Eating at the Top

Originally published June 8, 2016 – Iridescence continues to be the standard for fine dining in the city of Detroit. Yes, there are newer restaurants. Yes, there are the restaurants of the moment. But none have continued the standard of excellence set by Iridescence, as evinced by their streak of AAA 4 Diamond awards.

We held a large group dinner (18 people) at Iridescence this past weekend. Arrangements were made with David Brown, the manager, for appetizers and champagne to be waiting, and a special menu was provided. I’ve had the pleasure of working with David on a few dinners now, and he is eminently professional, and always delivers top-notch results.

We were ushered into the wine room, where a wonderful table was set: an amazing charcuterie board, Caprese skewers, and an hors d’oeuvres of steak tartare, horseradish crema, and a potato chip. Chelsea and Oretha greeted us with trays holding flutes of champagne. Our group enjoyed the elegant atmosphere, and the delicious appetizers.

After an interval, we were ushered to our table. We had chosen a menu of two soup choices, two salad choices, and five entrees. Most popular were the lobster bisque, an orange bowl of rich, creamy lobster flavor, with the hidden prize of a nugget of what I believe was butter-poached lobster in the bottom of the bowl. This soup was so good we shared tastes with others at the table.

The wedge salad was another popular choice. It was a slight twist on the classic preparation, which in a lesser restaurant can be as simple as a 1/4 head of iceberg, with a dollop of bottled Thousand Island dressing. Not the case here, as the side of tomatoes, the house-made dressing, and the generous topping of bacon combined to elevate this option.

Of the entrees, I chose the spring pea risotto, with black truffles. A good risotto is a thing of joy and comfort, and this was an exceptional version: creamy, the rice cooked till a bit of bite remained, generously topped with truffle. The cheese and fungi were in balance, with neither overpowering the other.

Another guest ordered the filet, a 1 1/2 – 2″ thick cut that claimed to be 10 ounces, but looked larger. She had ordered it rare, and the steak was perfect: a hard sear crusting the outside, with nearly the entire center a deep red hue. She proclaimed it cooked to perfection.

The Bento Box was a very popular choice, ordered by 5 or 6 of our guests. Comprised of crispy tuna, shrimp tempura, seared sea bass, an amazing ceviche, and a couple of other surprises, this was a seafood feast of flavor. Each section was expertly prepared, an overall light meal with bright, full flavors. Several of the guests called out the ceviche as the star of the box, and this is a dish I would love to see added to the menu as an appetizer. I would order it every time I walked in!

For dessert, a cake had been prepared, a white cake: moist, light, tasty, not overly sweet. It was a great ending to the meal.

Service throughout the evening was stellar. Oretha and Chelsea took wonderful care of us. Frankly, front of house at Iridescence has always been a strength. What was great to see on this visit was the outstanding food from Chef Rutkowski’s kitchen. The menu has been updated with more imaginative choices (the bento box!), and the appetizer side remains where Iridescence, well, shines. One could certainly make an interesting evening simply treating the appetizers as small plates, and splitting a number of the choices.

Regardless of your choice, Iridescence always serves up an elegant evening. The service, cuisine, and view remain at the top of the Detroit dining scene.

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