by healthy bacteria, making it easier for the body to digest and offering probiotics. More pop-ups! With the increasing number of young chefs coming to the market, I think pop-ups are a way for them to showcase themselves without making a huge investment and/or finding investors for their own bricks and mortar. Ancient and heirloom grains. I think these are going to start showing up in bread techniques, center of the plate options, and fold into a lot of vegetarian cooking. Healthier local fast food options. Burgers, Middle Eastern, pizza and sausages will be turning up in small, one-off locations. House-made condiments — everything from ketchup, mustard, Sriracha to hot sauces and more. Janutol: I predict the top culinary trend of 2016 to be a greater embrace of Asian cuisine and flavors. Newington: Locally sourced food, new meat cuts, introducing different ethnic cuisines, upscale casual atmosphere, and specialty brunch. Chorney: I had a conversation with our Rugby Grille Chef de Cuisine Damian Yopek, and he feels that one of the big trends you will see going into 2016 is returning to simple French cuisine. Chefs are looking to alternate proteins and underutilized cuts. Pictured above: lamb loin. CHEFS ARE LOOKING TO ALTERNATE PROTEINS AND UNDERUTILIZED CUTS. PICTURED ABOVE: LAMB LOIN. Foodable: What about ingredients? Watson: Local produce, root vegetables, and mushrooms replacing meat. I think cauliflower and grains will remain popular. Korean ingredients like gochujang, fermented chili pastes and chilis will be used more often. DelSignore: Healthy local greens like carrot tops, beet greens, dandelion, collards, mustard, seaweed. Grains, einkorn, emmer, amaranth, sorghum, black barley, blue corn, and already widely used quinoa and farro will remain. Grass-fed meat, goat, sheep heritage hogs. Janutol: In particular, Japanese ingredients and techniques. I love blending Italian and Japanese flavors. Newington: Cuts of meat that were previously unpopular: Coulotte steak, pork belly (roasted, not cured into bacon), chicken thighs. And ethnic spices. With costs of running restaurants rising, chefs are looking to use different cuts of meat and making them unique and delicious. Chorney: A few classic ingredients chef Yopek is focusing on are lamb and European Turbot. Turbot is highly prized as a food fish, especially in France for its delicate flavor. It has a bright white flesh that retains this appearance when cooked. In the Rugby Grille, we are featuring this lovely fish with an oyster and savoy cabbage choucroute, sunchoke puree, and topped with caviar. We are also featuring a classic roasted lamb loin with broccoli puree, mushrooms, pearl onion confit, and a foie gras jus. Foodable: Will you be embracing these trends/ingredients in your restaurant and if so, how? Watson: No more than currently. I'm not going out of the way to follow a trend. There is some Korean influence with a few of the dishes at the new concept but I've always been a fan of those flavors and that's what I enjoy eating. DelSignore: We will continue to support the local farming community to offer healthy food choices and promote more plant-based plate options. Janutol: Umami rich pastas, simplistic fish dishes. Fermented fish sauces and the like. Newington: For the most part, we will continue to push our upscale, casual atmosphere. As far as the menu goes, we recently put pork belly on a few items and everyone loves it. The authentic ethnic cuisine will be popular, but not with us. I’m always bringing in new steak cuts, one of them being the Wagyu top sirloin, which has now made it on our menu. We will also continue to bring new brunch items — my favorite being different variations of the classic Benedict. Right now, we are serving a filet mignon Benedict with a cajun hollandaise. I look to put a few different variations of the Benedict in the new year. Foodable: What is on the way out in 2016? Watson: Bacon or pickled everything is on its way out. Sliders will make way for an international dumpling movement, sort of moving back to the street food thing. I believe the artisan doughnut has officially kicked the cupcake off the block as well. DelSignore: Poutine, duck fat, processed meats, fast food giants, deviled eggs, Brussels sprouts. Janutol: I think braised pork belly has finally had its day. Newington: Gluten-free, vegetarian entrees, quinoa.

2016 Dining Guide January 2016

Hour Magazine

For those looking to enjoy the outdoors without completely hanging out in the sun, check out the sleek BISTRO 82 (Royal Oak), where seats by floor-to-ceiling picture win- dows that open completely allow you to enjoy a refreshing breeze

Midwestern winters TOWNHOUSE BISTRO (Birmingham) might not allow us to has been voted by Hour Detroit readers as dine outside all year the best deck/outdoor seating in the sub- long like our friends urbs. Here you’ll find red umbrellas, trendy down south or on the restaurant-goers, and the signature burger West coast, but us Michiganders sure know they are known for. If you’re headed down- how to enjoy the good weather while we can. Here are just a handful of the area’s best restaurants to enjoy a meal outdoors. town, check out the restaurant’s newest addition, TOWNHOUSE DETROIT, located at One Detroit Center. After opening just last summer, it’s quickly become one of the city’s most popular restaurants largely because of the stunning 3,000-square-foot glass atrium with a retractable roof and sidewalls. You’ll also find a live wall made of ferns and moss, real trees, and beautiful décor that make the space a place you can’t miss. BIG ROCK CHOPHOUSE boasts having the most historic and largest patio in Birmingham. Here you’ll find a variety of outdoor gazebos and patios to host small or large parties. Hour Detroit readers have often pegged the courtyard patio at LA DOLCE VITA (Detroit) as the best deck/outdoor seating in the city. Its space is dominated by floral gardens and lush greenery, with old-fashioned lampposts and checkered tablecloths that will transport you to Italy for brunch or dinner. Local favorite EL BARZON RESTAURANTE (Detroit) gives you the choice of both upscale Mexican and Italian fare on the menu. White tablecloths and a stone waterfall are sure to put you in a roman- tic mood on their incredibly unique covered brick patio. In the heart of Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, enjoy American food with a French twist as you sit next to the fountain on the covered patio at FOUNTAIN BISTRO. This patio is perfect for people-watching in the middle of summer or winter, since heaters allow you to enjoy the outdoor space all year long. While the restaurant itself looks just like a castle, the spacious, elegant outdoor patio at TRE MONTI RISTORANTE (Troy) is just as beautiful. Surrounded by trees, a water foun- tain, and beautiful landscaping, this space is perfect for large events or date night. TOASTED OAK GRILL & MARKET (Novi) offers a more casual atmosphere with picnic tables just outside the Baronette Renaissance Hotel. Stay shaded under an umbrella or dine by torchlight in the evening. Enjoy the quaint downtown of Grosse Pointe on the patio at THE HILL SEAFOOD & CHOP HOUSE (Grosse Pointe Farms), where bright blue chairs and striped umbrellas cre- ate a classic dining experience. THE WHITNEY (Detroit) takes pride in creating a vibrant sanctuary with its beautiful, well-kept gardens located in the iconic man- sion’s backyard, ideal for an intimate dinner or extravagant celebration. Pair locally sourced menu items with a specialty cocktail at LOCAL KITCHEN & BAR (Ferndale) on one of their two patios — the open exterior or the covered interior featuring a fireplace. Soak in the vibe of downtown Royal Oak at TOM’S OYSTER BAR, where blue-and-white checked tablecloths keep a casual yet unique atmosphere. Right next door you’ll find ALE MARY’S (Royal Oak), known for its beer selec- tion and burger. The sidewalk patio seats extend into the dining room for an open-air feel. Savor some of the best Italian cuisine found in Michigan at BACCO RISTORANTE (Southfield). Their seasonal patio features live music all summer long. For a more laid-back experience, admire the colorful mural overlooking the patio at MERCURY BURGER BAR (Detroit) by day and bask under the hanging lights at night. “Drink now, repent later” at ST. CECE’S PUB in Corktown, where wooden picnic tables and metal patio furniture make for a relaxed experience perfect for corralling all your friends. Long, wooden tables and bright yellow umbrellas provide seating in the sun or shade at ATWATER IN THE PARK’S (Grosse Pointe Park) outdoor “biergarten.” What was once a church has been transformed into a popular bar, so sip on beer brewed onsite and enjoy tasty bites that appeal to all. Sip a glass of wine while overlooking the beautiful river and taking in views of the Canadian skyline on the patio of the upscale ANDIAMO in downtown Detroit. Andiamo also has a number of other locations outside the city with patios to enjoy. Heading to downtown Northville? Stroll along Main Street and choose from a host of quaint patios and cuisine including: LUCY AND THE WOLF, GENITTI’S HOLE-IN-THE- WALL, EDWARD’S CAFÉ AND CATERER, TABLE 5, BRICKS OF NORTHVILLE, or GARAGE GRILL AND FUEL BAR. For those looking to enjoy the outdoors without completely hanging out in the sun, check out the sleek BISTRO 82 (Royal Oak), where seats by floor-to-ceiling picture win- dows that open completely allow you to enjoy a refreshing breeze.

Taste This Tasting MenuNovember 19, 2015

Jewish News

When it comes to where to eat and what to order, I can be a little indecisive. Just ask my fiancee — there’s no question she dreads more than “What do you want to do for dinner?” There’s actually an app that lets you digitally flip a quarter and, candidly, we use it to make that decision more often than I should or would like to admit

When it comes to where to eat and what to order, I can be a little indecisive. Just ask my fiancee — there’s no question she dreads more than “What do you want to do for dinner?” There’s actually an app that lets you digitally flip a quarter and, candidly, we use it to make that decision more often than I should or would like to admit. Once we’ve settled on where we’re eating, to figure out what to eat, I always start a meal asking for the chef ’s recommendations. After all, he designed the menu; it’s a safe bet he knows what his team does best. To that end, one chef you can always trust to prepare a sensational meal is Derik Watson at Royal Oak’s Bistro 82. He’s not just a great guy, he’s also amazing at what he does; and I’ve had the chance to try some of his sensational tasting menus since the restaurant opened its doors last year. Apparently, owner Aaron F. Belen has realized those tasting menus are too good to limit to special events. Now you, too, can try a specially cultivated, five-course tasting menu available to guests every Wednesday night. The menu premiered last week at $50 per person, with a three-course wine pairing available for an additional $25. The meal starts with a grilled Chesapeake Bay oyster. Next come seared scallops and foie gras served alongside gnocchi and butternut squash. The third course is the phenomenal (trust me on this) roasted cobia with Parmesan risotto, followed by an Angus reserve flat iron steak with potatoes, peas and carrots. Finally, they top it all off with a pumpkin genoise, a light, Italian-style sponge cake with chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream. While this is a meal you won’t want to miss, you shouldn’t limit yourself to a Wednesday night. Bistro 82 serves an amazing dinner every night of the week and sensational Sunday brunch during the warmer months of the year. Whether you’ve never been or go every week, I guarantee Watson and his team always impress. SNACKS, PLEASE Hungry at work? Soon you might not have to hustle down to a busy cafeteria or nearby restaurant thanks to Troy-based 365 Retail Markets. The company has launched Verii, an in-office “snack station” designed for smaller office environments that is plied with food hand-selected for you. Able to offer more than your average vending machine, a designated point person orders snacks and refreshments on an Amazon-style marketplace and they’re shipped directly to you and made available for purchase through a mobile app just for your employees. Learn more at verii.com. SHORTS If you’re a fan of Beyond Juice and find yourself east of Woodward, don’t worry — the quickly growing Birmingham-based chain (which added a Southfield location on Evergreen earlier this year) will now keep hungry shoppers healthy with a 1,500-square-foot restaurant space on the first floor of the Somerset Collection North. Look for both dine-in and carryout options. Plans are in the works for another location in Eastern Market, though no timeline has been announced for that opening. Mandaloun Bistro in Bingham Farms (30100 Telegraph Road) celebrated its one-year anniversary last week. If you haven’t checked out the upscale Lebanese restaurant, don’t miss their world-class stuffed grape leaves, served a la carte at lunch or with lamb ribs at dinner. Turkey Blues: Expect to pay more this year if you haven’t already picked up your Thanksgiving turkey. A record outbreak of bird flu has prices up some 15-20 percent over last year in most states, which should average out to an extra $1.30 per pound. MAZEL TOV TO … Ashley Stoneman and David Murav on their engagement. Allie Singer and Blaine Hirsch on their engagement. Elyse Cantor and Daniel Rogna on their engagement. Evan Grossman and Brandon David on their marriage. Torre Shapiro and Steven Hakim on their marriage. Dr. Michael Abramsky on the birth of grandson Ari Micah Abramsky. Jeff Burmeister, named chief financial officer of PACE Southeast Michigan. New Bloomfield Hills Mayor Stuart Sherr, who took the city’s top post last week. And happy birthday to Larry Wolfe, Lauren Blitz, Jack Kramer, Michele Harris, Dan Barish, Matt Ran, Justin Jacobs, Steven Lewis, Alex King and Ely Tama. *

Cheers: Brunch bonanza event set for Rust Belt MarketNovember 11, 2015

The Detroit News

Wine & Dine at Bistro 82: This new Wednesday dining feature includes a fixed-price, five-course meal with three wine pairings. The feast starts with Chesapeake Bay oyster, followed by seared scallop and foie gras, roasted cobia (fish), flat iron steak and for dessert pumpkin genoise (sponge cake). Wednesday evenings. $75, $50 without wine. 401 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. (248) 542-0082.

restaurant has teamed up with Fox 2 Detroit reporter Roop Raj. Proceeds from the Legendary Roop Raj sandwich will benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank. The chicken sandwich has meat marinated in barbeque sauce and is served with shredded cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion. It makes its debut Friday and is available through the end of the year. Hard Rock Cafe, 45 Monroe in Detroit, is also selling Imagine There’s No Hunger merchandise, with partial proceeds benefiting WhyHunger, a global hunger-relief organization founded by Harry Chapin. New menus abound Crispy Asian ribs, hummus with spiced lamb and onion strings with peanut honey mustard are among some of the new menu items at Beau’s Grillery in Bloomfield Hills. Owned by chef Zack Sklar’s Peas & Carrots Hospitality group, Beau’s opened last summer. The updated menu additions also include tomato soup, Caesars salad, wedge salad and the Social Kale Salad — from Sklar’s other restaurant Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham. For more new food in Oakland County, check out Zeke’s Rock ‘n’ Roll BBQ’s revamped and expanded the menu. All sandwiches and salads can be ordered as wraps, and smoked meats — corned beef, burnt ends, rib tips, rib slabs, chicken, turkey and more — can be ordered a la carte. New bar-friendly food includes smoked salmon dip, spicy poutine and a po’boy made with corned beef burned ends. Zeke’s, 240 W. Nine Mile in Ferndale, is also offering to cook Thanksgiving dinner for you. Pick up a cold meal and heat it at home, or grab it hot and ready-to-eat on Thanksgiving morning. Get a 15-pound smoked turkey a la carte, $50, or with a full dinner including three sides for $99. mbaetens@detroitnews.com twitter.com/melodybaetens Food & beverage events Red Wagon Shoppe’s Holiday Wine Tasting at Tre Monti Restaurant: With locations in Troy and Rochester Hills, Red Wagon is well-stocked wine, beer and liquor store. It will host an evening featuring more than 100 wines, plus meats, cheeses, pasta and ice cream. 6-9 p.m. Thurs. $65. 1695 E. Big Beaver, Troy. (248) 404-9999 or (248) 852-9307 for tickets. “A Clockwork Orange” dinner at Yemans Street: Chef Brent Foster presents a multi-course meal inspired by dialogue from the cult film. For example the second course “angel’s trumpets” is angel hair nest with roasted trumpet mushrooms, smoked chicken, shaved Parmesan and basil oil. 7 p.m. Fri. $70. 2995 Yemans, Hamtramck. yemansstreet.com. Sip Savor Stomp at Royal Oak Farmers Market: More than 150 wines from around the world, plus cheese, chocolates and more to pair it with. 6:30-11 p.m. Sat. $45, $65 VIP. 316 E. 11 Mile, Royal Oak. sipsavorstomp.com The Oakwood Foundation’s 20th annual Wine for the Spirit at Henry Ford Museum: Sample nearly 80 wines from around the world, plus craft beer and food while strolling through the museum. There’s also a silent auction and music from the Rick Lieder Band. Cocktail attire required. 7 p.m. Sat. $175. 20900 Oakwood, Dearborn. (313) 586-4924. Tasting and drink pairings at El Barzon: A four-course meal, each paired with a signature craft cocktail. Wednesday the featured spirit is Cabresto tequila and on Dec. 3 it’s locally-made Our/Detroit vodka. Dinners start at 7:30 p.m. and cost $40 plus tax and tip. 3710 Junction, Detroit. (313) 894-2070. Wine & Dine at Bistro 82: This new Wednesday dining feature includes a fixed-price, five-course meal with three wine pairings. The feast starts with Chesapeake Bay oyster, followed by seared scallop and foie gras, roasted cobia (fish), flat iron steak and for dessert pumpkin genoise (sponge cake). Wednesday evenings. $75, $50 without wine. 401 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. (248) 542-0082. Discover the Art of Blending with Johnnie Walker at Stray Cat Lounge: A whiskey master will talk about blended whiskey while guests sample Johnnie Walker Black, Double Black, Gold, Platinium and Blue. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19. $50. 40813 Garfield, Clinton Township. (586) 741-8544. Made in Michigan Craft Beer and Wine Festival at Diesel Concert Lounge: Locally-made beverages, plus bands and 50/50 raffle. 7 p.m. Nov. 20. $30 in advance, $35 at the door. 33151 23 Mile, Chesterfield Township. (586) 725-2228. FestivALE at One-Eyed Betty’s: Christmas beer, comfort food and Americana music. Noon-midnight Nov. 21. $30 in advance. 175 W. Troy, Ferndale. (248) 808-6633. Thanksgiving Breakfast at Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille: This family friendly breakfast has a street side view of the America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as it marches down Woodward. The menu includes a full breakfast buffet for a flat rate of $85, $35 for kids. Mimosas and Bloody Marys will be available. 2203 Woodward, Detroit. Call (313) 471-3500 for reservations. Dark Saturday at HopCat Detroit: This Midtown beer bar will attempt to break the world record for most beers from a single brewery on tap when they run Dark Horse beers through all 130 of its lines. Upstairs in the live music room, there will be 30 varieties of the Marshall brewery’s Crooked Tree IPA. The previous record of 120 beers by one brewery on draft was set on the grand opening weekend of HopCat Detroit. 11 a.m. Nov. 28. 4265 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 769-8828. Wine Glass Seminar with Georg J. Riedel at the Reserve: Plum Market presents an evening with wine glass maker Georg J. Riedel. Tickets include champagne reception, wine tastings and Riedel glasses to take home. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1. $125. 245 S. Eaton, Birmingham. plummarket.com.

AARON BELEN, 32October, 10, 2015

Crain's Detroit Business

BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT: Realizing annual revenue of $3 million in just one year with the success of his restaurant, Bistro 82, and nightclub, Sabrage.

BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT: Realizing annual revenue of $3 million in just one year with the success of his restaurant, Bistro 82, and nightclub, Sabrage. CURRENT GOALS: Expand through launches of more restaurants and venues, acquisitions of commercial real estate in prime downtown areas. After graduation from college, Aaron Belen expected to work in commercial real estate. Things didn't go as planned and he ended up falling back on his party planning experience — something he did in college to earn extra money. After owning and operating restaurants and bars from 2009 to 2012, Belen had the idea of bringing a one-stop dining and nightclub experience to metro Detroit. He formed AFB Hospitality Group, which operates modern French restaurant Bistro 82 and the nightclub upstairs, Sabrage, in Royal Oak on the corner property that formerly housed Sangria and The Sky Club. The endeavor gave him the chance to merge his passions for real estate and hospitality. Belen also owns and manages AFB Investments, a developer of commercial property that owns 100,000 square feet of real estate. Belen invested $5 million in Bistro 82 and Sabrage, which opened in February 2014 and now employs more than 100 people. "I was approved at the age of 30 to do a very large development," Belen said. "I put my own money on the line." Bistro 82 has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Detroit Free Press Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant designation this year. On a more personal level, Belen was voted Businessman of the Year for 2015 by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce. Revenue for AFB Hospitality last year was $3.1 million, and this year's total is on track to reach $3.5 million. Belen expects to triple revenue in the next 24 months as he buys more properties and opens more venues. Additional revenue from his real estate holdings, which total six properties, yielded another $1.5 million last year. Belen recently closed on 511 S. Main St. in Royal Oak, the location of a former high-end liquor store. Belen's plans for it include a "cool modern American concept with live rock and country music, and food at a very approachable price point." The as-of-yet-unnamed establishment that will go into this 7,000-square-foot space is tentatively scheduled to open in spring 2016. "With all the hotel and office projects coming down the pipe, I'm bullish on Royal Oak," Belen said.

Royal Oak Citizens of the Year honored for giving backOctober 7th, 2015

Daily Tribune

Also being honored is Aaron Belen, owner of the acclaimed Bistro 82 restaurant, as business person of the year. His AFB Hospitality Group this year donated $10,000 to the Royal Oak Smart Park project and $5,100 to the Boys & Girls Club of South Oakland County.

After years of volunteering to help others in the community, two longtime Royal Oak residents have been named Citizens of the Year. The Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce is honoring Gary Briggs, the city’s school board president, and volunteer extraordinaire Lori Sust, a Royal Oak mother with a passion for schools, soccer and community. “Gary is very involved in education, the arts and keeping the arts alive in the community,” said Jennifer Clark, events director for the Chamber. “Lori is one of those quiet, behind-the-scenes orchestrators who doesn’t come out in the spotlight very often but does incredible work.” Also being honored is Aaron Belen, owner of the acclaimed Bistro 82 restaurant, as business person of the year. His AFB Hospitality Group this year donated $10,000 to the Royal Oak Smart Park project and $5,100 to the Boys & Girls Club of South Oakland County. Briggs and Sust are both lifelong Royal Oak residents. Briggs is president of the Royal Oak school board and was the prime mover behind the restoration effort of murals from the Great Depression that now hang at Royal Oak Middle School. Over the years he established a task force to combat drugs in schools, guided a controversial school consolidation plan to completion which saved Dondero High School as the new Middle School, and this month is the new president of the Royal Oak Kiwanis Club. “Gary is a caring and compassionate individual of remarkable knowledge and intelligence,” said Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin in a statement, adding that Briggs has focused on efforts in the best interests of students and the school district. “Royal Oak Schools are improving academically and stable financially. This is due in no small part to the leadership of Gary Briggs.” The Citizen of the Year award for Sust highlights her history of giving and treating everyone fairly -- especially those who may feel marginalized, Chamber officials said. Sust volunteered with the PTA and other programs at Northwood Elementary and has a positive impact on her players as a coach and team manager with the Royal Oak Youth Soccer Association, Chamber officials said. “She also single-handedly coordinated her Dondero Class of 1985 high school reunion,” Clark said. “She is just one of those people we love to honor because they do so much behind the scenes.” Sust is also known for honoring the spirit of Christmas by supporting children at the Judson Center and through her church. “My mother deserves this award because she doesn’t stop giving back and she never will,” said her daughter, Alexanddra Sust, in a nominating statement. “She is the most humble and generous being that I know and no matter what life throws at her, she perseveres through it.” Other 2015 award winners are Water Works Theatre Company for community spirit; Katie Colavecchia for youth achievement; Michael Stajich is police officer of the year; and Timothy Kantzler is firefighter of the year. The Chamber is also scheduled to hand out beautification awards to businesses and to homeowners Laura and Brandon Casanta. All winners will receive their awards and recognition at the 68th Annual Royal Oak Community Awards event from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 20 at Emagine Theatre.

FACES - Aaron F. Belen October, 2, 2015

Downtown Publications

My grandfather was the most important person in my life. I always referred to him as my best friend,” Aaron F. Belen recalls of the late Morrie Fenkell, a businessman whose bank was purchased by Huntington Bank, who remained a large Huntington shareholder. Belen, who graduated from Cranbrook in 2001 and the Barney Business School at University of Hartford in 2005, said, “I learned more from him than going to school and business school. He was clearly my mentor in life.”

My grandfather was the most important person in my life. I always referred to him as my best friend,” Aaron F. Belen recalls of the late Morrie Fenkell, a businessman whose bank was purchased by Huntington Bank, who remained a large Huntington shareholder. Belen, who graduated from Cranbrook in 2001 and the Barney Business School at University of Hartford in 2005, said, “I learned more from him than going to school and business school. He was clearly my mentor in life.” Fenkell passed away in 2007, of pancreatic cancer, prompting Belen to return to metro Detroit rather than heading to one of the big cities like his friends. “I was so close to him, I moved to be with him,” he recalled. “If he had been healthy, I might have stayed away. I had a pretty good network here because I had worked in commercial real estate each summer, beginning with my Senior May (at Cranbrook). I liked it. It's what I had gone to school for. But I graduated into a recession, and deviated into a few other businesses.” Those other businesses have led to Belen's success as a restaurateur and nightclub owner. Currently, the AFB Hospitality Group owns and operates Bistro 82, an upscale French restaurant in Royal Oak, and its companion nightclub and lounge, Sabrage. In the works is another, likely more casual restaurant in Royal Oak, at 511 S. Main, in the former Franklin Liquor Street Building. He has purchased not only the building but it's adjacent parking lot. He's already received approval for the new venue, which he has not yet named. It's destined to occupy his focus and energy until it opens in February or March of 2016. A Bloomfield Township resident, he notes that when he moved back to the metro area after college, “the best and the brightest minds were moving to New York, Chicago, LA, and Miami. If I stayed here, I (knew I) had a higher probability of being a success. I viewed it as a great opportunity in the market to make it my own way and make my own name.” Hard work and remembering his grandfather's lessons have turned opportunity into success. While Belen had ownership interests in a few previous restaurants and nightclubs around town, calling Bistro 82 and Sabrage the “sixth and seventh concepts I've had, but the first and second I've launched under my own business, AFB Hospitality Group,” he first played around with nightclubs in college, hosting parties. “I never took it seriously. It was just a way to make extra money for myself, to have fun, and to meet girls,” Belen recalled. “It was a triple win.” Today, as he moves into his first home after living in a condo for nine years, he is focused on his career, even if it comes at the expense of his personal life. “I plan to stay here in Michigan. My family and friends are here. I'm involved in charities like the Friendship Circle and Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit. Right now, I'm really focused on my career. I'm a big proponent on walking before you run. I learned from my grandfather, I understand dips in the economy. I'm not looking to lots of restaurants. I'm really focused on Oakland County, on living, working and playing here, and I'm interested in job growth in Oakland County.”

Ask the Test Kitchen: Why flat iron is one of my favorite cuts of beefAugust 13, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Flat iron steak with hon-shimeji mushrooms, pomme puree and lobster emulsion was one of the courses served at the Free Press’ Top 10 Takeover dinner Monday at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. All the components of this dish were a perfect match. But the flat iron, of course, was the highlight.

Flat iron steak with hon-shimeji mushrooms, pomme puree and lobster emulsion was one of the courses served at the Free Press’ Top 10 Takeover dinner Monday at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. All the components of this dish were a perfect match. But the flat iron, of course, was the highlight. For this dish with multiple layers of flavor, the flat iron was sliced very thin, served on top of a smooth and silky potato puree and topped with sautéed hon-shimeji Japanese-style mushrooms. Shimeji is the name for a species of mushrooms and hon-shimeji have a short, thin stem with caps no larger than a pencil eraser. The flat iron was so perfectly prepared medium-rare you could cut it with a fork. For years, flat iron steak has been one of my favorite cuts of beef. It is known for having a hearty flavor and tender texture — as well as being so very versatile. It is for the same reasons Bistro 82 owner Aaron F. Belen likes it — it’s a great cut of meat. Belen told me the restaurant sources its flat iron from Angus Reserve beef raised in Nebraska. The nice thing about flat iron is that you don’t have to trim any fat and it takes to all cooking methods. Flat iron is especially good on the grill — and I prefer to grill it whole. You can grill flat iron as you would any favorite steak and marinate it if you like. On the grill, flat iron is best cooked medium-rare. You can also cube it and use it for kebabs. It works in stews and braises. Or, slice it thin, marinate it and skewer it for beef satay. Whenever I mention flat iron steak to people, they often ask if it is similar to flank steak. It’s not. Flat iron is cut from a chuck roast — the neck and shoulder of the animal. Flank steak is from the lower back or hindquarter of the animal. Sometimes you will find flat iron labeled chuck steak or top blade steak. Many stores sell flat iron steaks packaged in 11/4- to 13/4-pound steaks. One steak will easily feed four. Although we did not get executive chef Derik Watson’s recipe for all the components of Bistro 82’s dish, today I am sharing a favorite flat iron steak recipe. The steak is simply marinated and an easy introduction to this flavorful cut of meat. Contact Susan Selasky: 313-222-6872 or sselasky@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanMariecooks. DETROIT FREE PRESS Free Press Test Kitchen recipe: Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches with Go Big Blue Cheese Grilled and Marinated Flat Iron Steak Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinading time 1 1/4 pounds flat iron 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari 2 tablespoons canola oil 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar Salt and black pepper, optional Place the flat iron steak in a plastic sealable bag. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, canola oil, garlic, rice vinegar and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Pour the marinade over the steak and seal the bag. Press the outside of the bag with your fingers, rubbing the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove the steak from the marinade about an hour before grilling and place it on a plate. When ready to grill, preheat or prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Pat excess marinade off the meat. Season both sides of meat with salt and black pepper if desired or favorite seasoning. Grill the steak about 4-5 minutes on high heat to get a good sear and nice grill marks. Turn the steak over and move to cooler heat (about medium) or indirect heat to finish the cooking, about another 8 minutes depending on the thickness and desired degree of doneness. Remove from heat and let the steak rest a good 5 minutes before slicing on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with grilled vegetables. Cook’s note: For grilled vegetables, slice some red or sweet onion into half-inch-thick slices. Slice small zucchini in half lengthwise. Brush both with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Do the same with some mini peppers. Grill vegetables beside steak until crisp-tender and they have good grill marks. From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.

67 Michigan restaurants earn Wine Spectator awardsJuly 18th, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Sixty-seven Michigan restaurants have been named recipients of Wine Spectator's 2015 Restaurant Awards, including 10 that achieved the Best of Award of Excellence, the second-highest level of recognition.

Sixty-seven Michigan restaurants have been named recipients of Wine Spectator's 2015 Restaurant Awards, including 10 that achieved the Best of Award of Excellence, the second-highest level of recognition. Sixty-seven Michigan restaurants have been named recipients of Wine Spectator's 2015 Restaurant Awards, including 10 that achieved the Best of Award of Excellence, the second-highest level of recognition. The 10, in alphabetical order, are Butch's Dry Dock in Holland; Capital Grille in Troy; Coach Insignia in downtown Detroit; the Earle in Ann Arbor; Esperance in Charlevoix; the Lark in West Bloomfield; Noto's Old World Italian Dining in Grand Rapids; Rowe Inn in Ellsworth; the State Room at MSU's Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, and Steven Lelli's on the G10 of the state's eateries are among the 973 worldwide to earn the Best of Award of Excellence reen in Farmington Hills. The names of all Michigan winners are available online on the magazine's Restaurant Search page; type "Michigan" in the search field. In all, 973 restaurants worldwide earned the Best of Award of Excellence for offering "a wine list of typically 350 or more quality selections with significant vintage depth or superior breadth in one or more major wine regions," Wine Spectator said. Some 2,563 restaurants nationwide earned the third-highest level of recognition — the Award of Excellence — "which recognizes a wine list offering an interesting and diverse selection of wines that are well-presented and thematically match the restaurant's cuisine in price and style," according to the magazine. Eighty-one restaurants around the world received the Grand Award, the highest honor, denoting lists of generally more than 1,000 wines. No Michigan restaurants are Grand Award members. The 2015 awards list will be published in Wine Spectator's August issue, on newsstands July 21. Contact Sylvia Rector: 313-222-5026 and srector@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @SylviaRector

Top 10 Takeover: Tickets on sale Friday for Bistro 82July 17, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Join the Feast team Aug, 10 when the Free Press takes over Bistro 82 in Royal Oak for the sixth evening of the Top 10 Takeover dining series. Earlier this year, Bistro 82 won the votes for Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant of 2015.

Join the Feast team Aug, 10 when the Free Press takes over Bistro 82 in Royal Oak for the sixth evening of the Top 10 Takeover dining series. Earlier this year, Bistro 82 won the votes for Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant of 2015. Takeover tickets go on sale at noon Friday. The Bistro 82 tickets are $56 each. Bistro 82 is a great date-night place with a lively but sophisticated atmosphere and clean, contemporary styling – expansive windows, sleek white leather chairs, soft gray walls and vivid paintings. But it’s much more than just another pretty place to have dinner. Executive Chef Derik Watson is one of metro Detroit’s most talented chefs, and his French bistro-inspired plates are as delicious and creative as they are beautiful. Restaurant critic Sylvia Rector – who loves Watson’s style -- says it’s a place food-lovers shouldn’t miss. Here's a glimpse at Bistro 82's Takeover menu: 1st course: Grilled Chesapeake Bay oyster, guanciale-corn relish, pistou butter 2nd course: Consommé royale, foie gras, vegetable matignon, spinach 3rd course: Ricotta tortellini, ragú of duck sausage, pea tendril 4th course: Flat iron steak, honshimeji mushroom, pomme purée, lobster emulsion 5th course: Trois chocolat: chocolate mousse, chocolate bisquit, feuilletine Partial proceeds from the Top 10 Takeover dining series benefit Forgotten Harvest of metro Detroit. Thus far, the Free Press' Takeover events have raised enough for more than 6,000 meals for those in need. The dining series is sponsored by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers association. If you are interested in joining us for the hottest dining series in metro Detroit, plan ahead and visit www.freep.com/top10takeover often. Tickets to each Takeover dinner go on sale about three weeks before the event date. Ticket availability depends on the size of the restaurant and the establishment's preferences.

The 38 Essential Detroit Restaurants, July 2015July 07, 2015

Eater Detroit

Discover upscale, destination dining and a modern bar atmosphere at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. After opening last year, the bistro proved worthy of the #2 spot on The Detroit Free Press’s Best New Restaurants list. Try the escargot served out of the shell with puff pastry and pistou or the popular marrow appetizer.

It's time for a new edition of the Detroit Eater 38. This quarterly list seeks to identify city's key dining establishments (with a few representatives from the suburbs). The 38 is Eater's answer to that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant..." Here, in alphabetical order, are the restaurants that represent the city's flavor, history, and style, rather than what's buzzy (check the monthly Heatmap for that). This time around we say goodbye to Torino, Motor City Soul Food, Roma Cafe. In their place, you'll find some more established recruits paired with newer editions, including Two James Distillery, Rose's Fine Food, Pho Lucky. The list is updated quarterly. Did we leave out your classic Detroit eatery? Tell us about it. Then take a trip to the forums and let us know what your personal 38 looks like. 1 American Coney Island It's the other half of Detroit's infamous coney challenge, and for that reason American deserves a spot on the list. Serving up their own version of the Detroit coney dog, this diner has its own loyal following of die hard fans, and it is definitely 100 percent Detroit. [Photo] 114 West Lafayette Boulevard Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-7758 MORE 2 Antietam Although it boasts an impeccable menu of modern French cuisine and craft cocktails, Antietam’s standout trait is its carefully honed atmosphere. The dim lighting emanating from knit-chain draped lamps, jewel-toned bar chairs, and other antique details bring out the best in this revitalized Art Deco building near Eastern Market. [Photo] 1428 Gratiot Detroit MI, Detroit, MI 48207 Visit website (313) 782-4378 MORE 3 Baker's Keyboard Lounge It claims to be "the world's oldest jazz bar" and whether or not that's true doesn't really matter. Baker's is a Detroit icon, with an incredible history and soul food menu to match. The fried chicken is everyone's favorite, so don't miss it, and of course the entertainment is legendary. [Photo] 20510 Livernois Avenue Detroit, MI 48221 Visit website (313) 345-6300 MORE 4 Bistro 82 Discover upscale, destination dining and a modern bar atmosphere at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. After opening last year, the bistro proved worthy of the #2 spot on The Detroit Free Press’s Best New Restaurants list. Try the escargot served out of the shell with puff pastry and pistou or the popular marrow appetizer. [Photo] 401 S Lafayette Ave Royal Oak, MI 48067 Visit website 248-542-0082 MORE 5 Bucharest Grill Just a few steps away from the ballpark, Bucharest Grill is serving up some of the best chicken shawarma in town. The line is pretty much nonstop beginning around lunchtime with people from across town stopping in for a bite or to pick up a 6-pack of take-out. It’s simple, cheap, filling, and classically Detroit. [Photo] 2040 Park Ave. Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 965-3111 MORE 6 Cadieux Cafe With love from Anthony Bourdain from back in his Travel Channel days and a beer menu that's hard to beat, Cadieux Cafe proves that it really is beautiful to be Belgian. [Photo] 4300 Cadieux Road Detroit, MI 48224 Visit website (313) 882-8560 MORE 7 Cafe d'Mongo's A fixture in downtown Detroit since the 80s, this old-fashioned speakeasy offers a no-frills experience with loads of culture. Favorited by Hollywood types looking for a relaxed atmosphere, visitors to this weekends-only night spot are treated more like family than customers. [Photo] 1439 Griswold St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website MORE 8 Cliff Bell's Home to some of the finest jazz and impromptu storytelling in the city, Cliff Bell's also features a serious meal menu. Mac & cheese and any of an assortment of meaty appetizers are a must to start or end an evening out. [Photo] 2030 Park Ave Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-2543 MORE 9 Cuisine Set in an historic house, chef Paul Grosz's restaurant serves "impeccable" food in a fine dining atmosphere. A favorite of the theater crowd, it's pricey, but worth it for a special occasion. [Photo] 670 Lothrop Rd Detroit, MI 48202 Visit website (313) 872-5110 MORE 10 El Barzon Restaurante How many Mexican Italian restaurants are there? Probably not that many, and maybe for good reason, but El Barzon is different, with top-notch Mexican food and incredible homemade pasta in the same meal, this restaurant creates a memorable experience that you can't find anywhere else. [Photo] 3710 Junction Street Detroit, MI 48210 Visit website (313) 894-2070 MORE 11 Fountain Bistro Located in Campus Martius, the Fountain Bistro offers one of the city's most beautiful and romantic views with great food to boot. It's on the pricy end, but it's a choice location for an upscale night out on the town, especially for two. 800 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 237-7778 12 Green Dot Stables A wide array of sliders and fries make Green Dot a favorite spot for Detroiters. As a bartender explained, "There's no Happy Hour, because as you can see, everything is so cheap." Indeed. [Photo] 2200 West Lafayette Boulevard Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 965-1523 MORE 13 Hygrade Deli With a long history and a loyal following, Hygrade already has all the reputation they need. It won't surprise fans that celebrity chef Chuck Hughes said their Reuben was the best thing he ate during his week in the city, but why stop there? Everything else gets rave reviews too. [Photo] 3640 Michigan Avenue Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 894-6620 MORE 14 Inn Season Cafe An institution when it comes to Metro Detroit's vegetarian and vegan cuisine, Inn Season has been doing veggies right since 1981. [Photo] 500 E 4th St Royal Oak, MI 48067 Visit website (248) 547-7916 MORE 15 La Feria Spanish Tapas This establishment has earned its stripes by bringing its popular Spanish tapas to Midtown Detroiters. In the evenings, the restaurant can get slammed with customers, however the warm atmosphere is worth the wait. [ Photo ] 4130 Cass Ave Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website MORE 16 Lafayette Coney Island Lafayette is the classic greasy spoon to American's dressed-up diner. Rather than pass our judgement on the debate over which restaurant is better, we will just say that we really like Lafayette's spinach pie. Their chili is also a marvel. [Photo] 118 W Lafayette Blvd Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 964-8198 MORE 17 London Chop House It's a classic with a storied history that has once again opened its doors. They once hosted all the elite in Detroit, and while this chop house is technically new (reopening in 2012) it's the same location, and many of the same traditions (like a rain check drink, purchased beforehand and paid for by a token). [Photo] 155 W Congress St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 962-0277 MORE 18 Loui's Pizza While Buddy’s receives much of the Detroit-square hype, Loui’s in Hazel Park is an equally beloved venue with a history harkening back to the Detroit-style pizza’s conception. Loui’s offers a casual, no-frills atmosphere with clusters of signed Chianti bottles hanging from the wall alongside Christmas lights, silk flowers, and old Budweiser mirrors. [Photo] 23141 Dequindre Hazel Park, MI 48030 Visit website (248) 547-1711 MORE 19 Motor City Brewing Works Inc One of many downtown beer stations getting attention the national craft brew scene, Motor City Brewing also attracted the eye of the Detroit News' Molly Abraham, who praised the creative pizza and chili options. [Photo] 470 West Canfield Street Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 832-2700 MORE 20 Mudgie's Deli Mudgie's serves sandwiches. But that's not all. The deli also offers up some hearty and award-winning neighborhood goodness in the middle of Corktown. The kind of a place that people tell you to visit, and that later remind you again, in case you forgot. [Photo] 1300 Porter St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-2000 MORE 21 New Yasmeen Bakery Don't let the name bakery fool you, New Yasmeen is much more than that. For Middle Eastern staples like Kibbeh and spinach or meat pies, and of course the desserts and baked goods are in a class of their own. [Photo] 13900 West Warren Avenue Dearborn, MI 48126 Visit website (313) 582-6035 MORE 22 Pegasus Tavernas The place where dreams of flaming Saganaki come roaring to life, Pegasus Tavernas has been a Greektown staple for almost 25 years. For hearty Hellenic food outside of a Coney Island, Pegasus is your best bet in metro Detroit. [Photo] 558 Monroe St Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 964-6800 MORE 23 Pho Lucky Outside of Madison Heights, it’s a challenge to find pho in Detroit. Thankfully Redford-based Pho Lucky offers traditional bowls of Vietnamese pho in large and extra large sizes. Get adventurous with the house special made with rare eye round steak, cooked beef, meatballs, tripe, and tendon. For something a little safer, the eatery also offers chicken noodle soup. Closed Tuesdays. [Photo] 23838 Joy Rd Redford, MI 48239 Visit website (313) 532-2333 MORE 24 Polish Village Cafe Hamtramck still has its Polish gems, and Polish Village Cafe is certainly the crown jewel. The little basement restaurant serves a mean pierogi, and some lesser-known classics like dill pickle soup are also sure to please the more adventurous. It's not fancy, but it's an icon in its own way, and it has been around forever. [Photo] 2990 Yemans St Hamtramck, MI 48212 Visit website (313) 874-5726 MORE 25 Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño Trade tacos for inexpensive Salvadoran pupusas at this cash-only Livernois Avenue eatery. It’s an Anthony Bourdain-approved slice of heaven in Southwest. [Photo] 3149 Livernois Ave Detroit, MI 48210 Visit website (313) 899-4020 MORE 26 Revolver Two years in and Revolver’s experimental pop-up restaurant concept continues to sell out events. Try some truly creative dishes from established chefs and up-and-comers. You might even get an early taste of Detroit’s next great restaurant. [Photo] 9737 Joseph Campau St Hamtramck, MI Visit website (313) 757-3093 MORE 27 Roast Chef Michael Symon keeps winning prizes and making friends with his Westin Book Cadillac restaurant, and it isn't hard to see why. With some of the best happy hour specials in town, plus a meaty main menu that would make any carnivore drool, this is anything but your average hotel dining room. [Photo] 1128 Washington Boulevard Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 961-2500 MORE 28 Rock City Eatery Like Detroit’s rock and roll roots, Rock City Eatery is a little daring. Find the proprietor’s flavorful pies here, alongside a killer mac & cheese baked inside an edible cheese bowl. [Photo] 11411 Joseph Campau St Hamtramck, MI 48212 Visit website (248) 633-3072 MORE 29 Rose's Fine Foods While the phrase "fresh, local ingredients" are tired buzzwords, here it's far from cliche. The simple menu brings out the best in its quality ingredients. Don't leave without trying one of the scratch-made baked goods and a cup of coffee served in a charming antique teacup. [Photo] 10551 E Jefferson Ave Detroit, MI 48214 Visit website (313) 309-7947 MORE 30 Scotty Simpsons Fish & Chips Detroit has more than its fair share of fish & chips joints, but Scotty Simpson’s in Brightmoor stands out for its fresh ingredients, simple menu, and vintage — circa 1950 — charm. [Photo] 22200 Fenkell St Detroit, MI 48223 Visit website (313) 533-0950 MORE 31 Selden Standard Selden Standard has captured the spirit of Detroit's dining scene and appears to be the consistent stand-out among the city's recent openings. As a policy, the Cass Corridor restaurant always keeps the majority of its seats available for walk-ins. [Photo] 3921 Second Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 438-5055 MORE 32 Slows Bar-B-Q Okay, we get it — Slow's is written about a lot. But the food and atmosphere in the modern Corktown barbecue icon combine to make one distinctly Detroit meal. Good food, good people and a great city: Slow's has it all, and then some. [Photo] 2138 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 962-9828 MORE 33 Supino Pizzeria Detroit has plenty of highly recommended square pies, but for a slice of New York-style pizza Supino’s reigns supreme. Order at the front and wait for your slice at simple communal tables. [Photo] 2457 Russell St Detroit, MI 48207 Visit website (313) 567-7879 MORE 34 Taqueria El Rey It's a tiny little restaurant on Vernor, but it's much beloved and yet still underrated according to Eater readers. The chicken is what sets it apart from all the other local taquerias, and what amazing chicken it is. [Photo] 4730 W Vernor Hwy Detroit, MI 48209 Visit website (313) 357-3094 MORE 35 The Brooklyn Street Local Founded by Canadians, Brooklyn Street Local offers some of the best breakfast poutine in Detroit. Catering to vegetarians and omnivores, this Corktown restaurant remains true to its name by bringing in fresh and local ingredients daily. [Photo] 1266 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 262-6547 MORE 36 The Root Restaurant and Bar Run by the Top Chef contestant James Rigato, The Root Restaurant & Bar consistently draws Detroiters beyond city limits for adventurous and expertly prepared American cuisine. [Jacob Lekow Photography] 340 Town Center Blvd White Lake, MI 48386 Visit website (248) 698-2400 MORE 37 Two James Distillery No longer a newcomer, this Corktown distillery has made a name for itself. Drop by on a weekend during cocktail hour and find the tasting room packed with customers in for a whiskey flight or a craft cocktail made with ultra-fresh ingredients. [Photo] 2445 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website MORE 38 Wright & Co. Wright & Co. tows the line between casual and fine dining, and manages to strike the perfect balance for downtown Detroit. Chef Marc Djozlija shows off his expert knowledge in the kitchen, honed at Wolfgang Puck’s MGM Grand restaurants, while bar side, partner Dave Kwiatkowski’s influence shines through with a daring craft cocktail list. [Photo] 1500 Woodward Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 962-7711

In The SuburbsJuly 1, 2015

Hour Detroit

BISTRO 82 There has been a lot of buzz about this addition to Royal Oak’s restaurant scene. The revamped building has curb presence with its black, shiny glass exterior

BISTRO 82 There has been a lot of buzz about this addition to Royal Oak’s restaurant scene. The revamped building has curb presence with its black, shiny glass exterior. It is also coupled with Sabrage, a second- fl oor nightclub. But it is the food and menu that really shine. The kitchen turns out enticing, good dishes with fun twists — from gently spiced, hot sizzling marrow bones to a steak tartare with the appropriate balance of condiments to beef. At fi rst glance, the menu appears pretty standard. But Bistro 82’s side dishes and other accompaniments make them all quite different. 401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak; 248- 542-0082. D Tues.-Sun. Br. Sun.

We May Not See the Likes of Gosling and Affleck If Snyder Signs Anti-Film BillJune 18, 2015

Deadline Detroit

Ryan Gosling hung out at places like Cafe D'Mongo's in downtown Detroit while filming "Lost River." George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Grant Heslov and Paul Giamatti went to Giovanni’s Ristorante in Southwest Detroit while filming the "Ides of March." And Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner were spotted at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak while Affleck was filming his Batman movie.

Ryan Gosling hung out at places like Cafe D'Mongo's in downtown Detroit while filming "Lost River." George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Grant Heslov and Paul Giamatti went to Giovanni’s Ristorante in Southwest Detroit while filming the "Ides of March." And Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner were spotted at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak while Affleck was filming his Batman movie. What's more, Affleck was so smitten with Detroit he made some flattering comments about the city that echoed around the world. He also was so inspired by the factories, he told the Free Press last year: "I went and got a Ford and got a GM car and traded in Japanese cars that I had," Pretty good free publicity for Detroit and Michigan. And all were in town over the years making movies, thanks to Michigan's film incentives. That's likely to end. All that's needed is Gov. Rick Snyder's signature. The Republican-dominated state legislature on Thursday passed legislation to eliminate taxpayer-paid state subsidies for film production, and sent the bill off to the governor. Chad Livengood of the Detroit News writes that the state Senate amended a House bill Thursday that would prohibit the Michigan Film Office and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. from awarding any new grants to companies for film production upon enactment of the bill. The House approved the Senate’s changes later Thursday and sent the bill to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for his consideration. The News reports the legislation, once signed by the governor, would take effect immediately. Proponents of the incentives say they've created jobs in the film industry and stimulated the local economy. Critics say the jobs are often just temporary ones, and it cost the state too much to create those jobs. Plus, they say when the incentives go, Hollywood has little loyalty and looks for other states that offer the incentives. On Wednesday, the Michigan Film Office announced that a Comedy Central show, "Detroiter," which was filming a pilot last week in Detroit, was eligible for $445,620 in state film incentives. The Film Office said that any incentives that are in the pipeline already, like the "Detroiter," would still be eligible for the money.

Metro Detroit's 14 Hottest New BrunchesJune 12, 2015

Eater Detroit

After a winter hiatus, Bistro 82's brunch service is back with full force. French-inspired a la carte menu items like a foie gras scramble and croque madame as well as seafood and baskets of house-baked pastries are on the menu.

'Tis the season for really great brunch and the number of restaurants offering the delightful breakfast-lunch fusion meal are multiplying. Here we offer the Eater Detroit Brunch Heatmap, which will change often to continually highlight new or revamped places where the foodie crowds are flocking to at the moment. Which new and craveable brunch spot did we miss? Send us a tip and your suggestion might make the next brunch update. 1 Addison Eatery Don’t be deterred by the M1-Rail construction (they have parking around back). This charming Brush Park restaurant is serious about its breakfast offerings. Gorge on bourbon apple french toast, sweet potato pancakes, and red velvet waffles topped with vanilla cream cheese icing, whipped cream, cocoa powder. [Photo] Hours: Opens at 10 a.m. daily 3111 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 832-3111 MORE 2 Ale Mary's Beer Hall Forget mimosas and Bloody Marys. Ale Mary’s is all about beer. The restaurant’s famed beer cheese burger is available alongside breakfast poutine with duck confit, braised short rib hash, and pork belly bennie. [Photo] Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 318 S Main St Royal Oak, MI 48067 Visit website (248) 541-1186 MORE 3 Antietam Eastern Market's art deco gem recently launched Sunday brunch service. Quiche, ox tail with eggs, smoked chicken with black pepper maple syrup and cornbread, orange poppyseed pancakes? This could be a game changer. [Photo] Hours: Sundays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1428 Gratiot Detroit MI, Detroit, MI 48207 Visit website (313) 782-4378 MORE 4 Bistro 82 After a winter hiatus, Bistro 82's brunch service is back with full force. French-inspired a la carte menu items like a foie gras scramble and croque madame as well as seafood and baskets of house-baked pastries are on the menu. Fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, mimosas, and McClure’s Bloody Marys are also available. [Photo] Hours: Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 401 S Lafayette Ave Royal Oak, MI 48067 Visit website (248) 268-3309 MORE 5 Cafe 78 (Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit) Chef Marc Djozlija’s curated Sunday brunch menu features popover egg sandwiches and raspberry french toast. Pair everything with a cup of Anthology coffee, a mimosa, bellini, or Bloody Mary. The cafe hosts weekly live music, art, and pop-up shopping. [Photo] Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays 4454 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 832-6622 MORE 6 Dime Store Dime Store features a reliable (and tasty) all day breakfast with a mixture of brunchtime favorites — omelets, hashes, waffles, abound. Don't forget to order off the "Day Drink" list that includes traditional favorites as well as Beermosas and Irish coffee. [Photo] Hours: Opens at 8 a.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday 719 Griswold Street Detroit, MI 48226 Visit website (313) 962-9106 MORE 7 Gold Cash Gold Brunch cocktails and pickle brine fried chicken & waffles are the main event at Gold Cash Gold. The restaurant is known for its house-pickles and incorporates them into the pickle juice Bloody Mary made with a choice of Tito's vodka or pork fat-infused Old Charter 8-year bourbon. [Photo] Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2100 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website (313) 242-0770 MORE 8 Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles Find 10 different mouthwatering chicken & waffles combinations at this Avenue of Fashion eatery alongside Southern comfort foods like shrimp & grits and sweet potato Belgian waffles. Grab a glass of Koolaid (red, purple, or blue), coffee, or something from the bar to pair with breakfast. [Photo] Hours: Opens at 8 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday 19345 Livernois Ave Detroit, MI 48221 Visit website 313-861-0229 MORE 9 Rock City Eatery Find Korean bowls, mac & cheese, breakfast poutine, burritos, and even a scrambled egg bar at this Hamtramck hot spot. Mexican Bloody Marys made with jalapeno vodka should be considered mandatory. [Photo] Hours: Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 11411 Joseph Campau St Hamtramck, MI 48212 Visit website (248) 633-3072 MORE 10 Rose's Fine Foods This cozy East Side diner features a tasty mix of breakfast and lunch items made with local ingredients. Don't leave this place without trying the fresh baked goods, especially the house-made doughnuts. [Photo] Hours: Opens at 7:30 on weekdays, 8 a.m. on weekends 10551 E Jefferson Ave Detroit, MI 48214 Visit website (313) 309-7947 MORE 11 RUBBED Rubbed's new brunch menu is short and sweet. Choose from smoked eggs, potato and egg hash, an egg sandwich, or Belgian waffle topped with caramelized banana and cheesecake whipped cream. Add on a sides for a little extra. [Photo] Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 2015 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48216 Visit website MORE 12 Selden Standard Find salads, muffins, scones, sweet rolls, biscuits & gravy, and baked eggs among Selden’s selection of brunch bites. [Photo] Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 3921 Second Avenue Detroit, MI 48201 Visit website (313) 438-5055 MORE 13 Sweet Potato Sensations Featured on "The Chew" and Hour Detroit, this Lahser Road restaurant is known for their creative use of one eponymous root vegetable. Check out their Soul Saturday brunch every week for sweet potato chicken & waffles, sweet potato pancakes, smoked turkey sandwiches, and even salmon croquettes. [Photo] Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 17377 Lahser Detroit, MI 48219 Visit website (313) 532-7996 MORE 14 Yemans Street Recently reopened pop-up restaurant Yemans Street hosts weekly Sunday brunches with chef Jeremy Kalmus. Past a la carte menus have featured biscuit sandwiches, brunch corn dogs, spicy chorizo benedict, vegetarian scrambles, and even beignets. [Photo] Hours: Sundays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Crowd-funders say 'yes' to Royal Oak smart parkJune 11, 2015

Hometown Life

If money talks, then Royal Oak residents and business owners have made it clear: They want a smart park in downtown.

