“Est. 1976” proclaims the dinner menu at Beau’s. And there certainly was a restaurant by that name on the same plot of expensive real estate. The current rendition, however, is a new Beau’s in every aspect. Only the name remains after a complete redo of the space, now cleverly transformed from the buttoned-up style of the ’70s and ’80s to a stunning new 2014 sensibility, with a corresponding upgrade of the menu.
It’s not that the contemporary American menu reads as anything out of the ordinary. There are what appear to be standard items, from the lunchtime sandwiches and salads to grilled chicken, fish and steaks at dinner. It’s the talented kitchen’s execution of the dishes that makes Beau’s stand out.
The spacious room, with its uncovered windows and dramatic lighting from open filament bulbs and brass library lamps, is focused on the activity in the kitchen visible behind a big glass wall at the rear. Three copper-clad booths are perched right there — so close to the action diners can feel the heat from the wood-burning grill on the other side of the glass, where executive chef Dan Campbell and his crew are turning out such wood-grilled notables as prime rib, lamb chops, fish and shrimp.
Not everyone likes to be that close to the action, and there are many other seating arrangements in the room, ranging from armchairs at the brass-topped bar to plush leather banquettes along three walls. And by the way, those who happen to glance up at the ceiling above the bar are treated to an unexpected decor element — a library of books rather than bottles is displayed on wooden shelves.
Proprietor Zack Sklar, whose MEX is in the same ZIP code, made a wise choice of designers and also scored when he brought the experienced Campbell, most recently of Roast, on board.
There are a number of standouts on the menu, certainly including the barbecued ribs ($22 at lunch, $26 at dinner), beautifully meaty and well-trimmed little dry-rubbed baby backs with just a hint of char and no discernible fat. They are teamed with crisp, multicolored coleslaw and also what the menu terms french fries but are really crisp house-made potato chips enlivened with a delicious tangle of “burnt” onions. It’s a pretty magical pairing.
The ribs and grilled salmon are the only two dinner entrees that also appear on the lunch menu, which pretty much sticks to a list of salads, all with house-made dressings, and sandwiches on house-made breads, including farm bread, pita and buns. The chicken salad with bacon, dried cranberries, pecans and apple on farm bread is an instant hit, and so is the tuna melt sparked with those terrific burnt onions.
In the early going, noise level has been a problem, but it is being worked on and may be solved by the time you read this.
Old restaurants don’t always fade away. Sometimes they get a new life. And in this case, it’s a happy beginning.
4108 W. Maple,
Call: (248) 626-2630
Rating: ★★★3 stars (out of 4)
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4-10 p.m. Sunday.
Prices: Appetizers $6-$18, lunch entrees $21-$22, salads $9-$16, sandwiches $12-$14, dinner entrees $17-$35, a la carte sides $7, desserts $7-$8.
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: High, but the sound problem is being addressed
Parking: Attached lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers