As you may have read earlier this week, Detroit Restaurant Week is fast approaching. And while the enormous line-up may be a source of excitement for some, for those of us who consider ourselves sub-par decision makers, the list seems daunting. Staring at so many amazing choices, I find myself wondering how to choose.
If you’re looking for an iconic Detroit location, celebrated for elegant ambiance and delectable cuisine, The Whitney should be your immediate choice. Built in the 1890s for lumber baron David Whitney Jr., The Whitney has since been transformed into one of Detroit’s premier luxury restaurants.
Designed in Romanesque style by Detroit architect Gordon W. Lloyd and completed in 1894, The Whitney was first converted to a restaurant in the 1980s by Richard Kughn, who called The Whitney “An American Restaurant in an American Palace”. Indeed, the mansion is nothing short of palatial, with 52 rooms totaling 21,000 square feet.
Current owner Bud Liebler, a former Chrysler executive who took ownership in 2007, has in recent years built the iconic estate into Detroit’s premier fine dining locale. By retaining the charm and refinement of the mansion, Liebler and his staff have created an ambiance that has won The Whitney acclaim as Detroit’s Most Romantic Restaurant.
It’s not just the incredible surroundings (including twenty fireplaces and numerous Tiffany stained glass windows), however, that make The Whitney one of Michigan’s most distinguished restaurants: the cuisine has earned equal praise. Executive chef Jason Gardner’s creations bring diners contemporary excitement and unforgettable flavors (I could spend hours praising the gnocchi I had months ago, and don’t even get me started on the Snowglobe I indulged in for dessert) that build life-long customers.
In fact, Gardner reveals that this is one of the best parts of restaurant week, saying, “At The Whitney we look forward to Restaurant Week every year. It’s a great way for us to showcase our culinary expertise, passionate service, and, of course, the Mansion’s spectacular ambiance. Restaurant Week is all about making year round friends.” This year’s menu is sure to do the job. From Confit of Duck Taco to Pan-seared Rainbow Trout, Braised Veal Cheeks to Chocolate-Peanut Butter Lollipops, there is something for every taste and preference on the Restaurant Week menu.
If (by some stretch of the imagination) dinner at The Whitney isn’t up your alley, there are still plenty of options for visiting Detroit’s landmark eatery; The Whitney offers brunch, Oyster Hours, and High Tea, as well as Champagne Tours, and the newly transformed third floor lounge, the Ghost Bar. So, whether it’s mouthwatering cuisine you lust for, or simply the relaxed, yet majestic atmosphere, you haven’t experienced Detroit dining until you have visited The Whitney.