If money talks, then Royal Oak residents and business owners have made it clear: They want a smart park in downtown. "People were really behind the project from the get-go and were willing to show their support with their pocketbook, not just talk about that they think it's a great idea but actually physically support it," Royal Oak Community Engagement Specialist Judy Davids said Thursday. On May 18, the city launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for converting a pedestrian plaza next to the Center Street parking structure into a space that would include technology and Wi-Fi access, sustainable landscaping, smart materials, tables to eat and work, interactive LED lights and solar charging stations. On Wednesday, with a few days to spare, the city surpassed its crowd-funding goal of $60,000 when a $10,000 donation from Emagine Theaters put them over the top. A few hours later, Vibe Credit Union (which has an eCenter location at 501 S. Main Street) and Bistro 82 (401 S. Lafayette Ave) also made verbal commitments of $10,000 each. That puts donation commitments at $85,000, which came from about 400 donors. The deadline to raise $60,000 was 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 16. Once all the donations are gathered and finalized, Royal Oak will receive dollar-for-dollar matches up to $60,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's "Public Spaces, Community Places" program that allows communities to raise funds for transformation projects and receive matching grants. Earlier this week, Bill Roberts, who owns Town Tavern at 116 W. Fourth Street and several other area restaurants, gave Mayor Jim Ellison a check for $2,500. "It's a great partnership of business and the city," Roberts said. "The other piece of it is many of our guests use that parking structure at Fourth Street and Center Street; and, of course, when they park their car, they come out right where this park will be. So it just seems like a grand idea to be part of this and give to the city and our guests." Moving forward Dubbed the Center Street Smart Park, city officials say it would allow residents, students, professionals and visitors to connect in smart ways.Royal Oak leaders collaborated with local businesses, technology gurus, landscape architects and planners from livingLAB Detroit on a design for the green connected space. "It's just a cool use of space, and I think it's a great idea," Roberts said. City officials gathered with livingLAB Detroit staffers Thursday morning to outline the next steps and flesh out a time line. The city expects everything to be completed by spring 2016. But residents should see changes before then, Davids said Thursday. "We realize that people dug deep into their pocketbooks, and we want to be able to show them something for their donations as quickly as possible," she said. "We're going to be able to do some things very quickly. We hope to have public Wi-Fi there very quickly. We hope to have art there quickly." City officials also met with members of Vectorform, a national technology firm with an office at 123 W. Fifth Street, which has offered the services of their interns, Davids said. That could lead to an interactive smart park app going live this summer. The most expensive portion of the project will be the demolition and rebuilding of the tract, Davids said. The city will likely wait until after the Summer Concert Series and Arts, Beats & Eats are concluded, to avoid any disruptions to those events. "This summer and certainly by this fall, we hope to have a lot going on there — improvements that people will see right away," she said. "Again, we don't want to tear it up during our Summer Concert Series and Arts, Beats & Eats. Right after Arts, Beats & Eats, hopefully people will start to see some action there."

DETROIT’S 15 BEST SUBURBAN RESTAURANTSJune 11, 2015

Thrillist

Chef Derik Watson, previously of Iridescence, is behind one of the greatest culinary experiences to be had in the 'burbs, all in a city that isn’t exactly known for its sophisticated dining culture.

Chef Derik Watson, previously of Iridescence, is behind one of the greatest culinary experiences to be had in the 'burbs, all in a city that isn’t exactly known for its sophisticated dining culture. Bistro 82 gently toes the line of an old-school steakhouse with the emphasis primarily on beef and seafood, but the influence of Watson's traditional French and Japanese training is very much evident all over the menu, and the space is a FAR cry from Sangria that came before it.

NEW SUNDAY BRUNCH at Bistro 82May 28th, 2015

The Jewish News

NEW SUNDAY BRUNCH at Bistro 82, Royal Oak, sounds like it will have items many would hardly find on another such menu … It begins Sunday, May 31, and runs through Labor Day.

NEW SUNDAY BRUNCH at Bistro 82, Royal Oak, sounds like it will have items many would hardly find on another such menu … It begins Sunday, May 31, and runs through Labor Day, 10:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. … Dishes not found at too many places elsewhere like Foie Gras Scramble, Croque Madame, Egg White Frittata, Mussels and Frites, etc. … Even familiar ones with different looks and tastes like French Toast with Melba diplomat creme, raspberry, marcona almond brittle … and Seafood Hash with shrimp, lobster, scallops, etc

(Almost) Foolproof Pan-Seared ScallopsMay 28, 2015

The Detroit News

I’ve adapted what I learned from him into my own dish with asparagus and corn saute, and it was a real hit. Now I can have restaurant-quality scallops at home and listen more intently to the specials the next time I’m dining out.

I’ve adapted what I learned from him into my own dish with asparagus and corn saute, and it was a real hit. Now I can have restaurant-quality scallops at home and listen more intently to the specials the next time I’m dining out. klawson@detroitnews.com Seared Scallops with Corn and Asparagus Saute Recipe from Kate Lawson adapted from Chef Norman Fenton, Bistro 82. 10 wild-caught sea scallops (Jumbo or U-15) 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon canola oil 3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons cold butter Additional sea salt to taste Using paper towels, pat scallops very dry and arrange on a plate. Heat large skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking, add oils and heat additional minute. Arrange scallops in skillet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and cook, without touching, until deep golden brown underneath, about 2-3 minutes. Shake skillet occasionally to help loose the scallops. Using a small metal spatula or large spoon, swiftly loosen and flip each scallop and cook until deep golden brown on the second side and just firm and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate and keep warm. After removing cooked scallops from skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and whisk 3 tablespoons lemon juice into the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Add 2 tablespoons cold butter a few cubes at a time and continue whisking constantly until just melted. Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle over scallops. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately over corn and asparagus saute. Makes 2 servings. Corn Asparagus Saute 1 bunch asparagus 3 ears fresh corn 4 tablespoons unsalted butter Salt 3 tablespoons chopped basil Wash the asparagus, trim off the bottom 1-2 inches of each stalk and peel lower 2-3 inches. Cut stalks into thirds. Carefully shave the kernels off the three ears of corn. Melt the butter in a large, flat pan. Add the asparagus to the butter, allowing all pieces to lay flat on the pan. Don’t crowd the asparagus — if they don’t all fit, do it in batches. Saute without moving them for a few minutes, or until they begin to brown on the bottom. Salt the asparagus, then flip and brown the other side. Once the second side has browned, remove the asparagus from the pan and add the corn kernels. Saute, stirring, until the corn begins to look translucent and turns a light golden-brown. Add chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste. Per serving: 740 calories; 56 g fat (24 g saturated fat; 68 percent calories from fat); 35 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 144 mg cholesterol; 1,244 mg sodium; 31 g protein; 7 g fiber.

Best of Detroit 2015 May 15, 2015

Detroit Metro Times

Let's face it: People from Detroit have a little something extra. Maybe it's a little swagger. Perhaps it's a bit of attitude. You could say we know the real thing, and we can smell a phony a mile away. They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, but we know better.

Let's face it: People from Detroit have a little something extra. Maybe it's a little swagger. Perhaps it's a bit of attitude. You could say we know the real thing, and we can smell a phony a mile away. They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, but we know better. To thrive in Detroit requires that something extra, a special smoothness, some additional spice, or that fundamental authenticity that puts you over the top — all while playing to one of the toughest audiences available. Too long, other metropolitan regions have thumbed their noses at metro Detroit, even as they've gratefully accepted our exports — our cars, our music, our talented actors, our home-grown products. But that's changing: The spotlight is on our fair city in a way it hasn't been for 50 years. These days, international media come to town to take the measure of our musicians, activists, restaurateurs, artists, athletes, and entrepreneurs. Naturally, we think it's not only deserved but long past due. For proof, one need only look at our big Best of Detroit issue, a sort of showcase of the very things that make our region sensational, with a jibe or two to boot. And you'll be guided through this pageant of wonders by none other than those lovable scamps embedded in the scene, our scribes, who bring you the latest on Detroit week after week. So excuse us if we're a little cocksure, but when you add up everything we have to offer, it just goes right to your head. “Big head” photo shoot: Photos by Marvin Shaouni. Models provided by the Parade Company: Jennifer Barylski, Patty Flack. John White, Larry Pocza, Dave Ewart, Kari Shepley, Scott Stein, Matthew Freeman. Best New Restaurant (Open Less Than Two Years) in Oakland County: Bistro 82 Best Appetizer Menu: Bistro 82

Spring brings bunches of new metro Detroit brunchesMay 23, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Bistro 82's Scott Sadoff, director of operations for parent company AFB Hospitality Group, also sees spring and summer as prime season for brunch's relaxed, leisurely pace and more adventurous menus.

Like dandelions — but much more welcome — new brunches are popping up all over metro Detroit this spring. Spurred by increased competition among restaurants as well as warmer weather, the lazy Sunday morning repast seems to be having a moment here. "Brunch just can't be ignored now. Especially in Birmingham, everybody is doing brunch," says chef-owner Paul Grosz, who recently added it to his schedule at The Stand in competitive downtown Birmingham. Not offering it, he recently said, is "like leaving money on the table." It's the same in Detroit, where stylish new dining spots seem to open almost weekly. Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, which debuted this month in Midtown, plans to eventually add brunch to its repertoire, joining several of last year's successful newcomers, including Selden Standard, Dime Store and Gold Cash Gold. Last week, Joe Muer Seafood at the RenCen resumed its upscale midday Sunday meal to capitalize on its wide views of the Detroit River and its coveted patio seating, also facing the water. The white-tablecloth restaurant began brunch last May but ended it in the fall after attendance declined. "As long as the weather is nice, people seem to be more interested" in brunching, says owner Joe Vicari. The views and patio "are a big attraction," he adds. The menu ranges from deviled-crab-and-bacon Benedicts and shrimp and grits to waffles topped with bananas, walnuts and caramel sauce, along with bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas. Bistro 82's Scott Sadoff, director of operations for parent company AFB Hospitality Group, also sees spring and summer as prime season for brunch's relaxed, leisurely pace and more adventurous menus. The upscale Royal Oak restaurant — which served a memorable brunch last summer before suspending it last fall — is bringing it back May 31. "We're doing our brunch seasonally, from Memorial Day to Labor Day," Sadoff said. "As the weather turns, you see a lot more people walking up and down the streets and wanting to get out and experience everything the cities have to offer, and we just want to be a part of that," he says. Many of last year's most popular entrées will be back, he says, including a luscious oatmeal-style quinoa dish and a decadent, Asian-accented pork belly Benedict. Yet another Royal Oak brunch will debut in June, when the newly renovated Andiamo Trattoria on Main Street will begin service, Vicari noted. From a business perspective, brunch is beneficial in several ways, says Epicurean Group president Eric Djordjevic. The company's Lakes restaurant, adjacent to the Met Hotel in Troy's Crooks Corridor, introduced Sunday brunch a month ago. One of its most popular menu options is a design-your-own Benedict, choosing among proteins that range from rib eye to crab cakes, several different breads and five sauces. By offering brunch, "We're trying to target folks who live in the area," he said. Guests rarely dine out more than once a day, and Sunday nights are slow because people are winding down after the weekend. With brunch, "we're trying to capture business during a time of day when people are out and active, after church and running errands and things like that," he said. It's also a good marketing tool, he added: "It gets people in the door to experience a less-expensive meal period and increases familiarity with our brand." For brunch lovers looking for new places to try this spring, here's a selection of ones that have opened since around this time last year, listed alphabetically. As always, it's smart to call to confirm hours and ask whether reservations are recommended. 220 Merrill, Birmingham: Attractive, diverse menu ranges from cold smoked salmon to crispy chicken-and-waffles and build-your-own omelets. Stylish crowd; busy bar. (220 E. Merrill; 248-646-2220; www.220restaurant.com) DFP Brunch Addison Stuffed berry French toast at Addision Eatery in Midtown Detroit is garnished with fresh berries and Melba sauce and served with warm maple syrup. Photo Nov. 2, 2014, by Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press (Photo: Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Pres) Addison Eatery, Detroit: "American cuisine with a twist" in a 1905 Albert Kahn-designed former hotel on Woodward, just north of the Fox entertainment district. Generous portions; pretty plates. (3111 Woodward; 313-832-3111. www.addisoneatery.com) DFP Brunch Ale Mary.jpegBuy Photo Huevos rancheros is on the brunch menu at Ale Mary’s Craft Beer Hall in Royal Oak. (Photo: Sylvia Rector/Detroit Free Press) Ale Mary's Craft Beer Hall, Royal Oak: Small place but big flavors in a from-scratch menu. Look for braised short-rib hash, huevos rancheros, Benedicts, lemon ricotta pancakes and more. Beeramisu for dessert. (316 S. Main; 248-268-1939 and www.alemarysbeer.com) DFO Brunch Bills.JPGBuy Photo Eggs Benedict with pit ham, poached eggs and hollandaise at Bill’s in Bloomfield Hills. (Photo: Sylvia Rector/Detroit Free Press) Bill's, Bloomfield Hills: Dishes run from deluxe and decadent to modern and health-conscious; clubby, classy setting. Served both Saturday and Sunday. Look for chalkboard specials; order the James Beard's Hash Browns. (39556 Woodward; 248-646-9000. www.billsbloomfieldhills.com) DFO Brunch Bird Bread.JPGBuy Photo The Tomato Benedict is on the brunch menu at The Bird and the Bread restaurant in Birmingham. (Photo: Sylvia Rector/Detroit Free Press) The Bird and The Bread, Birmingham: Casual setting suitable for families; good for larger parties. Big menu includes many non-brunch dishes in addition to Benedicts, scrambles, pancakes, etc. (210 S. Old Woodward; 248-203-6600. www.thebirdandthebread.com) DFP Bistro 82Buy Photo Bistro 82’s quinoa “oatmeal” is a favorite at brunch, resuming May 31. Cinnamon-kissed quinoa combined with diced Granny Smith apple, raisins and nuts are topped with blueberries, strawberries and bananas. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) Bistro 82, Royal Oak: Brunch begins May 31. French-inspired dishes beautifully presented at nice prices. Menu ranges from avocado toast with shirred egg to seafood hash to Greek yogurt panna cotta with granola. (401 S. Lafayette; 248-542-0082. www.bistro82.com) DFP Brunch MOCAD.jpgBuy Photo The Sunday brunch menu changes weekly at Cafe 78 in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (MOCAD), where guests enjoy espresso drinks, pastries, stylish small-plate dishes, music and pop-up shopping. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) Café 78, Detroit: Located in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Stylish small plates and craft cocktails, pastries, Anthology coffee, music, art and pop-up shopping. Spare, urban space befitting its art-museum location. (4454 Woodward; 313-784-9636. www.cafe78detroit.com) DFP Brunch Dime.jpg Sausage hash with a fried egg, spicy sauce and microgreens at Dime Store in downtown Detroit. (Photo: Josh Taylor) Dime Store, Detroit: Casual self-described "American brunch bar" downtown. Bennies, breakfast sandwiches and hashes including "duck bop" with confit duck and Korean BBQ glaze. Liquor license. (719 Griswold, 313-962-9106. www.eatdimestore.com) In Corktown, Gold Cash Gold’s opening brunch menu includedBuy Photo In Corktown, Gold Cash Gold’s opening brunch menu included a rustic chorizo frittata with onions and peppers. (Photo: Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press) Gold Cash Gold, Detroit: Rustic but modern menu features local, seasonal ingredients and big flavors. House-baked breads; diverse cocktail list. House specialty: pickle-brined fried chicken and waffle. (2100 Michigan in Corktown; 313-242-0770. www.goldcashgolddetroit.com) Wheat pancakes topped with warm three-berry sauce,Buy Photo Wheat pancakes topped with warm three-berry sauce, candied pecans and powdered sugar were featured on the Grille Midtown's opening brunch menu in 2014. The restaurant is in Detroit. Photo 2014 by Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) The Grille Midtown, Detroit: Diverse menu ranges from a pulled-pork nachos starter to a half-dozen entrée salads, jambalaya hash bowl, Grand Marnier French toast and burgers and sandwiches. Moderate prices; attractive space. (3919 Woodward, 313-832-0892 and www.thegrillemidtown.com) DFP MuerBuy Photo Shrimp and grits at Joe Muer Seafood’s new Sunday brunch is served with poached eggs, Swiss chard and étouffée sauce. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit: Upscale menu and attentive service at the RenCen. White-tablecloth setting with wide Detroit River views; some patio seating. Try the Joe Muer Benedict with deviled crab and bacon. (400 Renaissance Center; 313-567-6837. www.joemuer.com) DFO Brunch Lakes.JPG The New Yorker at the Lakes in Troy, features herbed cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers. (Photo: Leta Crisman) Lakes, Troy: Atmospheric setting with a nautical theme. Menu offers wide price range and diverse dishes, including build-your-own Benedicts, prime rib and chicken-and-waffles. (5500 Crooks; 248-646-7900.www.lakestroy.com) DFP Brunch Root.JPGBuy Photo Buttermilk-fried chicken breasts and Belgian waffle at The Root Restaurant in White Lake Township. (Photo: Sylvia Rector/Detroit Free Press) The Root Restaurant & Bar, White Lake Township: Hearty dishes with sophisticated flavors. Standouts include chicken-and-waffles, house-made lox and lemon ricotta pancakes. Stylish and laid back. (340 Town Center Blvd.; 248-698-2400. www.therootrestaurant.com) House-made biscuits and gravy with house-made breakfastBuy Photo House-made biscuits and gravy with house-made breakfast sausage and scallions is featured on the brunch menu at Selden Standard in Detroit. (Photo: Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press) Selden Standard, Detroit: Always something new on chef Andy Hollyday's small but excellent, ever-changing seasonal menu of shared plates. The must-have side dish is wood-grilled pork belly with sweet chile-maple glaze. (3921 Second; 313-438-5055. www.seldenstandard.com) The braised beef short rib hash skillet on the brunchBuy Photo The braised beef short rib hash skillet on the brunch menu at the Stand in Birmingham is topped with two eggs and includes diced fingerling potatoes and onions, spring pea shoots and fresh thyme. (Photo: Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press) The Stand Gastro Bistro, Birmingham: Relaxing atmosphere, great service and refined but approachable menu by chef Paul Grosz in an airy, white-tablecloth setting. Braised beef short-rib hash is a favorite. (34977 Woodward; 248-220-4237. www.thestandbistro.com) At the Yemans Street pop-up in Hamtramck, chef Jeremy At the Yemans Street pop-up in Hamtramck, chef Jeremy Kalmus’ ever-changing Sunday brunch menu includes dishes like this version of eggs Benedict, served with a cornbread base. (Photo: Jeremy Kalmus) Yemans Street, Hamtramck: Brunch begins Sunday at this attractive, permanent pop-up location with veteran chef Jeremy Kalmus presiding. Menu changes weekly. Dishes are a la carte. Walk in; no reservations needed for brunch. (2995 Yemans;www.yemansstreet.squarespace.com) Contact Sylvia Rector: 313-222-5026 and srector@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @SylviaRector.

Memorial Day Weekend: Outdoor Barbecues, Mead Festivals, and MoreMay 21, 2015

Eater Detroit

Bistro 82's brunch returns Sunday. Check out the menu.

From weekend dining to Detroit airport food. Here are a couple picks for Memorial Day Weekend dining. Stay tuned for updates and hit up the tipline with any additional suggestions. Rock City Eatery brings back brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday. Bistro 82's brunch returns Sunday. Check out the menu. B. Nektar Meadery will debut new, seasonal brews as well as old favorites at Spring Fest, May 23 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Ferndale. The event features DJ sets and plenty of food trucks. Drifter Coffee's launches May 24 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Woodbridge Community Garden. The Hero or Villain food truck will be on site. Motorcity Wine is throwing its annual 4-day party with live music and barbecue by chef John Breeland. Parker Street Market is hosting a block party from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday with music, food, and drink. The event will help raise money for the market's expansion project. Donations of any amount include a free beer ticket. Other ideas for the weekend: Explore as many of these patios as you can. Out late for Movement? These places have late-night eats. Celebrate the long weekend with brunch in Detroit or explore further abroad. Try out some new cocktail destinations or go straight for the ice-cold stuff. Cross some of Detroit's most essential restaurants off your list or try someplace completely new. Find out which burger you should eat right now. Do a taco crawl and then find a bar a pitcher of sangria. Nurse a hangover with some poutine or a Coney dog. Stay caffeinated. Traveling? Find good food in Detroit Metropolitan Airport (or any U.S. airport for that matter). Hop into the Eater Detroit forum and share your barbecue tips and more.

Top 10 Takeover dinner series lineupMay 10, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Bistro 82, Royal Oak. Voted the Free Press Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant in online balloting, Bistro 82 has it all: sleek, contemporary style and a menu that knocks us out with flavor and finesse.

Metro Detroit's 10 Best New Restaurants are diverse in style and concept, and you can expect their takeovers to be as different as the venues themselves. Here's the schedule — subject to change — of the remaining dinners: ■ June 30: Selden Standard, Detroit. The Free Press 2015 Restaurant of the Year is THE place to go in Detroit. Dining here is relaxed and fun, and we never tire of his seasonal shared-plates menu, which always holds new delights and is never, ever boring. Every component is made in house with unrelenting attention to detail. DETROIT FREE PRESS Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year 2015 ■ July 13: Antietam, Detroit. Owner Gregory Holm's Art Deco dining room is a dreamy, one-of-a-kind creation; the innovative cocktails and French-inspired menu are equally artful. DFP takeover lead li (5).JPGBuy Photo This is a reflection of the front room of Antietam restaurant at 1428 Gratiot in Detroit. (Photo: Regina H. Boone Detroit Free Press) ■ July 27: Gold Cash Gold, Detroit.Chef Josh Stockton's culinary craftsmanship and passion for local, seasonal ingredients shows in every plate. We love the setting in a former pawn shop whose Gold Cash Gold sign gave the restaurant its name. DFP takeover lead li (6).JPGBuy Photo The Gold Cash Gold dining room is decorated simply with stained glass panels built with salvaged warehouse windows, a ceiling made of reclaimed wooden lathe from the restaurant’s old walls, and shelves holding cans of the chef’s homemade pickles. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) DETROIT FREE PRESS Buy tickets for next Top 10 Takeover dinner: Top of the Pontch ■ Aug. 10: Bistro 82, Royal Oak. Voted the Free Press Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant in online balloting, Bistro 82 has it all: sleek, contemporary style and a menu that knocks us out with flavor and finesse. Bistro 82 restaurant in Royal Oak is one of the topBuy Photo Bistro 82 restaurant in Royal Oak is one of the top ten new restaurants to open in 2014. (Photo: Romain Blanquart Detroit Free Press) ■ Aug. 27: The Bird & The Bread, Birmingham. This handsome, casually upscale spot seems to fit all kinds of occasions and guests with a from-scratch menu that ranges from hearth-fired pizzas and pots of mussels to stout-braised lamb shanks and breast-and-ballotine of duck. DFP takeover lead li (10).JPGBuy Photo The Bird and the Bread in Birmingham boasts a stylish, casual interior and an approachable, from-scratch menu that ranges from wood-fired pizzas and roasted chicken to seafood, hearty stews and sandwiches. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) ■ Sept. 8: Bill's, Bloomfield Hills. Named for owner Bill Roberts, who has the midas touch with neighborhood restaurants, Bill's satisfies both modern and old-school tastes with beautiful, unerringly delicious dishes. DFP takeover lead li (12).JPGBuy Photo Brick Chicken at Bill’s in Bloomfield Hills is served with new potatoes, French beans and roasted cipollini onions. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) ■ Sept. 21: Ale Mary's Craft Beer Hall, Royal Oak. Can a chef-driven menu and house-made food succeed in a beer hall? Will customers appreciate the difference? Yes, and yes! The big, ever-changing craft beer list is one of the area's best, to boot. DFP takeover lead li (13).JPGBuy Photo Beer flights at Ale Mary’s Craft Beer Hall in Royal Oak are served in wooden boxes with chalkboard fronts, where servers write each brew’s name. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press) ■ Oct. 12: Johnny Noodle King, Detroit. Ramen shops popped up all over the U.S. last year, and Johnny's was the first in Detroit. You haven't tasted real ramen until you try it like this, with savory house-made broths, springy noodles and creative add-ins. DFP takeover lead li (14).JPGBuy Photo Johnny Noodle King ramen shop in Detroit also serves Vietnamese pho, prepared with rare beef, beef-and-tendon meatballs, honeycomb tripe, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts and other ingredients with rice noodles. (Photo: Sylvia Rector Detroit Free Press)

Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 Brings Back Sunday BrunchMay 12, 2015

Eater Detroit

Royal Oak eatery Bistro 82 is bringing back its summer series of Sunday brunches on May 31. The restaurant will offer French-inspired a la carte menu items like a foie gras scramble and croque madame as well as seafood.

Royal Oak eatery Bistro 82 is bringing back its summer series of Sunday brunches on May 31. The restaurant will offer French-inspired a la carte menu items like a foie gras scramble and croque madame as well as seafood. Fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice, mimosas, and McClure’s Bloody Marys are also available. With the updates come new Sunday hours. Brunch will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner service from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bistro 82’s brunch service will run through Labor Day. Peruse the full menu below: Bistro 82 Brunch Menu

10 Last-Minute Mother's Day Reservations for ProcrastinatorsMay 7th, 2015

Eater Detroit

It's almost Sunday and restaurants are quickly booking up for Mother's Day brunch and dinner. Never fear. There are still a few places around town with tables available and menus to satisfy mom. Here are 10 restaurants with open tables on Sunday. 1 Bistro 82 Be one of the first to test drive Bistro 82's brunch service on Mother's Day. The restaurant is mixing three types of mimosas with fresh-squeezed orange juice and offering an a la carte menu with everything from Alaskan king crab to raspberry almond french toast.

Dish & Design event focuses on dinner party planningApril 23, 2015

The Detroit News

When it comes to throwing the ultimate spring dinner party, preparation and planning are important for the meal and table decor, but have fun with it.

When it comes to throwing the ultimate spring dinner party, preparation and planning are important for the meal and table decor, but have fun with it. That was the advice of floral designer Jeffrey Jucewicz of Jeffrey Floral Architecture in Troy and sous chef Norman Fenton of Royal Oak's Bistro 82 at Wednesday's Dish & Design event at EuroAmerica Design. More than 140 readers gathered for a deconstructed dinner party at the event, sponsored by The Detroit News' Homestyle section. Readers rotated through appetizer, main course and dessert stations, sampling recipes from Bistro 82 and watching cooking demonstrations. They also got tips on creating spring table settings from Jucewicz. Jucewicz said when it comes to picking flowers for your table's centerpiece, pick one flower as a focal point and go from there. "Pick other things that will texturally complement it," said Jucewicz. Jucewicz said wheat grass, calla lilies and succulents, which can be mixed with other flowers and textures, are fun choices for creating beautiful table arrangements . "Do groupings," he said. "When you group things together, it gives it strength." Designer Jeffrey Jucewicz of Jeffrey Floral Architecture gives table design ideas at the Dish & Design Ultimate Dinner Party event Robin Buckson He made one table centerpiece by submerging several calla lilies in water in a low, round vase. He added floating candles and white flower buds. For another centerpiece, he used driftwood from a pet store and added succulents and air plants around it. "Have fun with it," Jucewicz said. "Keep it simple." At the main course station, Fenton of Bistro 82, which opened a year ago on South Lafayette, made one of the restaurant's new spring recipes: scallops with corn mousseline. Over a corn mousseline — made of roasted corn and cream, simmered and reduced — he layered a corn succotash with fiddlehead ferns, topped with a seared scallop and a tomato jam. To sear scallops well, use the right mix of oil, don't overcrowd the pan and only flip them once, Fenton said. "Food really speaks volumes to you," said Fenton. "When it's ready it will release itself to you." Pastry Chef Kenny Ilich made a yogurt panna cotta with a blueberry compote, a light, refreshing dessert perfect for spring or summer. Ilich used vanilla yogurt, but herbs could be used instead, or even green tea. "You can bring it home and play with it," said Ilich. The next Dish & Design event will be held this summer. mfeighan@detroitnews.com (313) 223-4686

The 38 Essential Detroit Restaurants, April 2015April 7, 2015

Eater Detroit

It's time for a new edition of the Detroit Eater 38. This quarterly list seeks to identify city's key dining establishments (with a few representatives from the suburbs). The 38 is Eater's answer to that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant..."

It's time for a new edition of the Detroit Eater 38. This quarterly list seeks to identify city's key dining establishments (with a few representatives from the suburbs). The 38 is Eater's answer to that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant..." Here, in alphabetical order, are the restaurants that represent the city's flavor, history, and style, rather than what's buzzy (check the monthly Heatmap for that). This time around we say goodbye to Cass Café, Russell Street Deli, Café Con Leche, Dakota Inn Rathskeller, Pita Café, St. CeCe's, Duly's, Sweet Potato Sensations, Om Café, Grand Trunk Pub, Jacoby's, Buddy's, and Dime Store. In their place, you'll find some more established recruits paired with newer editions, including Wright & Co. The Root, Revolver, Antietam, Bistro 82, Bucharest Grill, Inn Season Café, Brooklyn Street Local, Scotty Simpson's, Rock City Eatery, Pupuseria y Restaurante Salvadoreno, Mudgie's Deli, and Loui's. The list is updated quarterly. Did we leave out your classic Detroit eatery? Tell us about it. Then take a trip to the forums and let us know what your personal 38 looks like. 4 Bistro 82 Discover upscale, destination dining and a modern bar atmosphere at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. After opening last year, the bistro proved worthy of the #2 spot on The Detroit Free Press’s Best New Restaurants list. Try the escargot served out of the shell with puff pastry and pistou or the popular marrow appetizer.

Cravings April 2015

Hour Magazine

AARON F. BELEN, proprietor of Royal Oak’s hot Bistro 82 and Sabrage, proclaims that he “absolutely loves Phoenicia in Birmingham.

AARON F. BELEN, proprietor of Royal Oak’s hot Bistro 82 and Sabrage, proclaims that he “absolutely loves Phoenicia in Birmingham. I’m very consistent in my ordering, always getting a tomato and feta salad or house salad, hummus, and then shish tawook and their legendary BBQ sauce on the side.” If there’s room for dessert, “it’s baklava for sure.” Another favorite is Ronin, “which is across the street from my restaurant. When I go there, I always get the chicken teriyaki and ginger salad. And I’ve got to mention Franklin Hills Country Club, where I enjoy the deli salad with light dressing, and the chocolate and vanilla swirl with champagne for dessert. And their bread basket? It’s the best in town!”

Surprise! Eatery picks up diners' $5,182.19 TabFebruary 13, 2015

USA TODAY

DETROIT — Guests who dined at Royal Oak's Bistro 82 were shocked when they received their dinner bills Wednesday night — but not because the amounts were higher than expected. In fact, it was all free, courtesy of owner Aaron F. Belen's AFB Hospitality Group.

DETROIT — Guests who dined at Royal Oak's Bistro 82 were shocked when they received their dinner bills Wednesday night — but not because the amounts were higher than expected. In fact, it was all free, courtesy of owner Aaron F. Belen's AFB Hospitality Group. And as icing on the cake, the company donated a matching amount to the Royal Oak Boys & Girls Club. The total tab for the night was $5,182.19 in complimentary food and beverages and $5,182.19 in contributions to the youth organization. The unannounced gift to guests was in celebration of the restaurant's first anniversary and was Belen's way, he said, "of saying thank you to the people who've been loyal supporters and helped me fulfill our dream of bringing these two concepts to Michigan and Royal Oak." He also owns Sabrage, an upscale lounge and nightclub above the restaurant. Some guests "almost didn't believe it," said Justin Near, whose public relations company represents the restaurant. (Belen was not on hand because he was home nursing an ankle injury.) "Guests were thanking everyone they could — the servers, the hostesses, even the valet," Near said. The company mentioned in a radio interview earlier in the week that Wednesday night's anniversary would be marked by "a unique surprise," Near said, but there was no hint of what. "They probably thought it would be something like a flute of champagne or complimentary dessert," he said. Belen said he chose the Boys & Girls Club to support because it is dedicated to "giving kids a good path to go down" and teaches them they can succeed if they stay focused and pursue their dreams. "We are excited Bistro 82 has been so well-received," Belen said Thursday. "We're proud to have helped put a spotlight on Royal Oak as a new dining destination in metro Detroit." Noting that the restaurant had exceeded its first-year projections, he said the company is "currently looking at adding new concepts" in still-to-be-determined locations

DJ Konflikt lights up SabrageMarch 19, 2015

The Detroit News

After winning a $7.4 million lawsuit last week, Marvin Gaye's family now is signaling that it wants to negotiate songwriting credits and royalties for "Blurred Lines," which a jury decided infringed upon Gaye's 1977 song "Got to Give it Up." The Motown icon's three children — Nona, Frankie and Marvin III — filed an injunction Tuesday to stop distribution of the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams song.

Gaye family wants to stop 'Blurred Lines' After winning a $7.4 million lawsuit last week, Marvin Gaye's family now is signaling that it wants to negotiate songwriting credits and royalties for "Blurred Lines," which a jury decided infringed upon Gaye's 1977 song "Got to Give it Up." The Motown icon's three children — Nona, Frankie and Marvin III — filed an injunction Tuesday to stop distribution of the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams song. The Gayes also are seeking to amend the verdict to include rapper T.I., who is featured on the track, as well as the labels Universal, Interscope and Star Trak Entertainment. On Wednesday, his children issued a statement: "Our dad spent his life writing music ... he wrote from his heart and was a brilliant songwriter, arranger, producer and one-of-a-kind vocalist. If he were alive today, we feel he would embrace the technology available to artists and the diverse music choices and spaces accessible to fans who can stream a song at a moment's notice. But we also know he would be vigilant about safeguarding the artist's rights; a sacred devotion to not only the artist, but key in encouraging and supporting innovation." Detroiters on 'Empire' Everybody is talking about the adorable Detroiter, 5-year-old Leah Jeffries, who has been playing young "Lola" on the hit Fox TV show "Empire." Lola was supposedly the "surprise" daughter of Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett), from a brief marriage, until it was revealed by Jamal's father, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), that he, in fact, fathered the child. Well, there's another Metro Detroit native in the cast — Antoine McKay, who plays Bunkie Campbell, a thug cousin of Cookie (Taraji P. Henson). Lucious revealed in the finale, while under the influence of a sedative, that he killed Bunkie (Hey, Bunkie did threaten to burn down Lucious' house). Even though Bunkie's dead, McKay has played him in several flashbacks, and the way "Empire" is going, maybe they'll revive him. The veteran actor got his theatrical training at Eastern Michigan University and moved to Chicago to perform with Second City. He's now living in Evanston, Illinois. DJ Konflikt lights up Sabrage The air may have been a little nippy on Friday of last week, but guests at Royal Oak's super chic lounge Sabrage carried on as if they were in sultry Miami. Maybe it has to do with how hot this club has become every Friday and Saturday; or maybe it's because Friday's guest deejay, DJ Konflikt, happens to be one of Miami's fiercest. Whatever the case, several hundred young entrepreneurs and world-class party chasers were indulging in the club's plush amenities and high-end perks (the VIP bottle service included bottles of Dom Perignon Luminus — yes, the bottle illuminates — and Zim's pricey ultra-premium vodka). "What makes us unique is that the room is so small, it gives our guests the opportunity to interact with talent that usually only plays at major venues," said Sabrage owner Aaron F. Belen. Sabrage has regularly brought in celebrity DJs, including DJ Vice and record producer/rapper Jermaine Dupri (Janet Jackson's ex) who took to the Sabrage turntables in celebration of Belen's birthday in November. Appearing Saturday at Sabrage is DJ Cobra. Doors open at 10 p.m. swhitall@detroitnews.com chuckbennett@hotmail.com

NOW WE KNOW WHY BISTRO 82 WAS NAMED BEST NEW RESTAURANTMarch 6, 2015

Chick In The Mitt

Last time we wrote about Bistro 82 we told you alllllll about their amazing happy hour. In that same post, we promised to fill you in on their dinner menu and The Chicks don’t like to disappoint. So without further ado – let’s chat about the incredible dinning experience we had at Bistro 82

Last time we wrote about Bistro 82 we told you alllllll about their amazing happy hour. In that same post, we promised to fill you in on their dinner menu and The Chicks don’t like to disappoint. So without further ado – let’s chat about the incredible dinning experience we had at Bistro 82 – it’s now obvious why this place was named Best New Restaurant by the Detroit Free Press. Bistro 82 is located right on the corner of 4th and Lafayette at 401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067. They conveniently offer valet for $7 right in front of the entrance. There is also metered street parking surrounding the restaurant and the South Lafayette Parking Garage is less than a block away. The thing I love about Bistro 82 is that this upscale restaurant has a menu with a wide range of prices. You can swing in during happy and grab a $6 appetizer at the bar, but you can also take a seat in the dining room and enjoy decadent meal…and that’s exactly what we did. If I could have one meal over and over again it would be this one. We started out with the grand shellfish tower (mkt price)…and boooooy was it grand. It comes piled high with east oysters, west oysters, crab, jumbo shrimp, a whole poached lobster, green lip mussels and little neck clams. I was in HEAVEN. Then we moved on to the delicious main course of pan roasted cobia ($29) which was served with parmesan risotto, wild mushrooms, soy bean, english peas and buerre rouge. Still dreaming of the pan roasted cobia. We finished up this heavenly meal with chocolate decadence ($9) which was topped with banana mousse and came with salted caramel ice cream and peanut butter powder. If that wasn’t enough, we also tried the cinnamon-sugar beignets ($6) served with caramel and caramelized banana. Needless to say, there wasn’t a crumb left. The way I would describe the vibe in the dining room of Bistro 82 is upscale yet inviting. The employees we met were welcoming and friendly. Our server was willing to answer any questions we had about the menu and was great with recommendations. And to top is all off – this restaurant is beautifully decorated and is the perfect setting to enjoy an incredible meal. Great food, nice people and beautiful decor…they are best new restaurant for a reason. Stay tuned for a post about Sabrage - their nightclub located on the upper level of Bistro 82. The Chicks are headed there to celebrate Courtney’s birthday in a few weeks!

Bistro 82 • By Esther Allweiss IngberFebruary 26, 2015

The Jewish News

If attentive service and a handsome setting matter to you as much as access to first-rate food and beverages, then you can’t do much better than Bistro 82 and Sabrage Lounge, kicking up the excitement level in downtown Royal Oak. Bistro 82, winner of last year’s Jewish News readers’ poll for Best New Restaurant, is located on South Lafayette at the corner of Fourth Street.

If attentive service and a handsome setting matter to you as much as access to first-rate food and beverages, then you can’t do much better than Bistro 82 and Sabrage Lounge, kicking up the excitement level in downtown Royal Oak. Bistro 82, winner of last year’s Jewish News readers’ poll for Best New Restaurant, is located on South Lafayette at the corner of Fourth Street. Along with Sabrage, it’s part of a luxurious, two-story entertainment complex that celebrated its first anniversary Feb. 12. Owner Aaron Fenkell Belen, president and founder of Berkley-based AFB Hospitality Group, oversaw the renovation and design of the former tenant restaurant. Space was boosted to 9,500 square feet. The exterior facing Lafayette sports windows on both levels. Inside Bistro 82, the two walls opposite the windows feature a glowing onyx bar and a huge, multi-colored abstract by artist Stan Friedman. Softtouch, faux leather for seating in ivory also brightens the gray, contemporary dining room. Black chairs and dark gray tables left bare provide a contrast to the parade of white china. Spanish porcelain tiles cover floors. The cool vibe is enhanced by an unobtrusive, Harman-designed state-of-the-art sound system. “We used the best materials to elevate the guest experience,” Belen said. For example, “our NanaWall single track sliding glass system allows for proper insulation in the winter and open air dining in the summer.” Sabrage, a posh space that can be rented, offers a DJ and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. Guests may choose to continue their evening upstairs after dining on Executive Chef Derik Watson’s exquisite French-accented cuisine. He’s a veteran of Iridescence in Detroit’s MotorCity Casino, Rugby Grille in Birmingham and former Tribute restaurant in Farmington Hills. Sous chef Norman Fenton assists Watson. Visitors to Bistro 82 order from digital tablets instead of menus. Pressing the name of an item on the screen produces its picture, price and sometimes ingredients and/or wine pairings. Tablets allow for quick menu changes. My husband, Mike, and I chose the same soup at dinner. Wide-brimmed bowls held a mushroom medley. Simultaneously, two servers poured hot mushroom bisque over the mushrooms and presented a thin Parmesan cracker. The soup tasted earthy and light. Appetizers include lamb spare ribs, cauliflower Romesco and grilled artichoke. The chilled shellfish is popular. Mike’s entree was Wagyu hanger steak, perfectly prepared to his medium-well specification. His plate included always-yummy Béarnaise sauce. Cobia, the restaurant’s best-selling entree, has a taste similar to sea bass. Our personable server Dave helped me decide in favor of roasted sea scallops, his favorite. Bistro 82’s seafood chef perfectly seared my scallops. They came with parsnip puree and root vegetables, including salsify, which is pale with a hint of nuttiness. The presentation was gorgeous. My plate looked like the state of Florida, with six large scallops marking cities on a map. Green forgione sauce was on either side of the peninsula, resembling rolling waves. We shared ratatouille: pinwheel slices of squash, zucchini and eggplant with tomatoes. A little sea salt perked up the vegetables. For dessert, I chose bread pudding with candied pecans, almond creme, cherries and a dollop of Calder’s vanilla ice cream. Joseph McGlynn, the dining room manager, brought a little more ice cream in a tabletop holder with a depression. Caramel sauce goes there for dipping tiny cinnamonsugar beignets. Another notable dessert is yogurt panna cotta, blueberry compote with lemon. Scott Sadoff is director of operations for AFB Hospitality Group. Assistant general manager Matthew Hollander oversees Bistro 82 and its beverage program, featuring 350-500 bottles in the bistro’s wine cellar and 500 in Sabrage’s champagne cellar. Belen aptly named his restaurant Bistro 82, “because 1982 was one of the best in 100 years for vintages in the Bordeaux wine region, and it’s also my birth year.” RT BISTRO 82 401 S. Lafayette Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 542-0082 www.bistro82.com $$$ out of $$$$ B

A Good Start!February 26, 2015

The Jewish News

Surviving the first and second years may point to longer life for a restaurant. One- or two-year restaurant anniversaries are usually good barometers of things to come for their smart owners and operators … It may prove that many of the usual kinks have been removed and that any stormy times might have ended …

One- or two-year restaurant anniversaries are usually good barometers of things to come for their smart owners and operators … It may prove that many of the usual kinks have been removed and that any stormy times might have ended … That milder weather in their operations is finally ahead! Such is the case for two eateries that have wisely done much to provide hoped-for longevity. Bistro 82 at Lafayette and Fourth, Royal Oak, feting anniversary No. 1 … and Bella Piatti, on Townsend, Birmingham, celebrating anniversary No. 2 … have both made wonderful achievements in their main purposes … Each has done much in preparing for long runs in the restaurant business. Aaron F. Belen, owner of Bistro 82, likes to use his middle initial although many folks still call him Andy … He is just in his early 30s and answers many queries by saying that “82” was the year he was born and a great year for French Bordeaux wine … And that the bistro’s second-floor Sabrage Lounge was named after a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber used for ceremonial occasions. He is the son of Lisa Fenkell, Birmingham, and Dr. Steven Belen, West Bloomfield, and the grandson of the late Morrie Fenkell … His director of operations of their AFB Hospitality Group, Scott Sadoff, is the son of Beth and Edward Sadoff of West Bloomfield. Executive Chef Derik Watson’s excellent fine dining track record is from his widerange culinary expertise that includes the influences of French dining. Bella Piatti in Birmingham, celebrating anniversary No. 2, is owned by Liz and Nino Cutraro who have loads of restaurant experience (Taboo, Metropolitan Music Cafe, Ultimate Sports Bar, Intermezzo Italian Ristorante, Amici’s Italian Village, Luigi’s Trattoria, etc.) … Their fervor and expertise are much appreciated by the many customers their restaurant has attracted in just a short existence. Liz and Nino’s restaurant knowhow is a huge plus in that it provides answers to the sometimes usual firstand second-year problems… Whatever issues that may have arisen in the early days of Bella Piatti have, no doubt, been obliterated. Their wonderful Venetianborn Executive Chef Francesco Apollonia is likewise imbued with fine dining experience and also back in the early 1990s was owner of his own Italian cooking school … He is a whiz at Bella Piatti’s Italian cuisine, adding touches of his own Venetian styling to many favorites … And Operations Manager Kevin Mazziotta is known as having few equals to his very fine talents in assisting Liz and Nino in their wonderful dining offerings at Bella Piatti. Ah, the wilderness of the opening year! … How lovely the road ahead may look for restaurants celebrating their first and second anniversaries. THE WINDOW NOTE calls for “Proper Attire” … At least it is every other Sunday for brunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at La Dolce Vita, Woodward, Detroit … That’s when most of the servers and some other employees come to work wearing pajamas … Sounds like something keeping in tune with a Sunday brunch … During the warm weather, we’re told, many customers also come in pjs. QUESTION & ANSWER DEPT. … “When I was a little girl in the ’60s, we used to go Downtown for High Holiday services held at the Veterans Memorial Building and then sometimes go to Lafayette for a Coney dog and chocolate cream pie. The owners would be standing outside or behind their big windows where they made the dogs, waving to us to go to their restaurant. “There were three Coney restaurants in a row on Lafayette. The American and the Lafayette. I’m trying to find out the name of the third one next to them. I’ve called the Detroit Historical Society, and they didn’t know after searching for 20 minutes. I called the restaurants, and they didn’t know either. I’m on a mission to find out that third Coney Island name. Do you know it?” … Doreen Bernstein. (Yes, it was the Senate Coney Island, also owned by the two brothers who owned American and Lafayette Coney Islands next door, Gus and Bill Keros.) EVERY DAY SEEMS to add to its fastgrowing reputation as probably the premiere headquarters for sugar-free goodies in this region … And it is welcomed with open arms by those in combat against the use of too much sugar. Chocoholics and the health-conscious will go gaga over the newest biggie feature by American Bulk Food in the West Bloomfield Plaza, Orchard Lake Road, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. It will soon also have a complete section devoted strictly to sugar-free chocolate items … available by the piece or by the pound … The awaited separate sugar-free chocolate display will include giant turtles with chocolate and caramel, large clusters of caramel with almonds or pecans or macadamia nuts, truffle bars, chocolate-dipped pretzels, cherry cordials, melt-aways (chocolate and mint), etc. The mouth-watering sugar-free chocolates will be on display … and for sale at American Bulk Food beginning Tuesday, March 10. OLDIE BUT GOODIE DEPT. … The prosecuting attorney called an elderly woman to the stand and asked, “Do you know me?” She said, “Yes, I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie. You manipulate people and talk behind their backs. You think you’re a big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you!” The lawyer was stunned. He pointed across the room and asked, “Do you know the defense attorney?” She again replied, “Yes, I’ve known him since he was a youngster, too. I used to babysit him. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, narrow-minded and has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him!” The judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both lawyers to the bench. In a quiet voice, he said menacingly, “If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!” CONGRATS … To Michelle Sheridan on her birthday … To Melvin “Mel” and Sybil Markowitz on their 17th anniversary. ■ Danny’s email is dannyraskin@sbcglobal.net.

Cheers: Fill up during Royal Oak Restaurant WeekFebruary 24, 2015

Detroit Free Press

With Detroit’s dining scene enjoying a new restaurant debut nearly every week, it’s easy to forget about suburban destinations.

With Detroit’s dining scene enjoying a new restaurant debut nearly every week, it’s easy to forget about suburban destinations. Royal Oak Restaurant Week kicks off Friday, and aims to entice diners with more than two dozen participating restaurants. The deal is $15, $25 or $35 for a three-course meal, and the specials run through March 8. Some of the highlights are Bastone’s $25 dinner, with your choice of onion soup, cod or baked goat cheese for a first course. Entrees offered are seafood waffle, grilled strip loin or wild mushroom tortellini. You can’t choose incorrectly with dessert: toffee pudding, banana fritters or cherry cheesecake. Everything should pair well with the house-brewed beer. Love wine? Vinotecca has a great selection and a $35 fixed price dinner that will attract seafood-lovers with choice of cod tostada, scallops or a goat cheese-stuffed avocado to start. Entree choices are vino filet, sushi sampler or seafood risotto. Dessert choices are the same as sister restaurant Bastone. The accoladed Bistro 82, which just celebrated its first anniversary, has a $35 fixed price dinner that features french onion soup dumplings, vegetarian stuffed peppers, wagyou hanger steak and cinnamon-sugar beignets. Also new, beer bar Ale Mary’s has a $15 lunch menu for Royal Oak Restaurant Week that is stocked with comfort foods like Gouda ale soup, drunken chicken Philly and a chocolate stout cake. Visit rorainfo.com for more details and menus. Vivio’s says goodbye to longtime friend If you’ve visited Vivio’s Food and Spirits in Eastern Market in the past decade, chances are good that you conversed with affable manager Willis Davis Jr. A big Detroit Tigers fan with a unique sense of humor, Davis passed away this month. Vivio’s will celebrate Davis’ life with a memorial from 1-5 p.m. March 8 with a “story and legend” time at 3 p.m. mbaetens@detroitnews.com twitter.com/melodybaetens Food and beverage events Journey through Pilsners at World of Beer: A look at artisan takes on pilsners from around the world, this beer bar chain hosts a monthlong event highlighting brews from Pilsner Urquell to local craft beers. Unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell will be tapped March 12. Event runs through March 15. 1300 S. University, Ann Arbor. (734) 913-2430. Cooking with Slow Ride at Mirepoix Cooking School: Cook with New Belgium’s Slow Ride Session IPA and learn about beer pairing and using beer as an ingredient. 6-8 p.m. Thurs. $69.99. 1203 S. Main, Royal Oak. mirepoixcookingschool.com. Mac ‘N’ Brews and Comfort Food at Royal Oak Farmers Market: Enjoy gooey, savory macaroni and cheese from 20 area restaurants, plus desserts, craft beer and other beverages. Ticket includes food samples and 10 beer samples, VIP tickets get you 20 beer samples and early entry. 7:30 p.m. Thurs. Early bird tickets are $35, $50 VIP. 316 E. 11 Mile, Royal Oak. macnbrews.com. Michigan Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ball Park: One of the biggest beer events in the state, this 10th annual festival features 800 craft beers from 88 Michigan breweries. 3-7 p.m. Fri. and 1-6 p.m. Sat. $45 in advance. 4500 West River Drive Northeast, Grand Rapids. mibeer.com. Fire and Ice Dinner at Rattlesnake Club: Chefs Chris and Jeff created a menu of flaming sausages, icy oysters, chilled seafood carpaccio and grilled beef for their “fire and ice” themed meal. 6:30 p.m. Fri. $80, includes wine pairings. 300 River Place Drive, Detroit. (313) 567-4400, ext. 6226. Belgian Beer Tasting Dinner at Monk Beer Bar: Belgian dishes like mussels and waffle sandwiches will be paired up with beers from the same country. The four-course dinner is 25% off for members of the Monk Beer Abbey Club. 7 p.m. March 4. $25. 109 E. Fifth, Royal Oak. Call (248) 544-6250 to RVSP. Melody Baetens

Bistro 82: Cauliflower RomescoFebruary 19, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Romesco is a tomato and red pepper-based sauce with nuts. In this recipe from Bistro 82, Marcona almonds are the nut of choice, giving the sauce a sweet flavor. The espelette pepper is a chili pepper that hails from France's Basque region. Look for it in ground form at some specialty stores. You can substitute hot Hungarian paprika.

Cauliflower Romesco Serves: 3 to 4 (as a side dish) / Preparation time: 30 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes Romesco is a tomato and red pepper-based sauce with nuts. In this recipe from Bistro 82, Marcona almonds are the nut of choice, giving the sauce a sweet flavor. The espelette pepper is a chili pepper that hails from France's Basque region. Look for it in ground form at some specialty stores. You can substitute hot Hungarian paprika. 3 red peppers, roasted and skinned 1 Roma tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped 1/4 cup roasted garlic 1/4 cup Marcona almonds 1/4 cup garlic oil or olive oil 1/4 cup sherry vinegar 1 teaspoon espelette or Basque pepper Salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon canola oil 6 ounces multicolored cauliflower (white, green, orange, purple) cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces 1 tablespoon soybeans (edamame) 1 to 2 tablespoons softened golden raisins 2 tablespoons green peas 1 tablespoon pine nuts 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Pea tendrils, optional, for garnish In a food processor or blender, combine the red pepper and tomato on low speed until it has a chunky consistency. Add the roasted garlic and Marcona almonds. Process until an almost smooth puree. With the motor running, add the garlic oil, sherry vinegar and espelette pepper until it reaches desired smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. Add the cauliflower and sauté until it is slightly soft in texture and caramelized. Once the cauliflower has reached desired doneness, add the soybeans, golden raisins, green peas and pine nuts. Sauté for at least 45 seconds or just until the soybeans are warm, season with salt and pepper to taste and finish with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Serve all of the vegetables over the Romesco sauce and garnish with pea tendrils. From Bistro 82, Royal Oak. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutrition information not available.

Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant: Bistro 82February 18, 2015

Detroit Free Press

Diners have spoken: Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is the Free Press Readers Choice Best New Restaurant of 2015. "We were pleasantly surprised," owner Aaron F. Belen said after votes were tallied from the roughly weeklong online voting period in which readers were asked to declare their favorite of the many new restaurants that opened in metro Detroit between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 last year.

Diners have spoken: Bistro 82 in Royal Oak is the Free Press Readers Choice Best New Restaurant of 2015. "We were pleasantly surprised," owner Aaron F. Belen said after votes were tallied from the roughly weeklong online voting period in which readers were asked to declare their favorite of the many new restaurants that opened in metro Detroit between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 last year. He credited his employees for the win. "Our associates provided the very,very consistent and excellent experience that people have responded to," he said. "It comes down to execution." But it is also the restaurant's style and character that make it stand out, he added. "People gravitate to the fact that it's cool and unique. It's a major-market experience ... that does not feel like it's in Michigan. I built it to say that — that you don't have to go out of town to experience that. That's what makes us unique and I think that's why we won." The restaurant, which opened last February, features a refined, contemporary approach to French bistro cuisine, served in a sleek, sophisticated dining room decorated in white, gray and black with a long glass wall overlooking the street, vivid modern art paintings and a glowing onyx bar at the entrance. "Not to knock other places," but many look and feel alike, he said. "This really feels different from other options in the market," Belen said. Executive chef Derik Watson's food complements the setting perfectly with beautifully composed plates, the finest ingredients, and the kind of deep, clean, balanced flavors that come from classic techniques. The menu ranges from towers of fresh seafood and imaginative starters to entrées that include rich, braised meats, fresh pan-seared seafood and artful desserts. The Readers' Choice Best New Restaurant voting followed the Free Press' selection of Detroit's Selden Standard as the 2015 Restaurant of the Year and the naming of the year's 10 Best New Restaurants — a list that put Bistro 82 second behind Selden Standard. Other new restaurants on the Top 10 list were Wright & Co. in Detroit; Antietam, Detroit; Bill's, Bloomfield Hills; Ale Mary's Craft Beer Hall, Royal Oak; Gold Cash Gold, Detroit; Johnny Noodle King, Detroit; the Bird & the Bread, Birmingham, and Top of the Pontch, Detroit. Contact Sylvia Rector: 313-222-5026 and srector@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @SylviaRector.

Detroit Bistro surprises guests, picks up all dinner tabsFebruary 17, 2015

The American Genius

So you finally take your girlfriend out for that (early) Valentine’s Day dinner you promised her months ago. You say she can get whatever she wants, and that money is a non-issue, hoping that she doesn’t take you up on that. But, on this fateful night, she decides to get two appetizers, the most expensive entree on the menu, and enough dessert to level an ox.

So you finally take your girlfriend out for that (early) Valentine’s Day dinner you promised her months ago. You say she can get whatever she wants, and that money is a non-issue, hoping that she doesn’t take you up on that. But, on this fateful night, she decides to get two appetizers, the most expensive entree on the menu, and enough dessert to level an ox. You wipe your brow as the server drops off the check, postponing the moment of reconciliation until the very last moment… As you open it, you read that the night’s total weighed in at $0.00. You shift nervously in your seat and search around for the Candid Camera crew. Other patrons exclaim with surprise at their identical bills, and a wild cheer erupts. Oh so very Oprah-esque In the heart of Detroit, Michigan lies a restaurant with a generosity that rivals Oprah’s “You get a car! And you get a car!” spiel. The Detroit Free Press already championed Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 as one of the area’s top ten restaurants of the year, but apparently that pat on the back wasn’t enough to satisfy the owner, Aaron Belen. The Free Press reports that in an effort to celebrate its first anniversary, the restaurant decided to cover everyone’s tab for the evening. Although the bistro hinted at “a unique surprise” in a radio interview, I don’t think any of the guests could have expected such a generous offering. And, to top it all off, Belen’s AFB Hospitality Group donated the equivalent of the night’s tab – $5,182.19 – to the Royal Oak Boys & Girls Club. If you’ve ever been to Detroit, you know that it’s a city with a lot of character. It’s folks like Belen, restaurants like Bistro 82, and companies like Belen’s Hospitality Group that help paint a prettier picture of an area of our country that has amassed a notoriously scarred reputation. Hats off to you, Belen, for a kind gift and a wise investment. You’re definitely getting more than $10k of good press from this.

Detroit restaurant picks up $5,000 tab for dinersFebruary 16, 2015

Fox News

Diners at Detroit’s Bistro 82 got sticker shock --in a good way-- when they got their dinner bills last Wednesday.

Diners at Detroit’s Bistro 82 got sticker shock --in a good way-- when they got their dinner bills last Wednesday. In celebration of eatery's first anniversary in business, owner Aaron Belen of AFB Hospitality Group decided to pick up the tab for guests at the Royal Oak neighborhood restaurant, reports Detroit Free Press. In total, Belen’s group picked up $5,182.19 in complimentary food and drinks for diners—and the company made a matching donation to the Royal Oak Boys & Girls Club. Belen told the Detroit Free Press that picking up the tab was simply his way “of saying thank you to the people who've been loyal supporters and helped me fulfill our dream of bringing these two concepts to Michigan and Royal Oak." Earlier in the week, the company had been teasing a “unique surprise” at Bistro 82 with a radio announcements to mark the anniversary but Justin Near, a PR executive who represents the restaurants, said locals probably “thought it would be something like a flute of champagne or complimentary dessert.” After getting their bills, grateful guests were reportedly thanking everyone on staff including servers, hostesses and valet. AFB Hospitality Group has plan to expand its dining portfolio throughout the Detroit area following the success of the Royal Oak restaurant. "We are excited Bistro 82 has been so well-received," Belen told the Detroit Free Press. "We're proud to have helped put a spotlight on Royal Oak as a new dining destination in metro Detroit."

Cupid sends bitter cold across Metro Detroit on Valentine's DayFebruary 15, 2015

WXYZ Channel 7

OAKLAND COUNTY (WXYZ) - Erin Zupicich of Royal Oak braved bitterly cold temperatures to dine out on Valentine’s Day.

OAKLAND COUNTY (WXYZ) - Erin Zupicich of Royal Oak braved bitterly cold temperatures to dine out on Valentine’s Day. “I got an update actually from the news that it was going to be this cold, so I was dressed appropriately,” she said. “I just moved here from Los Angeles so it’s quite a shock for me,” she added. The winter blast – which prompted a wind chill warning across Metro Detroit – is a shock for seasoned Michiganders, too. Many had big plans for the holiday. “We’re celebrating our anniversary and Valentine’s Day,” Juan Gilbert of Southfield said. Not to be deterred from a romantic evening, he filled his tires with air at a gas station before driving to Novi. “You gotta prepare for the worst,” Gilbert said. “You’re dealing with Michigan weather.” As officials at the Road Commission for Oakland County can attest, the frozen roads really don’t benefit from any salt when it gets this cold outside. “Especially when the wind is blowing the snow back over the road you can’t really see the road surface, I would urge caution,” spokesman Craig Bryson said. Michael Vendittelli and his wife were among dozens of couples who navigated the roads and made it to their Valentine’s Day destination. The couple dined at Royal Oak’s Bistro 82. His key to surviving the cold? “Have somebody that you can warm up with,” Vendittelli said. Others offered the tried and true practical advice. “Layer up, get out here and bear the cold. Drive safely,” Gilbert said.

Restaurant Surprises Diners With $5,182 Worth of Comped MealsFebruary 13, 2015

Eater National

Guests who dined at Detroit restaurant/stone cold stunner Bistro 82 received quite the surprise on their checks Wednesday night. According to Eater Detroit, the bills diners received totaled out to zero: Owner Aaron F. Belen decided to comp every diner's meal that night in secret celebration of the restaurant's one-year anniversary.

It was to celebrate the restaurants one-year anniversary. Guests who dined at Detroit restaurant/stone cold stunner Bistro 82 received quite the surprise on their checks Wednesday night. According to Eater Detroit, the bills diners received totaled out to zero: Owner Aaron F. Belen decided to comp every diner's meal that night in secret celebration of the restaurant's one-year anniversary. Belen tells USA Today that picking up the $5.182.19 tab was his way of "saying thank you to the people who've been loyal supporters." Belen took his generosity one step further and donated an matching sum of $5,182.19 to the Royal Oak Boys & Girls Club. A spokesperson for the restaurant adds that all the guests were surprised, and some of the diners "almost didn't believe it." Restaurants have been known to thank customers on their receipts. Last year news broke that a restaurant in Calgary, Canada offered families a $5 dollar discount for their "well behaved kids." Another restaurant in Washington gave a woman a $4 discount for her children's stellar behavior as well.

Royal Oak Restaurateur's Big $10,000 Jaw-Dropping MomentFebruary 13, 2015

Patch.com

Bistro 82 observed its first anniversary by paying guests’ checks – then matched that amount with a check to a treasured local charity.

Guests at a stylish Royal Oak restaurant got a sweet surprise Wednesday. The upscale Bistro 82, which offers sophisticated twists on French cuisine, showed some serious love to its customers – to be exact, $5,182.19 worth of love – when owner Aaron F. Belen picked up their checks, the Detroit Free Press reports. Nice, right? The gesture is better yet. AFB Hospitality Group, which owns Bistro 82 and Sabrage, an upscale lounge and nightclub above the restaurant, matched the generosity with $5,182.19 gift to the Royal Oak Boys & Girls Club. The surprise gesture was Belen’s way “of saying thank you to the people who’ve been loyal supporters and helped me fulfill our dream of bringing these two concepts to Michigan and Royal Oak.” Belen like’s the Boys & Girls Club mission of “giving kids a good path to go down,” he said, noting youths involved in the program learn they can succeed if they stay focused and pursue their dreams. “I really wanted to give back to everybody who has been so supportive of us,” Belen told Crain’s Detroit Business. “On so many levels we have had wonderful guests, wonderful associates and wonderful friends and family who have been very loyal to our cause. Plus, I wanted to directly help somebody who is in the city we do our business in. What’s better than helping kids?” Related: Two of Detroit Metro’s Best New Restaurants Are In Royal Oak The gesture caused guests’ jaws to drop to their fine china plates. Some guests “almost didn’t believe it,” said Justin Near, whose public relations company represents Bistro 82. “Guests were thanking everyone they could – the servers, the hostesses, even the valet,” he said. Diners may have had an inkling something was up after mention in a radio interview of “a unique surprise” Wednesday night to celebrate the restaurant’s one-year anniversary. “They probably thought it would be something like a flute of champagne or complimentary dessert,” he said. Belen said Bistro 82 exceeded its first-year projections,and his company is “currently looking at adding new concepts” in still-to-be-determined locations. Bistro 82, No. 2 on the Detroit Free Press list of the 10 Best New Restaurants opening in 2014, is located at 401 S. Lafayette Ave.

Owner of Bistro 82 in Royal Oak picks up $5,128 tab for all diners, gives same amount to Boys & Girls ClubFebruary 14, 2015

Macomb Daily

Dozens of diners at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak — along with the Boys & Girls Club — all got a delicious treat from the owner as he celebrated the eatery’s one-year anniversary.

Dozens of diners at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak — along with the Boys & Girls Club — all got a delicious treat from the owner as he celebrated the eatery’s one-year anniversary. “I wanted to do something really special and decided to surprise all our guests by paying everybody’s tab,” said owner Aaron Belen. The bill came to $5,182.19. Then Belen doubled down and donated the same amount to the Boys & Girls Club at 1545 E. Lincoln in Royal Oak. “It was one of the most creative and generous donations I have ever seen,” said Brett Tillander, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland & Macomb Counties. “His generosity will impact our club members well beyond Bistro 82’s one-year anniversary.” Belen, who is also a real estate investor, brought the upscale Bistro 82 restaurant to Fourth and Lafayette in Royal Oak and opened the Sabrage lounge on the second floor against the advice of some naysayers, he said. “I think we took a big risk bringing these two concepts to Michigan and the Royal Oak market,” he said. “I wanted to bring first-class dining and nightlife here and shake up the market a little bit.” Wednesday night’s freebie for all the diners garnered a lot of media coverage for the businesses, but it wasn’t the first time Bistro 82 has been in the limelight. The restaurant recently was discussed as a possible candidate for best restaurant in Metro Detroit by food writer Nathan Skid. Media also had a field day last June when Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary with a dinner at the restaurant. Affleck was in town while shooting the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” that is set for release March 25. “Having Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner choose the restaurant for their anniversary dinner is definitely a standout moment,” said Justin Near, head of Near Perfect Media and publicist for Belen’s AFB Hospitality Group. “It put the restaurant on the map nationally … It didn’t hurt that Ben became somewhat of a regular during his time here.” Belen’s charity gesture Wednesday was a way of giving back, he said. “It was really about trying to help the community we directly do business with in Royal Oak,” Belen said, “so we wanted to give back on a local level.” Belen has had a great experience in Royal Oak and is proud of putting a spotlight on the city as a dining destination in metro Detroit, he said. “I love the market and there’s a lot of opportunity for growth in the segment I’m in,” he said. “Clearly, a lot of people have gravitated here and support what we are doing.”

Bistro 82 Picks Up a $5,182 TabFebruary 13, 2015

Eater.com

One Year In—Wednesday evening Bistro 82, winner of Eater's 2014 Stone Cold Stunner Award, picked up the tab for all of it's customers, a sum total of $5,182.19, in honor of their one-year anniversary.

One Year In—Wednesday evening Bistro 82, winner of Eater's 2014 Stone Cold Stunner Award, picked up the tab for all of it's customers, a sum total of $5,182.19, in honor of their one-year anniversary. Additionally, the restaurant donated the same amount to Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak. "This donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak will help to continue the organization's mission to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens," says Aaron F. Belen, owner of Bistro 82. [EaterWire]

Surprise! Bistro 82 picks up $5,182.19 in dinner tabsFebruary 12, 2015

Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press

The total tab for the night was $5,182.19 in complimentary food and beverages and $5,182.19 in contributions to the youth organization. The unannounced gift to guests was in celebration of the restaurant's first anniversary and was Belen's way, he said, "of saying thank you to the people who've been loyal supporters and helped me fulfill our dream of bringing these two concepts to Michigan and Royal Oak."

Guests who dined at Royal Oak's Bistro 82 were shocked when they received their dinner bills Wednesday night — but not because the amounts were higher than expected. In fact, it was all free, courtesy of owner Aaron F. Belen's AFB Hospitality Group. And as icing on the cake, the company donated a matching amount to the Royal Oak Boys & Girls Club. The total tab for the night was $5,182.19 in complimentary food and beverages and $5,182.19 in contributions to the youth organization. The unannounced gift to guests was in celebration of the restaurant's first anniversary and was Belen's way, he said, "of saying thank you to the people who've been loyal supporters and helped me fulfill our dream of bringing these two concepts to Michigan and Royal Oak." He also owns Sabrage, an upscale lounge and nightclub above the restaurant. Some guests "almost didn't believe it," said Justin Near, whose public relations company represents the restaurant. (Belen was not on hand because he was home nursing an ankle injury.) "Guests were thanking everyone they could — the servers, the hostesses, even the valet," Near said. The company mentioned in a radio interview earlier in the week that Wednesday night's anniversary would be marked by "a unique surprise," Near said, but there was no hint of what. "They probably thought it would be something like a flute of champagne or complimentary dessert," he said. Belen said he chose the Boys & Girls Club to support because it is dedicated to "giving kids a good path to go down" and teaches them they can succeed if they stay focused and pursue their dreams. "We are excited Bistro 82 has been so well-received," Belen said Thursday. "We're proud to have helped put a spotlight on Royal Oak as a new dining destination in metro Detroit." Noting that the restaurant had exceeded its first-year projections, he said the company is "currently looking at adding new concepts" in still-to-be-determined locations. Named one of metro Detroit's 10 Best New Restaurants of 2015 by the Free Press this month, Bistro 82 features sophisticated takes on French bistro cuisine in a lively, stylishly upscale setting. (401 S. Lafayette; 248-542-0082 and www.bistro82.com) Contact Sylvia Rector: 313-222-5026 and srector@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @SylviaRector.

BISTRO 82 OWNER LEAVES GUESTS WITH THEIR WALLETS AS FULL AS THEIR STOMACHSFebruary 12, 2015

Chick in The Mitt

If you chose Bistro 82 as your restaurant of choice Wednesday night, you were pleasantly surprised to find yourself leaving with your wallet just as full as your stomach. To celebrate their 1st Anniversary, owner, Aaron Belen, picked up everyone’s dinner & drink tab and donated the grand total of $5,182.19 to the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak.

If you chose Bistro 82 as your restaurant of choice Wednesday night, you were pleasantly surprised to find yourself leaving with your wallet just as full as your stomach. To celebrate their 1st Anniversary, owner, Aaron Belen, picked up everyone’s dinner & drink tab and donated the grand total of $5,182.19 to the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak. “This is our way of thanking the community for supporting us so incredibly over the last year,” said Belen, owner of Bistro 82. “To give back on a local level is important to everyone at AFB Hospitality Group, and this donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak will help to continue the organization’s mission to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” No wonder Detroit Free Press recently named them as Detroit’s Best New Restaurant No.2. We won’t be surprised when they continue to find themselves at the top, after all, we did declare them best Happy Hour in our “A Few of our Favorite Things: 2014” series.

Owner of Bistro 82 buys dinner for all guestsFebruary 12, 2015

By Stephen Frye, The Oakland Press

Diners at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak were treated to a surprise Wednesday night: Owner Aaron Belen paid their dinner tabs in honor of the restaurant’s first anniversary. And now he'll be donating the night's revenue -- $5,182.19 -- to the Boys & Girls Club in Royal Oak.

Diners at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak were treated to a surprise Wednesday night: Owner Aaron Belen paid their dinner tabs in honor of the restaurant’s first anniversary. And now he'll be donating the night's revenue -- $5,182.19 -- to the Boys & Girls Club in Royal Oak. “I really wanted to give back to everybody who has been so supportive of us,” said Belen. “On so many levels we have had wonderful guests, wonderful associates and wonderful friends and family who have been very loyal to our cause. Plus, I wanted to directly help somebody who is in the city we do our business in. What’s better than helping kids?” Aaron F. Belen celebrated the first birthday of his restaurant, Bistro 82, by covering patrons' dinner bills. Belen opened Bistro 82 and nightclub Sabrage on the corner of Fourth Street and Lafayette Avenue in downtown Royal Oak last year after spending “millions” buying and renovating the 9,500-square-foot building. (At the time, our former restaurant writer said it could be the region's next best restaurant.) But Belen is more than a restaurant owner; he prides himself on being a mashup of hospitality and real estate savvy. “It’s important for me to be able to see the longer term viability of the real estate component, not just sell food and alcohol,” said Belen, who runs everything under the banner of AFB Hospitality Group. “Being able to do all of that in a one-stop shop formula attracted me.” So, on the eve of Bistro 82's first anniversary, I checked in with Belen to see how the first year treated him and what he expects for the second. Crain's: Tell me about year one. How was business? Belen: Year one for us was definitely an exciting year. We were really able to have our true concept shine within the city and within the metro Detroit area. When we first opened, a lot of people were really skeptical about what it is that we do, from our dining to our nightlife component. Some people believed that there wasn’t really demand within the Royal Oak corridor for dining of this caliber and nightlife on that level. We've been able to show all the doubters that there is a need and we filled that void in the market place. Crain's: How did you do that? Belen: I never lost the idea that you have to follow your dream and follow your vision. People were telling me we’re overshooting the market, that this is Michigan, this isn't Chicago. But I never lost the idea. A year later, I can comfortably tell you I have strong business. Crain's: What should we expect for year two? Belen: Year two will be about consistency. We will consistently be providing a quality of service, quality of ingredients and quality of experience. Crain's: Should we expect any menu changes? Belen: We have our staples, but our chefs, they are constantly pushing the envelope and trying stuff. We go around what’s fresh and seasonal. I would say over the next year people would come to see more creative stuff coming out of the kitchen. Crain's: What challenges do you see in year two? Belen: Keeping everybody focused and keeping everybody excited. The first year you have that new car smell. How do we keep that going in year two? Crain's: Are you considering opening any other locations? Belen: I’m very focused on growth of AFB Hospitably Group and finding out what the next step is. But I certainly don’t want to make a mistake and make the wrong bet. I’d rather take my time with expansion than just opening up five places. We understand business. We are not one dimensional. I understand what it takes to be successful and what it takes to be unsuccessful. We are really focused on doing the right thing. Crain's: What advice do you have for other chefs and entrepreneurs opening restaurants? Or is there something you wish you could convince new restaurant owners to stop doing? Belen: Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of press and what I’ve noticed is that people are consistently talking about the next project when they just opened up their first or second place. It’s always about running before you walk. There is a syndrome in the business. It’s about owning 100; I’d rather have one great place than 100 bad places. Crain's: Why is that? What causes that syndrome? Belen: It’s viewed as the more places you have, the more legitimate you are and the more successful you are. But the restaurant and bar business is a lot of smoke and mirrors. A lot of people just hang on, they don’t run the place properly. They don’t have their quality of standards in place. It’s just about the next opening or people trying to get press or all these other things that aren’t pure and aren’t about trying to do the right thing. Crain's: If you were opening Bistro 82 today, are there areas other than Royal Oak that you would consider both from a real estate and a restaurant perspective? Belen: I really love the Woodward corridor, from Bloomfield all the way into Ferndale. And Detroit is certainly gangbusters right now. Everyone and their uncle wants to open in Detroit. But I’m unclear what my next stop would be. I think there are a lot of wonderful markets. Ferndale is really a great market right now. Ferndale is an approachable market and real estate prices haven’t really skyrocketed like the Royal Oak/Birmingham markets have. It’s very expensive to open in Birmingham.

Bistro 82 In Studio With Coop And The Detroit Free PressFebruary 9th, 2015

98.7 Amp Radio

Royal Oak’s finest new restaurant hit up the studios this morning with some ridiculously delicious fine dining to celebrate and promote being named the runner-up for the Detroit Free Press’ “Best Restaurants of 2015.”

Royal Oak’s finest new restaurant hit up the studios this morning with some ridiculously delicious fine dining to celebrate and promote being named the runner-up for the Detroit Free Press’ “Best Restaurants of 2015.” I spoke with Sylvia Rector, the lucky columnist that gets to pick the top 10, as well as the gentlemen behind Bistro 82 including Scott Sadoff, the Director of Operations and Matthew Hollander, the AGM and wine expert. My fave – Steak Tartare with the quail egg (top) was absolutely freaking delicious! Detroit is exploding with new restaurants and if you’re a foodie like me you have to try them all! Check out Bistro 82 which by the way has hosted everyone from Matt Stafford and his fiance to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner when Ben was in town filming Batman vs. Superman. Plus, you can check out the entire top ten list from the Free Press: HERE and even cast your vote for Reader’s Favorite! Tweet me your favorite new restaurant @TheCoopShow

SC: A local Playmate finalist; Bistro 82 celebrates February 12, 2015

The Detroit News

The Playmate next door Among the bevy of finalists this year for Playboy's Playmate of the Year is Jessica Ashley of Bloomfield Hills. Ashley was Miss June 2014 and is Miss January 2015 in German Playboy. A graduate of UM, Ashley loves to read and write and is currently spending a lot of time on her endeavor, the WWWW Project, (Women with World Wonders). "It aims to inspire beautiful young women around the globe through photography, beauty and confidence training," Ashley said.

The Playmate next door Among the bevy of finalists this year for Playboy's Playmate of the Year is Jessica Ashley of Bloomfield Hills. Ashley was Miss June 2014 and is Miss January 2015 in German Playboy. A graduate of UM, Ashley loves to read and write and is currently spending a lot of time on her endeavor, the WWWW Project, (Women with World Wonders). "It aims to inspire beautiful young women around the globe through photography, beauty and confidence training," Ashley said. "The end result will be an artistic compilation that will be sold to benefit CARE, which fights to better the lives of women and girls worldwide." Among a litany of other prizes, the Playmate of the Year will win $100,000. To vote for home girl Jessica Ashley, visit playboy.com. It was a very good year Diners at Royal Oak's Bistro 82 were surprised Wednesday when they received their dinner tabs, to find that everything was free! In celebration of its one-year anniversary, the chic, French-inspired bistro made all dinners and drinks compliments of AFB Hospitality Group, which owns the restaurant. And wait, there's more. The total of all of the evening's bills (more than $5,000) was donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak. "This is our way of thanking the community for supporting us so incredibly over the last year," said Bistro 82 owner Aaron F. Belen. The restaurant has won numerous awards, and the kudos of visiting celebrities, including BenAffleck and Jennifer Garner. "Now it's our responsibility to give back," Belen said. "We chose the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak because of the remarkable work they do enabling all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens." Wonder's TV Grammy honor airs Monday Tune in to CBS at 9 p.m. Monday to see the two-hour special "All-Star Grammy Salute" to Stevie Wonder, featuring many artist/fans (Beyoncé, Tony Bennett,John Legend,Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Ne-Yo, PharrellWilliams,Jamie Foxx and Motown's Mary Wilson, to name a few), some performing his classic songs, some talking about him at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. "We must, without question, let the world know that love is king and queen," said Wonder before he performed. "I encourage all of us as artists to write songs about love. Love is the key, and you've given me love, and I thank you for it." Wonder is the only artist to have received the Album of the Year award in three out of four consecutive years. Briefly Despite the "camouflage" of a black skully under a dark red hoodie, the San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker was spotted at Bella Piatti in Birmingham on Wednesday, enjoying a plate of tagliatelle Bolognese with an unidentified female companion. The nutrients in the meal must have done his body good, since only hours later, he led his team in spanking our Pistons, 104-87. And the MotorCity Casino Hotel will host History's "American Restoration" with Rick and Kelly Dale, at the Sound Board at 3 p.m. June 14. Tickets ($50, $25 and $20) go on sale Feb. 26 at Ticketmaster.com.

Best New Restaurant No. 2: Bistro 82February 05, 2015

FREEP

When Bistro 82 opened early last year in Royal Oak, the sophistication and finesse of executive chef Derik Watson's refined French bistro cuisine took diners by surprise.

When Bistro 82 opened early last year in Royal Oak, the sophistication and finesse of executive chef Derik Watson's refined French bistro cuisine took diners by surprise. In a city best known for bars and taverns, here were beautifully composed plates, the choicest ingredients, and the kind of deep, clean, balanced flavors that come only from the best kitchens. The setting was just as memorable, with its sleek gray-white-and-black dining room; glowing onyx bar, and modern, youthful atmosphere — though the guests come in all ages. Owner Aaron Belen had promised to give Royal Oak a true destination restaurant, and he delivered. What to order from Watson's diverse menu? Try the pan-roasted cobia with Parmesan risotto, wild mushrooms and buerre rouge; or the dreamy scallops with parsnip puree, salsify and Brussels sprouts or ... frankly, just choose whatever appeals to you and trust the kitchen to exceed your expectations. Bistro 82 is not to be missed. Dinner; entrées $19-$36. 401 S. Lafayette; 248-542-0082 and www.bistro82.com

METROPOLITAN DETROIT DINING GUIDE 2015January 15, 2015

Hour Magazine

A Vibrant Scene Metro Detroit diners benefit as a rapidly growing list of impressive new eateries join the wealth of enduring classics. There’s a lot to cheer about on the vibrant 2015 restaurant scene.

There’s a lot to cheer about on the vibrant 2015 restaurant scene. We not only have a wealth of enduring classics that manage to provide exceptional food and service year after year — places like Tre Monti, Beverly Hills Grill, The Lark, the Rattlesnake Club, and Iridescence — but we’ve also welcomed impressive newcomers at a record pace over the past year or so. They include major productions and mod- est but appealing cafes. Even the esteemed Michelin Guide is recognizing the value of restaurants that are not the typical white-tablecloth establishments — and that certainly fits in with tastes here and across the country. Good food is paramount, of course, but diners also want places that are comfortable, stylish but still casual, and have a discernible personality. Coming into an already competitive field, these newbies must set them- selves apart in some way in order to be noticed. It just doesn’t work to follow the pack with repetitive menus and unimaginative settings. La Dulce, a bright new face in downtown Royal Oak, makes its mark with tapas, churros, and a lot of Spanish/Mexican verve. Bistro 82, another new attraction in Royal Oak, exudes urbanity from its menu and wine list presented on interactive tablet menus to the under-lit black and gold onyx bar that is one of the elements of a sophisticated decor. It’s a tribute to the skill in the kitchen that the handsomely composed plates deliv- ered to the tables look and taste just as good as their tablet images suggest. Ferndale’s Torino checks in with a tasting menu that changes monthly. No chance of getting bored — either for those enjoying the stunningly presented courses in the din- ing room or for the culinarians in the kitchen, where the ever-changing fare keeps the staff on top of their game. The Stand, or to give it its full title, The Stand Gastro Bistro, has chosen charcuterie as a signature, and it fits the rustic setting that includes repurposed wood from old De-troit structures. Chef and co-proprietor Paul Grosz, in fact, is an instructor in charcuterie at Schoolcraft College, and he knows his way around the cured and dried meats. A beauti- ful board of country pâté, chicken galantine, and hunter sausage is a menu staple at the Birmingham spot. Just down the street, Bistro Joe’s emphasizes creative cocktails includ- ing a great mojito and an array of single malt scotches from its balcony perch overlooking Papa Joe’s Market. At downtown Detroit’s Wright & Co., where the bartend- ers behind the long white marble bar use fresh herbs and house-made essences to prepare signature drinks, the vibe is a blend of old and new Detroit. The restaurant on the second floor of the 1891 structure features a small plates menu and beautifully combines its tin-ceilinged vintage set- ting with contemporary furnishings. Co-proprietor Marc Djozlija says he and partner Dave Kwiatkowski wanted Wright — named for the jewelry store that was the face of the building for many years — to be the kind of place they would look for when out of town. That’s an apt description of what they’ve achieved, while helping save some of De- troit’s vintage architecture. Grosse Pointe’s Marais is named for chef/proprietor David Gilbert and wife Monica’s favorite section of Paris. Here, he and his staff prepare beautiful plates of French-inspired fare. The more traditional but still warm setting underscores the cuisine with an extensive wine list. As popular as craft cock- tails have become, outstanding wine lists that set restaurants apart from the crowd are equally important, as indicated by the cellars at Joe Muer Seafood, Roast, Coach Insignia, and The Whitney. Within these pages, you’ll find helpful information that will lead you not only to the enduring classics but also to the array of new and exciting dining destinations. In order to succeed in a volatile industry, restaurants that set themselves apart from the crowd in a distinctive way will be around not just this year, but when the 2016 Dining Guide arrives.

2014 Recap: Ben Affleck Trades in Japanese Cars for GM and Ford AutosDecember 28th, 2014

Deadline Detroit

...Affleck and his wife, Jennifer Garner, have been exploring the area and celebrated their ninth anniversary at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak in June, Hinds writes...

Detroiters love to hear this. Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press talked to actor Ben Affleck about his impressions of Detroit after spending months here filming the new Batman movie. "I love it. It's made a big impression on me," Affleck tells Hinds in a phone interview. "I went and toured some of the car factories. I was really kind of moved by how American industry is actually employing American workers here in Michigan, that it's really happening, I saw it with my own eyes." "I went and got a Ford and got a GM car and traded in Japanese cars that I had," he says. "I know there are Japanese cars built in Kentucky now, and the world's a complicated place and so on. It felt right. It felt right to contribute to the economic well-being of this area." Affleck and his wife, Jennifer Garner, have been exploring the area and celebrated their ninth anniversary at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak in June, Hinds writes.

Friends of Eater Recall Their Single Best Meals of 2014December 31, 2014

Detroit Eater

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, top newcomers, 2014 in one word, best dining neighborhood...

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, top newcomers, 2014 in one word, best dining neighborhood, and the biggest dining surprises. Now it's time for the single best meal of the year. Readers, please leave your thoughts in the comments. Steve Wilke, Editor Hour Detroit: Wow...Perhaps it was one of Hour Detroit's Savor Detroit series of dinners last April. Maybe it's because it was our maiden voyage, but that first grouping—James Rigato from The Root, David Gilbert of Marais (our 2014 Restaurant of the Year), and drinks courtesy of Sugar House—made for one heck of a combo! Courtney Ochab, Editor Detroit Beer Press: My birthday dinner at La Feria. My fiancé and I split a variety of small tapas filled with incredible flavor and drank a variety of local craft brews. Following that, we spent the evening at the DSO watching Ben Folds perform. Victoria Trudeau, Former Editor Eater Detroit: Torino was where my boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary this year, and chef Garrett Lipar's 9-course menu was like dying and going to culinary heaven. The amount of thought and level of execution that goes into each course is astonishing, and we just didn't want the experience to end. Brenna Houck, Editor Eater Detroit: The Patron Secret Dining Society dinner with chef Kate Williams was incredibly delicious (lamb neck!). I can't wait for her new restaurants to open. The pairing with drinks from Yani Frye at The Sugar House was perfect and everything on the plate and in the glass felt inventive. Detroit Foodie: Dinner (Roasted Cauliflower + Steak & Frites + Chocolate Pot de Creme) at Selden Standard. Chow Down Detroit: BBQ kabob, kafta, and tawook at Dearborn Meat Market Hannah Lowe, Freelance Journalist: Pop-up dinner with Stockyard. Josh Smith, Reader: Bistro 82 bone marrow. Kat Rembacki, Editor Core Detroit: The duck reuben at Dime Store. It's just perfect.

What Were the Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2014?December, 29 2014

Detroit Eater

It is a tradition at Eater to survey friends, industry types, and bloggers at the end of each year. Welcome to the second of these posts, where we ask them (and ourselves) what were the best new restaurant this year.

It is a tradition at Eater to survey friends, industry types, and bloggers at the end of each year. Welcome to the second of these posts, where we ask them (and ourselves) what were the best new restaurant this year. Steve Wilke, Editor Hour Detroit: Another tough call. Wright & Co., certainly. Selden Standard, of course. Antietam (twice). Bistro 82, to name just a few. Courtney Ochab, Editor Detroit Beer Press: Every beer enthusiast was waiting in the cold for Hopcat's doors to open and I was no exception. Johnny Noodle King has also been a huge impact, especially when you're searching for something warm and filling in the upcoming cold months. Victoria Trudeau, Former Editor Eater Detroit: Antietam's new staff is incredible, by far my favorite meal at a new Detroit restaurant this year, I'm an escargot pâté convert, they've proven that grits aren't boring, and that oxtail is just blissfully good. Wright & Co., as mentioned (previously), is my new neighborhood favorite, the food is solid and the drinks are innovative, it's a safe bet that everyone will find something they like on the menu. And it's a bit of a drive, but every time I go to Rose's Fine Food I just want to go right back again, because they are the loveliest people serving food that is everything regular diner food wishes it could be. Brenna Houck, Editor Eater Detroit: So many places to eat, so little time. Again with the breakfast, I'd have to say Rose's Fine Food. "That Green Dude" is delicious and a little bit different every time. The donuts there are pretty spectacular and I like the relaxed diner feel. As far as popups, I really enjoyed my meal from Norma G's at Popupalooza and oxtail pho from Tuktuk-Tuktuk. I had an excellent meal at Antietam and one with Katoi, which introduced me to some exciting flavors.

Ten restaurants worth sampling in the new yearJanuary 2, 2015

The Detroit News

A sophisticated dining room is matched by the kitchen headed by executive chef Derik Watson, whose experience includes stints in Chicago and Las Vegas as well as Detroit. He and the staff turn out beautiful plates that look just as good as...

A sophisticated dining room is matched by the kitchen headed by executive chef Derik Watson, whose experience includes stints in Chicago and Las Vegas as well as Detroit. He and the staff turn out beautiful plates that look just as good as they do on the electronic tablets that serve as menus. Click on a dish and it brings up a photo. You can be sure that the dish brought to the table will look just as good. The menu is relatively brief, with a few snacks to nibble on while deciding on your choices. The appetizer list is particularly appealing, with an impressive array of dishes like oysters on the half shell, bone marrow and calamari. Entrees are all individually garnished with appropriate accompaniments, and they range from Scottish salmon and duck confit fettuccine to cioppino, the San Francisco version of bouillabaisse. The dining room is done all in shades of cream, white and gray as a backdrop for the colorful fare. Proprietor Aaron F. Belen transformed the former Sangria into a stunning addition to dining in Royal Oak.

DETROIT'S 11 BEST NEW RESTAURANTS OF 2014November 19, 2014

Thrillist

It seems like every year, eating in Detroit gets better and better (though some things never change). 2014 was no exception. Get yourself to the best places that opened this year as you build up a protective layer of warmth for winter.

When the longtime Royal Oak restaurant/nightclub institution Sangria closed and the new owners announced their plans for the two-level space, there was some... trepidation. This is Royal Oak, after all; restaurants aren't exactly incentivized to be any good, and it's only a matter of time before the Downtown shirks all quirky-independent pretensions to just go straight up Bubba Gump Shrimp (and oh, that time is coming). Which makes Bistro 82 not just a welcome relief from what is too much of a gastronomic wasteland, but also, thanks to exceedingly talented Chef Derik Watson (formerly of Iridescence), puts it on the cutting edge of Metro Detroit's culinary scene. You can resist Royal Oak all you want, but you cannot ignore the beautifully-presented casually French fare of Bistro 82.

The 2014 Eater Awards for DetroitNovember 17, 2014

Eater Detroit

It is time now—drumroll, trumpets, gongs—to announce the winners of the 2014 Eater Awards. In over a dozen categories in 24 cities, the winners comprise a diverse group of the finest and most interesting chefs, operators, and characters in the continent that have defined this year in dining. We applaud them. You are hereby instructed to applaud them.

It is time now—drumroll, trumpets, gongs—to announce the winners of the 2014 Eater Awards. In over a dozen categories in 24 cities, the winners comprise a diverse group of the finest and most interesting chefs, operators, and characters in the continent that have defined this year in dining. We applaud them. You are hereby instructed to applaud them. To recap, Eater's local editors in 24 cities nominated candidates for five major local categories: Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year, So Hot Right Now Restaurant, and Stone Cold Stunner. Eater readers then voted to narrow the field to a final three in each category. From that final three, the Eater editorial team chose one to move forward and the Eater.com brain trust got together to decide the national winners. Without further ado, here's who came out on top in Detroit. Eater Awards 2014 Restaurant of the Year Nominees: Rock City Eatery, Craft Work, The Root Restaurant and Bar, Revolver, Wright & Company Finalists: The Root Restaurant and Bar, Wright & Company, Rock City Eatery Winner: The Root Restaurant and Bar Chef of the Year Nominees: Nikita Sanches, Andy Hollyday, James Rigato, Kate Williams, Matt Dalton Finalists: James Rigato, Nikita Sanches, Kate Williams Winner: James Rigato So Hot Right Now Nominees: Johnny Noodle King, Rose's Fine Food, Atwater in the Park, Dime Store, La Feria Finalists: Dime Store, La Feria, Johnny Noodle King Winner: Dime Store Bartender of the Year Nominees: Ricky Ruggero, Kaytee Querro, Zan D., Chuck Gellasch, Lola Gegovic Finalists: Zan D., Kaytee Querro, Ricky Rugerro, TK, TK Winner: Zan D. Stone Cold Stunner Nominees: Johnny Noodle King, Top of the Pontch, Rubbed, The Zenith, Bistro 82 Finalists: Bistro 82, Top of the Pontch, The Zenith, Johnny Noodle King Winner: Bistro 82 Bonus Category: Best New Brewery/Distillery Winner: Detroit City Distillery

Batman v Superman: 10 reasons why Detroit benefited from Zack Snyder's work hereNovember 01, 2014

MLive

I'm staying away from the political squabble pertaining to Michigan's film industry, its incentive program and recent "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" filming here.

DETROIT, MI -- Disclaimer: I'm staying away from the political squabble pertaining to Michigan's film industry, its incentive program and recent "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" filming here. There's a lot of debate about film incentives/credits in Michigan for companies eager to shoot movies here, and rightfully so. And there's probably some people out there who weren't too crazy to see Warner Bros, director Zach Snyder, his cast and crew parachute into our state and take over certain areas so they could get glamor shots. I get it, I get it. Trust me. Hollywood sure isn't in the poorhouse, and there are plenty of people who could care less about about superheroes. Despite these types of issues worthy of scrutiny, I do believe there were many positives that came out of our "Batman v Superman" experience here in Michigan. I'd like to share 10 reasons by I think Metro Detroit benefited from all the high profile work. Feel free to share your thoughts about my list in the comments section. My list: 1. The "Batman v Superman" work in Metro Detroit, ranging from Pontiac to River Rouge, likely created jobs for "hundreds of crew members" and up to 6,000 jobs for extras, according to the Michigan Film Office. I'm trying to confirm exact employment numbers. 2. Snyder, the film's director, hinted during Tuesday during a conversation with a Detroit radio station that he could film more superhero-related movies in Metro Detroit because he enjoyed working here so much. Think potentially more jobs down the road and a bigger economic impact for the region — especially if multiple Warner Bros. movies like "Aquaman" and "Justice League" film here. 3. Work on the film showed prospective moviemakers inside and outside the region what Metro Detroit has to offer in terms of locations and skilled crew members. Don't underestimate the impact of social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, and fans who shared as many photos of the action as they could to diehards around the world. 4. Every interview celebrities like Ben Affleck (Batman) and Henry Cavill (Superman) gave about their time spent in Detroit appeared to be positive and only helped shed the city's negative image. Obviously, there's a long way to go, but we should all welcome good news during a time of unprecedented transition in all areas — downtown, Midtown, Corktown, eastside, westside — you name it. 5. Celebrity sightings at restaurants, bars, stores and gyms in the city and suburbs helped give local entrepreneurs a boost. A few that come to mind include Shinola in Detroit, Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, Motor City CrossFit in Sterling Heights and Detroit Kid City in Southfield. 6. A Warner Bros. commitment to Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac likely opened more doors down the road for the state-of-the art studio. Before "Batman v Superman," the studio hosted work for "Oz The Great and Powerful" and "Transformers; Age of Extinction." 7. Filming in Detroit reminded locals and non-locals that this city still has plenty of problems pertaining to blight, crime, unemployment and a variety of other issues that must be addressed before the ENTIRE CITY can truly succeed. The good news: Detroit is nearing the end of bankruptcy and appears on track to deal with at least some of these issues. Momentum finally appears in the city's favor. 8. Work in the Motor City gave some positive press to the auto industry as Affleck told the Detroit Free Press recently that he traded in some Japanese cars he had for a Ford and a GM. If news surfaces the new Batmobile was actually made in Detroit, expect a lot more noteworthy buzz. Affleck also said publicly he toured auto plants and gained an appreciation for Detroit's can-do spirit. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the Big Three plays a huge rule in an ad campaign once the film is released on March 25, 2016. Any positive PR helps. 9. Success filming the movie in Detroit appeared to set the table for other productive and innovative shoots in places like Michigan State's East Lansing campus, Orion Oaks Park in Lake Orion and even an old Girl Scout camp in Metamora Township near Flint. 10. Snyder's commitment to Metro Detroit and Michigan, after Michael Bay filmed "Transformers: Age of Extinction" here, was a bold move that shows politicians, policymakers and special interest groups that incentives draw the big guns. If the numbers show that Michigan truly benefits from incentives, then state officials have more ammo to improve the program so it can be more competitive with states like Louisiana.

Visit Hot Spot: NovemberNovember, 2013

Hour Detroit

Bistro 82 /// The interesting happy hour menu served in the bar from 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday is attracting attention at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Royal Oak. Chef Derik Watson and crew are dishing up niceties including salmon tartare, Parmesan pommes frites, French bread pizzas, Prince Edward Island mussels, and East Coast oysters — and not a chicken wing in sight — to go along with bubbly and craft beer on tap and a nice selection of wine and liquor at bargain prices.

Bistro 82 /// The interesting happy hour menu served in the bar from 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday is attracting attention at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Royal Oak. Chef Derik Watson and crew are dishing up niceties including salmon tartare, Parmesan pommes frites, French bread pizzas, Prince Edward Island mussels, and East Coast oysters — and not a chicken wing in sight — to go along with bubbly and craft beer on tap and a nice selection of wine and liquor at bargain prices.

Fall Old FashionedNovember, 2014

Hour Detroit

"We take 4 liters of Bulleit and pour them out into a clean container,” says beverage director and assistant general manager Matthew Hollander. “We then add 16 cinnamon sticks, three whole star anise, and five oranges that have been peeled and sliced. We let this sit for about a week until tasting to determine whether or not we are satisfied.” “The color, flavor profile, and slight bit of spice make you think of fall,” Hollander says. “ Our goal was to create a drink that is well balanced, not too complex, and that tastes great. Plus, chef loves it and that’s always important!”

Fall Old Fashioned "We take 4 liters of Bulleit and pour them out into a clean container,” says beverage director and assistant general manager Matthew Hollander. “We then add 16 cinnamon sticks, three whole star anise, and five oranges that have been peeled and sliced. We let this sit for about a week until tasting to determine whether or not we are satisfied.” “The color, flavor profile, and slight bit of spice make you think of fall,” Hollander says. “ Our goal was to create a drink that is well balanced, not too complex, and that tastes great. Plus, chef loves it and that’s always important!” Ingredients: 2 ounces infused Bulleit bourbon* 1 demerara sugar cube 1 Luxardo maraschino cherry 4 dashes Angostura bitters 1 burnt orange peel 1 ice sphere (Ice molds are easily found online and not expensive; Tovolo is a solid brand and should be great for home use.) Directions: Place raw sugar in pint glass and submerge with Angostura bitters. Add cherry and muddle all ingredients. Add two ounces of infused bourbon and ice and stir (25-30 rotations). Strain into rocks glass over ice sphere. Garnish with burnt orange peel. bistro82.com

Royal Oak's Citizen of the Year engages community lifeOctober 10, 2014

Daily Tribune

Judy Davids, Royal Oak’s new community engagement specialist, once overheard her husband tell someone that what she would like to do all day is talk about Royal Oak, in Royal Oak, to Royal Oakers. “He’s right about that,” she said. “There’s no place I’d rather be.”

Judy Davids, Royal Oak’s new community engagement specialist, once overheard her husband tell someone that what she would like to do all day is talk about Royal Oak, in Royal Oak, to Royal Oakers. “He’s right about that,” she said. “There’s no place I’d rather be.” So, perhaps it’s no large surprise that Davids, a classic community-involvement overachiever, has been named Citizen of the Year by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce. “There is no doubt that Judy loves her city and is an outstanding example of a citizen who truly cares about the people, businesses and quality of life in Royal Oak,” Dawne Ripinski, a chamber member, said in a statement nominating Davids for the award. Davids for years has demonstrated a cheerful skill for dealing with all kinds of people and getting involved. About a dozen years ago she started the mommy rock band The Mydols which went on to garner coverage on national television and in the Wall Street Journal and People magazine. She wrote a book in 2008 about the experience, “Rock Star Mommy,” and is now in negotiations to option the book to a major Hollywood film studio. Davids, however, seems to find as much glitz allure in community issues as she did in her rock adventures. She worked as the local editor for Royal Oak Patch until early this year when the city hired her to handle community engagement. “I am called on to serve the residents of Royal Oak every day,” she said. “Often people come into my office very disappointed. They remind me that while Royal Oak may be ranked as the eighth-happiest place in America, we can always do better. That’s my job — to try to make things better. So to receive this Citizen of the Year Award means so much to me. I am truly honored.” Davids has raised two sons — Dylan, 21, and Will, 19 — while living in a now 98-year-old Royal Oak home with her husband, John, an architect. Over the years she has racked up a long list of volunteer activities in the city. Possessed with an entrepreneurial spirit — and apparently significant reserves of energy — she started and ran a successful writer’s club/student newspaper at Longfellow Elementary School, coached the Honeybees soccer team for five years until 2004, was involved in the Royal Oak High School Booster Club, conducted a memoir writing workshop for several months for cancer patients at Gilda’s Club, and volunteered at St. Mary Catholic Church. Though her job as community engagement specialist requires to handle everything from social media, public presentations, surveys on issues, resident complaints, event promotion and media requests, Mayor Jim Ellison said she goes far beyond the job description in helping residents. Following the massive flooding caused by the Aug. 11 rainstorm, Davids lined up volunteers and got her own hands dirty helping homeowners with flooded basements. “She made it a personal goal to be sure than any resident that needed help ... received the help they needed,” Ellison said in statement supporting Davids as Citizen of the Year. “She coordinated all the volunteer efforts ... beyond that she personally helped at residents’ homes to help get them back on track. That, I can promise you, is not part of her job.” Davids will join other 2014 award nominees when the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce honors them at the 67th Royal Oak Community Awards banquet, set for 6-9 p.m. Oct. 21 at Emagine Theater.

Raise the Bar: Sabrage has swank, champagne, and sophistication Oct 8, 2014

Detroit Metro Times

It's been seven months since Sabrage opened up on South Lafayette in Royal Oak. The space once belonged to Sangria's Sky Club, but after a multi-million dollar renovation, the upper level lounge couldn't look any different.

It's been seven months since Sabrage opened up on South Lafayette in Royal Oak. The space once belonged to Sangria's Sky Club, but after a multi-million dollar renovation, the upper level lounge couldn't look any different. Aaron Fenkell Belen is the lounge's proprietor. He's invested a lot of dough into the property and the pride he takes in its appearance and success is apparent. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner often dine at Bistro 82, the swanky-yet-cozy restaurant on the ground floor, and Sabrage itself attracts top-notch talent and clientele that includes football players like Reggie Bush. To Belen, bringing this type of establishment to Royal Oak has transformed the city and what it's known for. "A lot of people think of Royal Oak as a place you go to get a burger and have a beer. I think Sabrage has changed the dynamic in the corridor," he says. "They're blown away by what Sabrage is. Everything we're doing is unique." That uniqueness includes a stunning selection of champagnes comprised of four of the world's best brands. Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Krug are all available at Sabrage, and the bar recently started offering half bottles for purchase. It's a certain type of crowd that's attracted to a posh champagne menu and Belen confirms that, noting the clientele belongs to a more sophisticated age bracket. "We attract a 31- to 34-year-old crowd," says Belen. "It's difficult to describe. It's not understood by the masses." Outfitted with sleek Spanish porcelain floors, a glowing white onyx bar, booth-lined walls, and a DJ booth that doubles as an aquarium, the place is swanky to say the least. The ultra lounge is only open on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., but those limited hours are part of what makes this place special, according to Belen. "We treat every Friday and Saturday like its something special. We want people to come celebrate the weekend. Whether they go out once a year or once a week, we want them to have an amazing experience," he says. Sabrage has what Belen calls "the finest sound system in the Midwest," which helps the lounge attract big names like Fat Man Scoop (who's booked to perform the night before Thanksgiving) and Las Vegas residents that normally play to rooms with a maximum capacity of 2,000. Sabrage, though, only holds about 230 people and that's including the patio off the back of the building. In fact, it takes an entire week for Bistro 82 and Sabrage combined to hit 2,000 guests. And that that number really isn't all that shabby. For now Belen says he's focusing on DJs, but soon he hopes to incorporate live music into the entertainment schedule. He alludes to some big things that will be popping off soon and notes that record producer, songwriter, and rapper Jermaine Dupri will be performing at his birthday party in the weeks following Thanksgiving. That party is open to the public, but tickets are required. "That type of talent playing in such a small room is pretty rare," he says. Indeed, most things about Sabrage are rare. With its expensive and posh environs, the classy beverage program, or the parade of hot thirtysomethings that patronize the establishment, the experience is nothing less than high class. — mt

Cravings - Bistro 82 - Andiamo ItaliaMay 27, 2014

HOUR Detroit Magazine

Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking.

“Any free time these days is spent at home with my family,” says Derik Watson, executive chef at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. “But when I do get out, I thoroughly enjoy Bangkok Express (off Southfield Road between 12 and 13 Mile roads). I love Thai food and I haven’t found any other restaurants that compare. I’ve tasted my way through almost the entire menu — I really enjoy their crispy duck curry the most, but all of their curries are excellent. I also love hitting up Imperial in Ferndale —a very cool spot. Who can go wrong with a bacon-wrapped hot dog like the Bakersfield, a cold beer, open-air dining, and the ball game playing? There are a few places I haven’t made it to yet that I am dying to try. Marais in Grosse Pointe and Torino in Ferndale are definitely on my short list. Chef Jim OppatExecutive chef Jim Oppat of the Andiamo Italia restaurants can recite his favorite spots “right off the top of my head.” They include the comfort food “taken to a new level” at Jeremy Restaurant & Bar in Keego Harbor (which closed in May), the hamburgers at Dearborn’s Miller Bar, and especially, the charcuterie board and chef’s tasting menu at the Forest Grill in Birmingham. “Charcuterie has become a lost art,” he says, “but it is alive and well in Birmingham. The real art of cooking is buying the highest quality seasonal ingredients and applying skillful preparations to them. No one has demonstrated that culinary perfection like chef Brian Polcyn at the Forest Grill. When Amy and I are dining out or entertaining, this restaurant is at the top of our list. Starting out with the ever-changing charcuterie board is a must, the cured meat, sausages, foie gras, pates, and terrines. As if that was not enough indulgence, we order the bone marrow, which is heavenly on the grilled crostini with onion confit.” After cheese and pastry for dessert, says Oppat, “we can end our night with a leisurely stroll through downtown.” Pictured at right: Chef Jim Oppat

Dine in the D: Bistro 82Aug 08 2014

Click On Detroit

Go to article to watch the video!

2014 Best Dressed ListAugust 27, 2014

HOUR Detroit Magazine

[First Impression] Bistro 82September 5, 2014

thehungrydudes.com

Bistro 82 serves approachable, French inspired cuisine. Execution is impressive. Flavors are exquisite. I had the pleasure of dining with two friends while experiencing one great dish after another with superbly paired wine.

Bistro 82 serves approachable, French inspired cuisine. Execution is impressive. Flavors are exquisite. I had the pleasure of dining with two friends while experiencing one great dish after another with superbly paired wine. The meal began during Happy Hour. There’s should be some nuance to happy hour. It doesn’t make good business sense to just slash prices. Happy hour should be special. Menu items should be different – exciting. Give me a reason to leave the office early & often. Bistro 82’s happy hour is thoughtful, unique, and fun. French Onion Soup Dumplings (pictured below) are whimsical and a joy to eat. Nutty Gruyere, salty/savory broth, & sweet onion wrapped in wonton? At $5, order a couple. There are more photos below. It’s a seafood heavy menu with a bit of pork belly and some spicy nuts. But here’s the thing, I’m biased. When in the company of others, especially others who are friends, the experience is amplified and glorified. Last night’s meal was especially good and I will gladly return to Bistro 82. Next time I’ll bring more friends – it’s better that way.

Belen and Bennett's Soiree

The Social Aid

To say this one was slightly over the top would be an understatement… but in an oh-so-delicious way. Aaron F. Belen and Bistro 82/Sabrage along with Chuck Bennett and The Social D hosted an exclusive private party, dubbed Soiree 1, that left guests wanting for nothing. Held in the sleekly-designed Sabrage lounge upstairs from Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, some 200 Metro Detroit A-listers showed up to get their party on.

To say this one was slightly over the top would be an understatement… but in an oh-so-delicious way. Aaron F. Belen and Bistro 82/Sabrage along with Chuck Bennett and The Social D hosted an exclusive private party, dubbed Soiree 1, that left guests wanting for nothing. Held in the sleekly-designed Sabrage lounge upstairs from Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, some 200 Metro Detroit A-listers showed up to get their party on. There were buckets of chilled champagne – Perrier Jouet – topping the tables and lining the walls at every turn; a French-speaking model named Alex poured shots of Courvoisier in the men’s room (yes, in the men’s room); the deejay, Rodney Page, dazzled everyone as he walked the room, dynamically accompanying the tunes he played on the sound system with his electric violin. And Renee Godin’s gorgeous models in body-hugging cocktail attire were perfect hostesses. The food, all French inspired dishes from Bistro 82, was amazing. A seafood station topped the massive aquarium – towers of oysters, jumbo shrimp and Alaskan king crab legs; lining the bar was a consistently replenished display of such delights as duck confit vol au vent, brandade croquettes, and curry crab salad with fingerling potato chips. There was also butler-passed prosciutto wrapped asparagus with a balsamic reduction, braised short rib spring rolls, squash bisque, deviled eggs, and root beer glazed lamb spare ribs. The terrace held a special treat of its own – a huge ice sculpture etched with Sabrage on one end and Zim’s (the evening’s vodka of choice) on the other. A server was on hand pouring Zim’s through the ice sculpture allowing it to ooze out nicely chilled as it perfectly nestled itself into an awaiting pre-chilled stainless steel martini glass. And the pièce de résistance -- a colorful and plentiful assortment of fine caviar with traditional garnishes at the base of the ice sculpture. Big shout outs to a few people whose input to this event was invaluable. Scott Sadoff is the man! He’s in management in AFB Hospitality, and he magically turns visions into reality. And cool man, Justin Near of Near Perfect Media whose endless resources, great ideas and cooler-than-thou coordinating skills were perfection. Thank you to Rachel and Amelia for keeping us organized. At party’s end, guests were offered Wagyu beef sliders with horseradish cream, arugula and roasted pepper to go. Each guest also received a $50 gift card for Bistro 82. It was my distinct pleasure to host this event with Aaron Belen. Through the whole planning process, he remained a perfect gentleman and a class act. In my world, it was a perfect party, and that says a lot. So why did we call it Soiree, 1? Duh? Soiree 2, 3, 4… Stay tuned.

Ben Affleck: Detroit 'made a big impression on me'September 29, 2014

freep.com

Ben Affleck can't talk about what happens in "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" or the specifics of what's going on with the filming in metro Detroit on the Warner Bros. superhero blockbuster.

Ben Affleck can't talk about what happens in "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" or the specifics of what's going on with the filming in metro Detroit on the Warner Bros. superhero blockbuster. Security is so tight on the project that it might be easier for him to walk unnoticed down Woodward Avenue in his Caped Crusader costume than to gain permission to spill such details. But Affleck is happy to share his impressions of the Motor City and its cars, shops, attitude and economic challenges. Speaking by phone from Detroit about his latest film, "Gone Girl," he took some time to talk about living here during the months-long shooting. What does he think of Detroit so far? "I love it. It's made a big impression on me," says Affleck. "I went and toured some of the car factories. I was really kind of moved by how American industry is actually employing American workers here in Michigan, that it's really happening, I saw it with my own eyes." FREEP Ben Affleck talks 'Gone Girl,' marriage and spoilers Like many native Detroiters, Affleck is showing those emotions through his vehicles. "I went and got a Ford and got a GM car and traded in Japanese cars that I had," he says. "I know there are Japanese cars built in Kentucky now, and the world's a complicated place and so on. It felt right. It felt right to contribute to the economic well-being of this area." Affleck has been exploring the region with his wife, Jennifer Garner, who is busy promoting her new film "Men, Women and Children," which opens locally Oct. 10. The couple celebrated nine years of marriage with dinner at Royal Oak's Bistro 82 in June. "They also crashed a Superman-themed children's party (with the host's permission) when they made an impromptu stop with their son, Samuel, to Southfield's Detroit Kid City play center in July. And in August, Affleck wore a T-shirt emblazoned with "Detroit City" during his ALS ice bucket challenge video that featured Garner. FREEP Six of Ben Affleck's best roles More recently, they've visited the growing Midtown Detroit shopping scene. "I went down to Shinola and me and my wife got bikes and drove around," Affleck says. Known for being politically aware and an activist for humanitarian causes, Affleck talks about Detroit both in personal terms and as a place that deserves more national attention for its economic struggles. "It's been really inspiring to see ways that people here are working and plugging away and rebounding and dedicating themselves to the city. There's this whole kind of spirit here of, 'Hey, we're on the comeback' kind of thing." He describes his reaction to getting off a freeway blocked by an accident and seeing streets of boarded-up homes where only a few people still reside. "I was just shocked that that even could be permitted to happen in the United States of America, that we weren't doing more collectively to improve this, that we were allowing part of our country to languish in this way." Those two sides of Detroit may be one of the factors that make it an appropriate location for "Batman v. Superman," a cinematic collision between two very different superheros, Affleck's brooding, mortal Batman and Henry Cavill's outer-space immigrant Superman. "There are things to be discouraged by here and there are things to be inspired by here. I find it really dynamic. There are parts that look like Metropolis and parts that look like Gotham City," says Affleck, perhaps with a hint of what's to come. "Batman v. Superman" is scheduled to open March 25, 2016.

Your New Happy Hour HavenOctober 2, 2014

Chick In the Mitt

When I sat down to write this post I truly didn’t know where to begin. No – not because I had writers block (which is usually the case) but because Bistro 82 has TOO MANY impressive aspects of their restaurant to cover in one article – which for Bistro 82 is a great problem to have.

When I sat down to write this post I truly didn’t know where to begin. No – not because I had writers block (which is usually the case) but because Bistro 82 has TOO MANY impressive aspects of their restaurant to cover in one article – which for Bistro 82 is a great problem to have. I could go on and on about their formal dining area with the amazing wine cellar and gorgeous modern decor. Or we could talk about the swanky night club upstairs with the attached roof-top patio and DJ booth that sits on a 10,000 gallon tank filled with tropical fish. But that will have to be saved for another post (which I solemnly swear to write) because today we will focus on my favorite time of day….happy hour. The view of downtown Royal Oak from Bistro 83. The view of downtown Royal Oak from Bistro 83. Spot. Bistro 82 is located at 401 S Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067. It is right on the corner of 4th and Lafayette St. so it’s very easy to spot this modern, sleek building. There is metered street parking surrounding the restaurant and the South Lafayette Parking Garage is less than a block away. Cost. Their happy hour pricing and options are so amazing we just had to include the menu… Here is what Court and I tried….the french bread pizza, sliders, oysters, salmon tartar, french onion soup dumplings, parmesan pomme fries, wagyu steak sliders and the brandade croquettes. Basically the left side of the happy hour menu. Whoever created french onion soup dumplings needs a gold star. Whoever created french onion soup dumplings needs a gold star. Yep that’s right…we ate all of those items. In one sitting. And guess what? They were all fab. LIke so good we couldn’t stop eating good. Besides the fact that these dishes were uniquely yummy – did you see the prices? Things can’t get any better at Bistro 82…. Vibe. …Except when you stop chowing and take a gander around the place. In order to participate in the happy hour festivities you have to sit in the beautifully decorated bar area; complete with an onyx bar and windows from floor to ceiling. Then you must browse through their iPad menu and then place your order with the friendly, knowledgable servers. Sounds like the best night ever? Well it is. Go there now and delight your senses at our new happy hour haven.

A Bite On The Town

HOUR Detroit Magazine

In Ferndale, between L.A.-style tacos, Lebanese, and fine dining, food lovers aren’t lacking in options. Seemingly under the radar — but worth a try — is John D Bistro, which has been open for two years since taking over the former Club Bart. It dishes up new American fare in a modern, posh space that features a plush banquette decked out with a mirror trim as well as more traditional tables and ample stools at the bar where craft beers and craft cocktails are both available. The lounge decor sets the scene for a diverse crowd; it’s a spot where you can take mom for brunch or your friends for bottle service.

In Ferndale, between L.A.-style tacos, Lebanese, and fine dining, food lovers aren’t lacking in options. Seemingly under the radar — but worth a try — is John D Bistro, which has been open for two years since taking over the former Club Bart. It dishes up new American fare in a modern, posh space that features a plush banquette decked out with a mirror trim as well as more traditional tables and ample stools at the bar where craft beers and craft cocktails are both available. The lounge decor sets the scene for a diverse crowd; it’s a spot where you can take mom for brunch or your friends for bottle service. Helmed by executive chef Scott Breazeale, John D’s kitchen recently rolled out seasonal menus — and with the creativity and use of local ingredients, these rotating offerings are definitely a draw. On the evening we went, the menu had a wintry spin — comforting during the seemingly endless season. With summer approaching, Breazeale plans to change the menu to take advantage of Michigan’s cherries, asparagus, and corn, to name a few ingredients. While Breazeale is dedicated to using local products, his food spans the globe. “You may see a dish with strong Korean flavors next to a dish with northern Italian flavors next to a classic French dish,” says Breazeale, who can usually be found working the room chatting up the patrons. “For me this is the best part of the job — taking the guest on a culinary journey.” For starters, there are plenty of shareable options, including tender calamari in a sweet and spicy sauce and duck sliders topped with a bright orange cranberry compote that balances the unctuous fowl. Want to go all out? There’s a foie gras burger with truffle fries. We chose the rabbit ragu and scallops as entrees. In keeping with the seasonal theme, the ragu was a huge bowl of comfort: a well-balanced tomato sauce enveloped pieces of tender rabbit meat on top of pasta. The scallops were cooked with a nicely crusted, goldenbrown sear; however, the best parts of the dish were the accompaniments of pate choux gnocchi, butternut squash, Brussels sprout leaves, bacon, and chevre. Other entrees include an 18-ounce rib-eye steak that would satisfy Fred Flintstone; lamb chops; and several seafood options, including salmon, lobster ravioli, and lobster risotto. As one who normally makes a cocktail her dessert, I made sure to save room because Breazeale has serious chops as a pastry chef. We chose the panna cotta — and what a pleasant surprise it was. This classic, simple Italian dessert was elevated by extra packed-in flavor: a silky grahamcracker infused cream and a “milk jam,” which mimicked toasted marshmallow. A bittersweet chocolate sauce and graham cracker crumbs topped it off — and there you have the world’s most refined S’more. We can’t wait to see the surprises the next seasonal menu will bring.

Sunday brunch is worthy addition to 4-star Bistro 82June 11, 2014

freep.com

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak opened in February to near-universal accolades, including a four-star rating from the Free Press, so the culinary bar was high when sous chef Norman Fenton was tasked with writing the menu for the restaurant’s new brunch, which debuted June 1.

Bistro 82 in Royal Oak opened in February to near-universal accolades, including a four-star rating from the Free Press, so the culinary bar was high when sous chef Norman Fenton was tasked with writing the menu for the restaurant’s new brunch, which debuted June 1. He has easily succeeded, introducing a collection of terrific dishes as delicious and interesting as they are beautiful. The 15 entrées appeal to a wide range of tastes. Dishes for the health-conscious include quinoa “oatmeal” ($8) — which exceeded my wildest expectations. The tiny grains of quinoa are cooked to a porridge, mixed with diced Granny Smith apples, raisins, walnuts and a hint of cinnamon before being topped with strawberries, bananas and blueberries. Guests can add steamed milk if they wish. It’s light and aromatic — not heavy and gluey as oatmeal can be. It’s a must-try for cereal lovers. Egg dishes range from lobster and crab scramble ($17) dabbed with Osetra caviar to a roasted wild mushroom omelet ($9) with Comte cheese, spinach and caramelized onion — and of course, eggs Benedict ($12). Fenton updates his version with braised pork belly — here, with subtle Asian spices — topped with frisée greens dressed with sherry vinaigrette. The poached eggs draped with creamy, lemony Hollandaise sit atop toasted baguette slices rather than the usual bready English muffins, and a bit of orange marmalade on the plate adds an unexpected but welcome note of sweetness. Every change to the classic recipe works. The menu may be fresh and creative, but it doesn’t neglect hearty appetites. There are steak and eggs with filet mignon, Lyonnaise potatoes and Bearnaise sauce ($16); shrimp and grits with chorizo, corn relish and tomato-shellfish broth ($12), and — my choice — the flavorful poutine and fried egg ($9) with short rib gravy, white cheddar and Fresno chilies. It should have been called “short-rib poutine,” for all the fork-tender braised beef — not just gravy — hidden under the egg on top. The polenta fries on the bottom of the skillet soak up the rich juices and oils, while pickled hot chilies on top help offset the dish’s inherent fattiness. During brunch hours, the stylishly contemporary restaurant, which has served only dinner until now, is filled with sunlight from its walls of windows; the ones nearer the back open to the sidewalk. Diners will find Bistro 82 a polished but relaxed place to ease into the day, especially with a menu that’s one of the best of the season’s new crop of brunches. Brunch: Sunday only, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; reservations suggested. (401 S. Lafayette; 248-542-0082 and www.bistro82.com) Contact Sylvia Rector: srector@freepress.com and 313-222-5026. Follow her on Twitter @SylviaRector.

A Blend of ExperienceMay 2014

Ambassador Mag

Colman shares Rogers’ sentiment. “I just try to eat healthy. Eat light, keep it tight. That’s it,” he says. “It’s been a super rough winter in terms of the weather, so I’m just looking forward to the weather being nice and being outside getting on the boat, being on a lake. Just being outside in general; I think we all deserve it.”

Situated on the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Royal Oak, the posh Bistro 82 restaurant commands a certain level of attention and adoration.The slate gray, two-story building with a sleek, multiple-window design piques interest and definitely has an alluring aura that is undeniable. This French-inspired venue was just the right option for Ambassador’s latest Dinner Party. The ambience of Bistro 82 for most of the night’s attendees would be the center of conversation. The simple yet chic décor immediately catches the attention of anyone who enters due to its subtle hints of refined luxury. Bathed in various tones of gray, steel and cream, the interior design of the restaurant is clean and slightly masculine, yet unassuming with little things like white-and-navy napkins against stark white linen to add the subtlest touch of class. The mix of both high and low tables, exposed ceiling vents and the expansive bar adjacent to the main dining area creates a feel of sophistication. Just past the bar and tables, tucked behind the wine cellar and right before reaching the kitchen, lies the private dining room where the evening’s cocktails and dinner were served. But before the evening got going, guests mingled, sipped, and nibbled on the restaurant’s signature cocktails and a shellfish platter. Chef Derik Watson, formerly of Iridescence, was responsible for the evening’s menu. He was able to pause for just a brief moment to spill details on the night’s expansive menu and the inspiration behind it. “We have just taken some of the highlights of the menu. Some of the more popular appetizers and some of the snacks, as well,” says Watson, who has also worked with famed Master Chef Takashi Yagihashi. “We’re going to serve them family-style in the beginning and then we’re going to move into more of a coursed dinner.” For starters, guests enjoyed goat cheese salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette, green apple, mixed nuts, vanilla-raisin purée, and apple reduction. For the second course, they were served sautéed cobia with parmesan risotto, roasted mushrooms, fava bean, and beurre rouge. The third course included Wagyu hanger steak with baby carrots, English peas, whipped cauliflower, and sauce bordelaise. For dessert, guests had their choice of a strawberry shortcake with strawberry consommé, pistachio sponge cake and vanilla ice cream, or a dark chocolate tart with hazelnut and raspberry. “We just want to highlight some of the more popular dishes that people have really taken to,” Watson says. The changing season and warmer weather could be credited for more than just the great ingredients of the menu. It also contributed to the upbeat atmosphere of the party. “We love to come here. They have some of the best food in the area,” says Christine Tobias, who has frequented the restaurant quite often since its February opening. “I love the chicken pappardelle, and the goat cheese salad is good ... We love it here. Upstairs is fun, too! We go there on the weekends.” The second story is a weekend lounge hotspot called Sabrage – the French term for opening a champagne bottle with a saber – that features a DJ booth, a champagne cellar and all the dancing your feet can handle. Dinner guests seemed genuinely excited to be out and about during the warmer weather, and many could be overheard sharing their upcoming plans and activities. Ryan Fishman, a candidate for state senate in Michigan’s 13th district, was happy to be celebrating the success of Bistro 82, as was Aaron F. Belen, president at AFB Hospitality Group. “For me, watching a friend of mine who is a young adult in the community making this commitment to Royal Oak where he has invested millions of dollars and created 75 jobs is an inspiration for any of us who have come back to Michigan or decided to stay in Michigan,” Fishman says. Fishman also expressed his love for warmer weather and the outdoors. “We have such beautiful seasons here in Michigan, and I’m ready to just take advantage. I’m a cyclist, so as soon as it gets really nice out, there are so many beautiful cities in the area to ride through,” he says. “I’m definitely ready to mix some color into my wardrobe. You can’t do the bright pink and yellow when it’s 2 degrees outside, and there’s snow everywhere. Mix in some good colors, and you can make a suit pop yet still look classy. I think anybody can manage to mix some color into their wardrobe.” Aside from spring fashion, being outdoors during warmer weather is what many of the other dinner party guests looked forward to most. Seth Rogers, an insurance broker, and his friend David Colman, who works in real estate, both enjoy outdoor sports and play in the same hockey league. “I do two things: squash and hockey,” Rogers says. “David and I play every Wednesday morning before work at Oak Park Ice Arena in a hockey league.” Colman explains that they get together with roughly 20 people at 7 a.m. for hockey. And in addition to that, every Saturday morning Colman plays squash at the Detroit Athletic Club. “I like to just stay healthy, run outside, play basketball and a lot of golf this summer,” Colman says. “That’s it. Being in the gym I find a little boring, so I like to get out and do more active things.” Unsurprisingly, talk of fitness usually turn into conversations about health. Rogers says he loves getting drinks from Beyond Juice in Birmingham. “I love the Green & Lean, and I also just stay away from carbs,” he says. Colman shares Rogers’ sentiment. “I just try to eat healthy. Eat light, keep it tight. That’s it,” he says. “It’s been a super rough winter in terms of the weather, so I’m just looking forward to the weather being nice and being outside getting on the boat, being on a lake. Just being outside in general; I think we all deserve it.” Sitting across the table and listening in was Jeff Scott, president of Duffey Petrosky. “I’m looking forward to spending time outdoors with my kids,” he says. “I love to bike and walk.” Springtime also gives Scott more time to venture into other areas of interest. “I have an avocation; I’m a singer-songwriter, so I’m working on a new album that will be coming to completion in the next couple of months,” he says. As far as eating healthy, Scott says he loves fruit, especially apples. “At the end of the day, an apple, which has 70 calories, will fill you up and has a massive amount of fiber in it. It tastes great and is good for you. However, I’m convinced that honey crisp apples are a plot to get people addicted to them,” he says with a laugh. Attorney Zaina Elia was another guest who enjoys delicious fruit and the beautiful outdoors. “I enjoy fresh fruit in the morning, and try to get some smoothies in for my kids,” she says. Elia is also excited to wear this season’s spring trends including moto jackets, fit-and-flare dresses, and of course, the black and white trend that was seen on so many fashion runways this year. Shawn McClain, a James Beard Award-winning chef, can’t imagine spending the warm-weather season anywhere else but Michigan. “I think Michigan is a fabulous place to spend the spring and summer,” he says. “But for me, I have two young daughters ages 5 and 3, so it’s really about being able to spend a lot of quality time together and having a fun summer with them.” With so much talk of spring, fun, food and the fabulous new restaurant, it was only right to talk to the person who was responsible for the night and incredible venue – Aaron F. Belen. “I’m happy to be hosting an event with Ambassador, and I think that the people seated around this table share many common interests, including a passion for top-notch culinary experiences. My new company, AFB Hospitality Group, was launched with these concepts – Bistro 82 and Sabrage – and this property is more than simply a restaurant and lounge or nightclub, it’s a lifestyle brand,” he says. “I think we’ve succeeding in bringing a sophisticated and cosmopolitan feel to ... Southeastern Michigan, to Royal Oak.” With the success of the evening, we’d say Belen and his staff are doing a fine job at bringing this kind of luxury and fine dining experience to metro Detroit. — Kori Fields

Restaurant Review: Bistro 82May 19, 2014

Metro Times

“Ability takes you to the top. Character keeps you there,” boasts the Bistro 82 website. It’s a good motto, and it sets a tone for the experience of Bistro 82 that carries through everything they do.

“Ability takes you to the top. Character keeps you there,” boasts the Bistro 82 website. It’s a good motto, and it sets a tone for the experience of Bistro 82 that carries through everything they do. The entire restaurant is simple, yet exquisitely elegant in its design. The floors and walls and furniture all play on shades of grays and creams, for an effect that is at once very formal and completely relaxed. Sprays of green foliage are scattered at a few strategic locations throughout the restaurant, and a large, abstract, neon-painted canvas hangs on the wall. One cannot, however, neglect the bar: Lit from inside, a glowing granite-like counter is an incredible centerpiece, the first thing visitors see. The menu at Bistro 82 is unusual: Placed on your table, or handed to you by a bartender, is a tablet computer in a leather case, running a program that is the menu. Tap the navigation button in the corner to skip through pages, or swipe left and right to flip from happy hour to snacks and appetizers, all the way through a wine list searchable by several different criteria. Its best feature is this: Tap the name of a menu item or its description to bring up a picture of that very item. It’s easy to get lost grazing on photos alone. That would, however, be a terrible mistake. The food at Bistro 82 is simply stunning, at a level of presentation and quality seldom seen in these parts. Elegance runs through everything that is presented, through simplicity and cleanliness of flavors, presentation, and intent with each dish. The menu reads like something out of a Parisian chef’s stroll through the market. Start at the top of Rue Lepic, where the best shellfish are. Bistro 82 offers three oyster varietals daily: East Coast, West Coast, and a third oyster du jour. Skip the cocktail sauce and try the mignonette, made with grains of paradise instead of the classic black pepper. It’s classic, elegant, and innovative. Lamb spare ribs are coated in a root beer glaze, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and served with pickled shallots and napa cabbage. They’re incredibly tender and richly flavored, and at the very end, a familiar flavor from childhood lingers on your tongue. The bone marrow deserves mention, as well: Roasted, served in the bone with crostini, it’s so, so good. Trust us. Vegetarians might prefer to start with the roasted artichoke: it’s cut in half, choke removed, and served with both lemon vinaigrette and roasted pepper aioli. It requires a skilled diner to eat the tender bits off an artichoke leaf, but rewards with light, yet rich flavors, and it feels so very French. Steaks are cooked expertly and served with classical accompaniments: A Wagyu hanger steak comes with tasty frites; the rib-eye with roasted potatoes and stewed vegetables; the filet with peas, carrots, cauliflower purée, and bordelaise sauce — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, everything is right with it. The moules-frites, mussels, and fries come straight from Belgium (by way of Paris) and are excellent. With fresno chile thrown in and a curry aioli, they deviate a little from their classical origins for a delightful effect. Ratatouille, as a dish, is an accurate barometer of a restaurant’s skill. It’s so simple — so easy to make overly complex and ruin — that if it can be executed perfectly, everything else ought to fall into place. The ratatouille at Bistro 82 is sublime, and speaks volumes about the rest of the food. The vegetables are so carefully treated, so expertly seasoned, so loved on by the cooks, that the result is superb. So, too, with the rest of the menu. Dessert comes highly advised: Try the beignets, served on a wavy plate with caramel sauce and caramelized banana slices. Or the strawberry pistachio, a strawberry consommé with pistachio cake and vanilla ice cream. Truthfully, every dessert is superb — how else would the meal close at a place like this? Success comes from setting goals and achieving them relentlessly. Bistro 82 calls this concept “character,” and the staff and management have absolutely shown the strongest character. The standards are high, and they are strenuously maintained, for a simply sublime experience. From its interior design, to the preparation and presentation of the food and drinks, to the uniforms of the service staff, Bistro 82 is a paean to the ability of visual simplicity to conceal culinary complexity.

At home with: Chef Derik WatsonMAY 15, 2014

Detroit News

Yet the chef still manages to prepare meals at home once or twice a week for his fiancée, Tara, and their two daughters, Marley, 4, and Adria, 2. (By the way, Adria was named after iconic Spanish chef Ferran Adria, owner of the world-renowned El Bulli restaurant, which recently closed in Spain.) From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140515/LIFESTYLE05/305150018#ixzz32wiGb8Pa

As the executive chef of the recently opened Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, Derik Watson spends from 12 to 15 hours a day working at the restaurant. “So when it comes to my home cooking, finding the time to do it is the hardest part,” he says. Yet the chef still manages to prepare meals at home once or twice a week for his fiancée, Tara, and their two daughters, Marley, 4, and Adria, 2. (By the way, Adria was named after iconic Spanish chef Ferran Adria, owner of the world-renowned El Bulli restaurant, which recently closed in Spain.) “I cook simple at home,” he says. “I don’t do a lot of spices or marinades. What I do is season properly with kosher salt, white pepper, use a nice Spanish olive oil and let the ingredients speak for themselves.” Each of those is featured in the Roasted Airline Chicken Breast with Haricots Verts and Potato Mousseline he shared with us here, along with gentle herbs and wine to highlight the dish. Though he doesn’t recall cooking growing up, Watson says he started reading cookbooks from the age of 8 or 9 and that his mother recalls that whenever on vacation, he would always order something crazy. “I had an adventurous palate from a very young age. And I always knew I wanted to be in the restaurant industry. So as soon as I could get a permit, I worked at a Kroger store, first bagging groceries, then stocking shelves and eventually slicing meats in the deli,” he says. Then, in 1999, while busing, serving and doing a little cooking for a few local restaurants, Watson discovered “The French Laundry Cookbook” by Thomas Keller, the chef and proprietor of the revered French Laundry Restaurant in Napa Valley, California. “That book really opened my eyes to what was out there and sparked a search to find that kind of refined contemporary cuisine that just wasn’t available in this area,” he says. So, that same year, at the age of 19, Watson moved to Florida to attend The International Culinary School of the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and to work at the Himmarshee Bar and Grill, “a hip and happening place that kicked off my serious culinary career,” he says. Since leaving Florida in 2001, Watson has worked at several prestigious restaurants including (in the Metro Detroit area) the now-closed Tribute (where he started off making hot appetizers and ended up as executive sous chef under Takashi Yagihashi) and at MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Iridescence, where he was chef Don Yamauchi’s chef de cuisine. The Detroit native says he first had this airline chicken recipe at the Himmarshee Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, but has made some changes. “The restaurant’s sauce for the chicken was made from a classic stock reduction that they would continue to use for several days,” he says. “But, instead, I do a classic pan sauce that is made with an oaky Chardonnay, pan drippings, fresh shallots, garlic and thyme.” Another difference? Watson uses a small-batch process. “When you’re cooking in a restaurant that feeds a lot of people and has a limited staff, for convenience you would put your potatoes in a mixer. But that overworks the starch and makes the potatoes gummy, while at home you have the luxury of producing small batches (using a ricer), which result in a silkier, smoother texture,” he says. To complete the meal, Watson suggests serving the chicken, green beans and potatoes along with the same Chardonnay wine you use in the recipe. But when it comes to dessert, “I would probably take the kids out for ice cream, most likely to Ray’s Ice Cream in Royal Oak,” he says. Roasted Airline Chicken Breast with Haricots Verts and Potato Mousseline An airline chicken breast is a breast that has the front portion of the wing left in. They can be special-ordered from Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market or from Westborn Market. Or you can use regular chicken breasts instead. 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes 1 pound fresh green beans or fresh haricots verts (French-style green beans) 2 whole airline or regular skin-on chicken breasts 1 ounce vegetable or olive oil 4 peeled garlic cloves, divided (2 left whole, 2 minced) 8 fresh thyme sprigs 8 ounces of unsalted butter, divided 4 ounces of heavy cream, divided 1 shallot (minced) 2 ounces Chardonnay wine 1 tablespoon of Italian flat leaf parsley (chopped fine) Juice from ¼ lemon Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper (divided, to taste) Peel the Yukon potatoes and place in a pot of water with a heavy pinch of kosher salt and boil over high heat until fork tender. (If they finish before the chicken is in the oven, you can drain and set them aside.) Place another medium size pot of water on high heat and season with a heavy pinch of kosher salt. Meanwhile, trim the stem ends of the green beans. Once the water has come to a rapid boil, place the beans in the water and cook until tender, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl to stop the cooking process. Remove and reserve. Season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground white pepper. In a medium-size skillet, add the vegetable oil and turn heat to medium high. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken breasts skin side down in the skillet and cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Once golden brown, flip the chicken breasts over and cook for 1 minute. Then flip the chicken back to the skin side, add the two whole cloves of garlic, the thyme sprigs and two ounces of butter and place in a 400 degree oven. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, making sure the chicken is cooked through. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the potato mousseline. Return the drained potatoes back to the pot. Cook over low heat to dry the potatoes slightly. Then add the potatoes to a potato ricer and add 4 ounces of butter (cut into cubes and still slightly chilled). Rice the potatoes into a clean pot and add 3 ounces of heavy cream. Season with kosher salt and ground white pepper to taste. Remove the chicken from the oven, flip the breasts onto a plate and allow them to rest skin side up. Remove the thyme sprigs and whole garlic cloves from the pan and discard. Add the minced garlic and minced shallots to that same pan along with the wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to remove any particles left from the chicken. Add the remaining 1 ounce of heavy cream and bring to a boil. Then add the beans to the pan along with the remaining butter and the chopped parsley. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Serves 3. Per serving: 1,281 calories; 95 g fat (50 g saturated fat; 67 percent calories from fat); 64 g carbohydrates; 9 g sugar; 320 mg cholesterol; 294 mg sodium; 45 g protein; 9 g fiber. From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140515/LIFESTYLE05/305150018#ixzz32wiQ9RfE

A Solid StartMay 2014

HOUR Detroit Magazine

The first thing you need to know about Bistro 82 is that the food is terrific and well worth a visit.

The first thing you need to know about Bistro 82 is that the food is terrific and well worth a visit. The second thing is that there has been a lot of buzz about this recent addition to Royal Oak’s hot restaurant scene, considering that the new owner is reported to have spent millions to revamp the building, adding to its curb presence enormously with its black, shiny glass exterior. The interior is cavernous in height accompanied by the wafting sound of the dining crowd. Bistro 82 is also coupled with Sabrage, a new second floor nightclub planned, but not yet up and running when we visited in March. Owner Aaron F. Belen is installing a posh new club that will offer a bar and a massive fish tank, a DJ-managed sound system, dancing, and bottle service booths guarded by those velvet celebrity “privacy-please” cordons to keep out the riffraff. Atmospherics aside, the food at Bistro 82 is extremely good. And why not, considering that the chef is Derik Watson, one of the most skilled and accomplished in the Detroit area. He is a veteran of such places as Iridescence at the MotorCity Casino, the long-departed Tribute in Farmington Hills, and Takashi in Chicago, as well as a stint with restaurateur David Burke in Las Vegas. The dining room is oddly enticing. Soft lighting blends pleasantly with the simple decor dominated by gentle hues of gray and creamy white. The glass front vitrine looks onto the street and is made up of multiple aluminum-framed glass sections, providing a faint view of the dining room from the outside. Inside, gray leatherette banquettes line the window, and simple, bare dark gray tables are set in white china, oversized bowl wine glasses, and plush white napkins with navy stripes. Sleek, clean-lined black chairs with white faux leather seat and back cushions keep the design and feel of Bistro 82 even and comfortable. But it is the food and menu that really shine at Bistro 82. The kitchen is solid, turning out enticing, good dishes with fun twists — from gently spiced, hot sizzling marrow bones accompanied by coarse sea salt to a steak tartare with the appropriate balance of condiments to beef (somewhat a rarity among restaurants that attempt it these days). There’s a necessarily simple but too often mishandled steak frites, which thankfully arrived exactly as requested — cold and raw in the center and singed on the outside — accompanied by french fried potatoes cooked in the traditional extra crisp Belgium style. Other first course offerings are fairly standard to brasserie menus, with an additional turn: a shrimp mirepoix dish with chorizo; pork belly served in brioche with a poached egg, and frisee salad in a sherry vinegar dressing; a gratin of salt cod with roasted garlic and potato; a terrine of vegetables including beets and a fresh mushroom medley (called here a “conserva”), and Swiss chard. A wrap consists of cucumber, carrot, arugula, basil, mint, coconut-curry, and peanut. An old-standby grilled artichoke is offered with lemon vinaigrette and roasted pepper aioli. And finally, Bistro 82 offers what seems to be on everyone’s menu these days: the ubiquitous Canadian original, poutine, made here from polenta into steak fries, with beef shank gravy and Vermont cheddar. No bistro menu would be complete without the requisite selection of oysters, and here they come by the half-dozen or a dozen, and depending on where the freshest are that week, either from providers on the East Coast or the West Coast, or both. Or, for the really seafood-addicted there is an assorted shellfish platter, offering oysters, crab claws, jumbo shrimp, and chilled mussels. At first glance, the menu appears pretty standard for the casual dining bistro: chicken, short ribs, hangar steak, rib-eye, and scallops among the listings. But at a second glance, it’s Bistro 82’s side dishes and other accompaniments that make them all quite different. For example, the evening of our visit, the chicken paillard was offered the usual way — pounded out and then grilled — except the accompaniments were watercress and fennel pollen. A 12-ounce Kurobuta pork chop is served with sweet corn purée, soybeans, roasted mushrooms, and a shallot-based reduction. For the non-meat eater, there is a vegetable pavé option, a layered lasagna-like square. Bistro 82’s version is made of eggplant, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, fines herbs tarragon-red bell pepper coulis, and lasagna pasta. A filet of Scottish salmon comes with succotash, purple potatoes, and a broth based on pistou, the marvelous lighter southern French version of pesto. There is also an excellent beef short rib dish. The ribs are slow braised in red wine to fork tenderness and plated with celery root purée and pan-wilted Swiss chard. Also highly recommended are the sea scallops — of which I admit I am not usually much of a fan. But here, they are perked up by a white bean mousseline and sauce Americaine, the rich, creamy, buttery, and slightly spicy shellfish broth-based sauce. The menu also offers old standards such as a seafood bouillabaisse made with lobster, mussels, shrimp, and saffron-shellfish broth, slathered with a rouille, the freshly made red pepper and garlic mayonnaise of Provence. And there is a traditional moules frites, the Belgium-style mussels and french fries, but with a curry aioli. The dessert menu is a real departure from just about anywhere else around town: It has such truly originals as a yogurt panna cotta blueberry compote, a plate of three incredibly light cinnamon-sugar New Orleans-style beignets with caramelized banana, and a cider-poached pear served with Greek yogurt, almond brittle, and star anise. When we visited Bistro 82 in March, only a cou- ple of weeks after it opened, the restaurant seemed shyly uncertain, which is not intended as a criticism because the staff of any new restaurant will eventu- ally settle in, as it always does with new places. The service is just a matter of time. The food is already where it needs to be. For now, the strength of Bistro 82 is all in the skilled hands of Watson, who has put together an extraordinarily good replica of a basic French brasserie menu, plus some North American twists. I emphasize “brasserie” here because Watson’s menu is a solid step up from “bistro,” which really sells short the level of food here. It’s much better than bistro. In summary, this is already a really good restaurant. But it has areas where it can become more re- fined and mature — in service for example — and the physical space feels oddly off kilter. But the menu is already totally solid, sending Bistro 82 to the fore with an impressive start.

Bistro 82!May 2014

StyleLine Magazine

Royal Oak might attract a younger crowd, but not every restaurant caters to that notion. With the recent arrival of Bistro 82, in the former Sangria space, comes an entirely new point of view. Scott Sadoff, director of operations, shares the juicy details about what’s already known as the talk of the town.

Royal Oak might attract a younger crowd, but not every restaurant caters to that notion. With the recent arrival of Bistro 82, in the former Sangria space, comes an entirely new point of view. Scott Sadoff, director of operations, shares the juicy details about what’s already known as the talk of the town. Though obviously all are welcome, Sadoff says they appeal to a distinguished, slightly older demographic. The sleek surroundings set the sophisticated tone. “No question – when you walk in, you’re transformed to a major market city, i.e. New York or LA,” he says. The French-influenced, modern European bistro features fashionable décor with clean lines and exquisite finishes. A backlit black onyx bar plays a starring role on the main floor, while a white onyx bar lends panache to the second level Sabrage ultra-lounge. “We’ve done a ton of restoring,” says Sadoff, regarding their West Fourth Street and South Lafayette Avenue location in the heart of Royal Oak. “It’s what we’re really trying to do here.” Although the restaurant is flanked by two parking structures, valet parking is among the perks. “We never want to be complacent. We always want to be appealing to our guests. We want them to feel comfortable and have a great experience,” Sadoff says. He credits executive chef Derik Watson, formerly from Tribute and Iridescence, with preparing wonderful menus. “People of every age enjoy the food and the service,” Sadoff says. Signature dishes include a bone marrow appetizer ($11), Wagyu Hanger Steak ($27) and Seafood Bouillabaisse ($26). Their savory snack selection consists of everything from spiced nuts and roasted olives to whole grain, classic and pretzel croissants. In addition to an extensive wine list, the drink menu ranges from a colorful concoction called Experience Z, prepared with locally made ZIM’s Polish, gluten-free vodka, to a champagne cocktail with Perrier-Jouet. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner only. The downstairs bar opens at 4 p.m. with dinner starting at 5 p.m. Bistro 82 is the ultimate location for special events. A private dining room with AV capabilities that overlooks the dramatic wine cellar is available to rent. Sadoff says they will also entertain inquiries about renting the entire restaurant. On the upper level, Sabrage is open Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. A 960-gallon aquarium built into the disc jockey booth is part of the indoor attraction, while an outdoor patio extends the European flavor. “You feel like you’re outside on a French terrace,” Sadoff says. “It’s great for people-watching.” In addition, booths are available for bottle service at Sabrage, which stocks 240 bottles of champagne. Despite their debut in the midst of a dreadful winter, newcomers have embraced the unique venue from the start. With its stylish environment and fabulous food, Bistro 82 is bound to become a hot spot for dinner and dancing all under one roof.!

Society Confidential: 'Bob Benson' does Royal OakApril 25th, 2014

The Detroit News

“Pete Campbell” bristled about having to go to see GM execs in Detroit in last week’s episode of “Mad Men,” largely because his handsome nemesis, “Bob Benson,” was there. From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140425/ENT09/304250035#ixzz32wkxTppf

“Pete Campbell” bristled about having to go to see GM execs in Detroit in last week’s episode of “Mad Men,” largely because his handsome nemesis, “Bob Benson,” was there. If only he knew! James Wolk, whoplays Benson (and Zach Cropper on CBS’ “The Crazy Ones” with fellow Detroiter Robin Williams),is actually in Metro Detroit quite a lot, as a Farmington Hills native and University of Michigan grad. Last week Wolk enjoyed his dinner at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak so much he visited the kitchen and tweeted “Making dessert in kitchen of Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, MI. If you haven’t been yet, check it out. #greatrestaurant,” along with a photo of himself with pastry chef Hillary Doan. Bistro 82 is in the old Sangria space on Lafayette. Miley Cyrus, look away Minding your manners is not something automatically associated with teenagers, but Juliette Lux and Madison Hunter insist that notion may need to be reconsidered. In an age of twerking and X-rated promwear, Juliette and Madison and a dozen other students from Grosse Pointe South High School wanted to see a return to elegance and good taste, so they formed Seniors for Etiquette. They hope to create prom etiquette awareness in young people with a contest inviting Metro Detroit high school students to post a short cellphone video to the “Seniors for Etiquette” Facebook page addressing prom etiquette — the do’s and don’ts. Such as: “We shouldn’t remove our shoes; we must eat using the proper utensils; and guys should open doors for their dates,” said Lux. “We’re promoting stuff like that.” The video with the most “likes” wins prizes from the Roostertail, including a $10,000 fireworks display at their prom (if it’s being held at the waterfront complex). Contest rules, prizes and a sample video can be seen on thesociald.com. Videos must be posted to “Seniors for Etiquette” by Tuesday. Condolences We’re sorry to hear that Dennis “Machinegun” Thompson’s longtime partner, Patrice Patrick, died April 11, at 59. Patrick, a longtime fan of the MC5, met the group when she helped book them to play at her school, Steuben Jr. High, in Detroit. She met Thompson, the 5’s drummer, years later when he worked at an animatronics firm next to the restaurant where she waitressed. A romance blossomed, and they were together for 33 years. Services for Patrick, a cosmetologist, are at 5 p.m. Saturday at the John K. Solosy Funeral Home, 3206 Fort in Lincoln Park, with visitation from 2-5 p.m. From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140425/ENT09/304250035#ixzz32wl0Vo2c

Trendy DestinationApril 17th, 2014

The Jewish News

The only restaurant experience that the late philanthropist Morris “Morrie” Fenkell had was providing food for eateries from the Fenkell Packing Co. that he and his brothers had at Eastern Market years ago … or having lunch with his employees as...

The only restaurant experience that the late philanthropist Morris “Morrie” Fenkell had was providing food for eateries from the Fenkell Packing Co. that he and his brothers had at Eastern Market years ago … or having lunch with his employees as chairman of the board at Liberty State Bank & Trust in Hamtramck, later purchased by Huntington Bank … or dining out with wife, Sybil. But the restaurant blood continues to flow in the veins of their grandson, Aaron Belen, whose Bistro 82 recently opened on Lafayette and Fourth in Royal Oak. Morrie’s business sense, too, in a big way, has obviously embedded itself within 31-year-old Aaron, whose entrepreneurial mind also includes his buying and owning the building his restaurant is in. The son of Lisa Fenkell, Birmingham, and Dr. Steven Belen, West Bloomfield, Aaron certainly proves that age is no barrier when it comes to smartness and ambition. The former Sangria restaurant is now unrecognizable with the new elegant decor appointments that include soft gray painted walls that look somewhat like a sea of aluminum in this easily multimillion-dollar renovation … Upstairs is the luxuriously furnished Sabrage upscale lounge with dancing and well-stocked bar, open Friday and Saturday evenings only, 9-2. Director of Operations Scott Sadoff, whose parents, Beth and Edward Sadoff, live in West Bloomfield, brings a dining mangement track record from Ocean Prime and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Bistro 82’s executive chef, Derik Watson, comes after working with Takashi Yagihashi at the former Tribute, with Don Yamauchi at Iridescence in Motor City Casino and from Rugby Grille … His expertise brings to Bistro 82 a delightful bevy of culinary styles including many with a French influence. RESTAURANTS HE HAS owned have received numerous awards in his many years of dining possessions, but Norm LePage, co-owner with Ken and Mary Nicholson of Big Rock Chophouse, Birmingham, can look with even greater favor on receipt of its latest accolade … Being one of 12 receiving the Achievement of Excellence Award at the 2014 American Culinary Federation (ACF) Central Region Conference held in St. Louis. Only three other dining establishments in Michigan have ever been given the highly prestigious ACF Achievement of Excellence Award … Detroit Athletic Club, 2012, Iridescence in Motor City Casino, 2011, and Kellogg Hotel, East Lansing, in 2002 … Quite a huge honor for Big Rock Chophouse. AMONG INTERIOR CHANGES being made at Beau’s Restaurant, former Beau Jack’s, under new ownership on 15 Mile at Telegraph, Bloomfield Township, will be a 108-inch-wide wood-fired grill where most proteins (seafood, chicken, steak) will be cooked … Plans are also to dedicate a grill space for Churrasco-style skewers. DANDY DINING DEAL … One of the better restaurant eating buys around, usually for five days twice a month, is the big favorite Petite Special complete dinner at Sposita’s Italian Ristorante, 14 Mile east of Farmington Road, West Bloomfield … Six-ounce petite filet, antipasto tray, minestrone soup, tossed salad, side of spaghetti, potato, vegetable and bread basket … $21.95 … No coupons or other offers … Next one is Monday-Friday, April 21-25, 4 p.m. to closing. MAIL DEPT. … “Where can I get good stuffed peppers with a lot of meat and little rice? I used to get them at Esquire Delicatessen in Southfield, years ago. The large peppers were delicious” … Sarah Glokstein. (Those stuffed peppers made by the Jewish women in Harry Weiss’ Esquire Deli kitchen in Harvard row were terrific. Maybe when Shirlee Bloom opens at Meyer Cohen’s Prime 10 in Southfield after Passover, she might eventually have them or will make them to order.) WHAT WAS TO BE just a “tide-over” offer during the terrible weather, has turned into a “Give us that deal all the time” sort of thing … So the five-course meal with 18 combination choices … $11.95 … will continue all seven days a week from 4 p.m. to closing … egg roll, soup, chicken-fried or white rice, entree and tea … Seven styles of chicken (General Tso, almond, cashew, etc.), pepper steak, Mongolian beef, sweet & sour shrimp, etc. …. Golden Phoenix Chinese restaurant, Orchard Lake Road, north of 15 Mile, Sugar Tree Plaza, West Bloomfield. GOOD WAITRESS DEPT. … Senada Suknaj … Smiling, personable, graciously efficient and customer-satisfaction oriented … at Georges Family Restaurant, West Bloomfield. IT’S BEEN CONFIRMED that Jim Leyland, former Detroit Tigers manager, will be here to see his friend Tony La Russa get the 2014 Hank Greenberg Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award … at the 24th Annual Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf Invitational, Monday, June 9, at Franklin Hills Country Club, Farmington Hills. Leyland might not be in the same foursome with La Russa, but may play with another top-sponsor foursome. This will be the first year that Major League Baseball will be a financial sponsor at the Greenberg … A MLB foursome will participate. HERE’S ANOTHER charitable raffle that sounds great … $25 tickets for a chance where only 500 ducats will be sold … Winner gets airfare for two to Las Vegas, three nights at the Venetian Hotel and two tickets to the main show in the Venetian Room … Drawing will be at B’nai B’rith’s 32nd Annual Golf Classic, Monday, June 2, at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield … with proceeds for its charities … Call B’nai B’rith, (248) 514-5516 for info or tickets. OLDIE BUT GOODIE DEPT. … A little lad came home from Hebrew school, and his father asked what he had learned that day. The youngster said, “The rabbi told us how Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt.” “How?” asked the father. The boy said, “Moses was a big strong man and he beat Pharaoh up. Then he got all the people together and ran toward the sea. When he got there, he had his engineers build a huge pontoon bridge. Once they got on the other side, they blew up the bridge while the Egyptians were trying to cross.” The father was shocked and asked, “Is that what the rabbi taught you?” “No,” replied the boy, “but you would never believe the story he did tell us!” CONGRATS … To Aviv Wolf on his 13th birthday … To Edward “Ed” Radner on his 77th birthday … To Keri Guten Cohen on her birthday … To Daniel “Dan” Dunsky on his 50th birthday … To Hanley Gurwin on his 80th birthday … To Anna Platner on her birthday … To Sandra “Sandy” Benson on her birthday … To Gerald “Jerry” and Rose Light on their 60th anniversary.

Sylvia Rector's Great Plates: Bone marrow at Bistro 82April 6, 2014

Detroit Free Press

Bone marrow still isn’t a dish you see everywhere, but neither is it really new. It began appearing locally on upscale restaurant menus at least a half-dozen years ago, about the time chefs began embracing charcuterie and nose-to-tail-cooking practices to try to use every part of an animal.

Bone marrow still isn’t a dish you see everywhere, but neither is it really new. It began appearing locally on upscale restaurant menus at least a half-dozen years ago, about the time chefs began embracing charcuterie and nose-to-tail-cooking practices to try to use every part of an animal. Marrow is the softer inner core of bone that becomes very rich and almost jellylike when roasted. To eat it, scoop up the marrow with a small spoon or knife and spread it on toasted bread. One excellent place to try it is the stylish new Bistro 82 in Royal Oak, where sous chef Norman Fenton says it’s one of the top 10 sellers. To prepare the dish, executive chef Derik Watson dusts shank bones, split lengthwise, with flour and pan-sears them to create a crust on the cut surface. Then the bones are oven-roasted until the marrow softens and begins to break down. For service, the bones are dusted with fresh lemon zest, minced chives and a bit of sea salt and plated with a beautiful herb salad, fresh lemon wedge and house-made toasted garlic crostini. When you taste the marrow, you’ll understand why Watson calls it “meat butter.” Menu price: $11. (401 S. Lafayette; 248-542-0082 and www.bistro82.com)

The 7 best restaurants to hit Detroit this Winter March 26, 2014

Thrillest

In the Detroit restaurant scene, there’s always something new popping up (sometimes literally), and although it may have been still remains cold, snowy, windy, and all-around awful outside, several brave souls have opened new spots worth your time in any weather. Here are seven of ‘em:

In the Detroit restaurant scene, there’s always something new popping up (sometimes literally), and although it may have been still remains cold, snowy, windy, and all-around awful outside, several brave souls have opened new spots worth your time in any weather. Here are seven of ‘em: related 16 things you have to explain to out-of-towners about Detroit Share on Facebook Tweet this article El Asador Mexican Steakhouse El Asador Mexican Steakhouse (click here for info and address) Mexicantown What can you get at Mexicantown’s newest steakhouse? Well, yes (surprise!), there's authentic Mexican-style steak (try the bell pepper-sauced carne guisada), but also fajitas, enchiladas, some killer chile rellenos, and a sizeable selection of seafood like fish tacos or shrimp in creamy poblano sauce. Check out their full menu here Share on Facebook Tweet this article Craft Work Craft Work (click here for info and address) West Village The folks at Craft Work have built themselves (and you!) a classy, cozy haunt over in West Village. They’ve got plenty of classic cocktails to choose from and rib-sticking delectables like fried chicken with braised bacon greens, mashed potatoes, and honey. Important note: they also have s’mores. Share on Facebook Tweet this article TopSoil TopSoil (click here for info and address) Midtown The folks over at Russell Street Deli put this vegetarian-vegan café together and stuck it in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD, for you abbreviation enthusiasts), which means for less than $8 you can get vegan coneys, giant Oreos, noodle bowls, and more. Even the vegans among us should not be deprived the primal joys of a coney. related The 12 best breweries in Michigan, according to science Share on Facebook Tweet this article Jeff Waraniak Urban Soul (click here for info and address) Downtown If you’re Downtown near Lafayette and find yourself needing a soul food fix (or if you aren't even really that hungry, but let's be honest, you can always eat), this is your spot. T-bone steaks, short ribs, catfish, chicken and waffles, and a whole mess of desserts -- including a chocolate tower and a Southern brownie -- are waiting for you. Share on Facebook Tweet this article Bistro 82 Bistro 82 and Sabrage (click here for info and address) Royal Oak What used to be Sangria in Royal Oak is now Bistro 82 (restaurant) and Sabrage (ultra lounge), a newly renovated, modernized, and fish-tank-backed-DJ-booth-equipped space serving up a mix of French-style bistro eats, like steak tartare, and more inventive stuff, like a poutine made from polenta steak fries and topped with braised beef and Vermont cheddar. You'll need the couches in the lounge upstairs when you're done. Share on Facebook Tweet this article Jeff Waraniak Midtown Zef’s (click here for info and address) Midtown It’s been a long time coming for Midtown Zef’s, which opened its doors in late January, but they’re serving up traditional coney island fare at full steam now, so pop in, check out the menu, and set it down, ‘cause you know you’re just going to get some coneys or a chicken strip pita anyways. related 7 underrated Detroit restaurants you should frequent Share on Facebook Tweet this article Terri’s Cakes Detroit Terri’s Cakes Detroit (click here for info and address) Downtown Terri’s Cakes Detroit hasn't been open long, and their cupcakes and other sweetness have already started to appear in Chicago, California, New York, and on Channel 4. It’s no surprise that with flavors like Key lime, cookies and cream, red velvet, blue velvet, strawberry lemonade, and Sprite, they’re already attracting attention/ salivation well beyond Michigan's borders. 1. Bistro 82 and Sabrage 401 S Lafayette Ave, Royal Oak 2. El Asador Mexican Steakhouse 1312 Springwells St, Detroit 3. Craft Work 8047 Agnes St., Detroit 4. Topsoil at MOCAD 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit 5. Urban Soul 1535 Lafayette St, Detroit 6. Midtown Zef's 4160 Woodward Ave, Detroit 7. Terri's Cakes Detroit 76 W Adams, Detroit 1. Bistro 82 and Sabrage You'll find French cuisine and a DJ booth surrounded by fish tanks in this new restaurant-and-lounge combination on Lafayette. Stuff yourself full of reimagined classics like the poutine made from polenta steak fries topped with braised beef and Vermont cheddar, then either dance away the calories or sit down on one of the couches and... lounge... away the calories. 401 S Lafayette Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067 248.542.0082 Website Menu