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What's really important about Thanksgiving Day is the chance it provides to spend time with family and friends, whether that means around the dinner table at home or at one of the many restaurants serving the holiday dinner in their dining rooms.

The day, once reserved for home-cooked meals a la Norman Rockwell, has become a major dining-out occasion. We've gotten over our collective guilt about allowing others to stuff the turkey, cope with the gravy and mash the potatoes.

Not, of course, that we have to stick to the tried-and-true dishes. While turkey and dressing are certainly being served all across town, restaurants also offer sustenance for those who prefer steak or seafood — or even lasagna — on this oh-so-traditional occasion.

There's a wealth of choices in a wide range of price points for those who are content to stay out of the kitchen Nov. 27. Among the options:

Mario's, 4222 Second Ave. Detroit (313) 832-1616. Family-style dinner of turkey ($120 for six to eight people) or turducken, (a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a turkey, a dish made famous by the late football coach John Madden), which serves 8 to 12 at $160, are among the features at this venerable spot in Midtown. Plated turkey dinner is $22.95 for adults, half price for children 12 and under. The regular menu will also be offered by the new executive chef Matt McCallumore and his staff. Hours: Brunch 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by dinner 1-9 p.m.

Beau's Grillery, 4108 W. Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills (248) 626-2630. The snappy new spot will serve from noon-8 p.m with an a la carte menu as well as a complete turkey dinner at $25.

Kruse & Muer Seafood Grille, 911 Wilshire Drive, Troy (248) 362-2700, is one of several spots that fly the Kruse & Muer flag. Turkey and trimmings will be served at a fixed price, and there will be a la carte menu choices as well from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $22 for adults, $7 for six and under. Also open: Rochester Chop House and its satellite, Kabin Kruser's, 306 S. Main, (248) 651-2266, from 12:30-6.30 p.m. ($25 and $7) and Kruse & Muer on Main, 327 S. Main, (248) 652-9400 in downtown Rochester, noon-7 p.m., ($19.95 and $6.95) as well as Kruse & Muer Roadhouse, 801 S. Lapeer Road, Lake Orion (248) 814-9500 ($19.95 and $6.95).

Inn at St. John's, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth (734) 357-5700. The restaurant called 5ive at the boutique hotel will serve an elegant multicourse dinner to the tables at $55 for adults and $20 for children, from noon-8 p.m.

Rocky's of Northville, 4122 W. Seven Mile Road, Northville (248) 349-4434. Rocky Rachwitz' woodsy spot will serve old-fashioned turkey dinners at $18.50 for adults and $8.50 for those 10 and under, with many other dishes available, from noon-8 p.m.

Greektown Casino-Hotel, 555 E. Lafayette, Detroit (313) 223-2999. Bistro 555, the only Greektown Casino restaurant open to children, will serve buffet style from noon-10 p.m. at $32 for adults, $18 for 12 and under.

Capital Grill, 2800 W. Big Beaver, Troy (248) 649-5300. In addition to its a la carte dinner menu, the elegant restaurant at the Somerset Collection will offer slow-roasted turkey with trimmings at $36, 12 and under $15, from noon-8 p.m.

Iridescence, 2901 Grand River, Detroit (313) 237-6732. The room with a view atop the MotorCity Casino Hotel will begin serving its $65 four-course Thanksgiving dinner at an early 3 p.m. and continue until 8 p.m.

Mitchell's Fish Market, 117 Willits, Birmingham (248) 646-3663; 370 N. Adams Road, Rochester Hills (248) 340-5900; 17600 Haggerty Road, Livonia (734) 464-3663. The regular seafood menu will be available along with a traditional turkey dinner at $27.99 for adults and $6.99 for those 12 and under, from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. at these three spots.

Cameron's Steakhouse, 115 Willits, Birmingham (248) 723-1700. The next-door sibling of Mitchell's will serve three-course Thanksgiving dinners at $39.95, $12.95 for those 12 and under. Hours are 12-8 p.m. The regular menu will also be available.

Rugby Grill, Townsend Hotel, 100 Townsend Street, Birmingham (248) 642-5999. Four-course dinner ranges from $75-$85, depending on choice of main course, served from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. There's also a menu at $37.50 for the 12 and under set.

Station 885, 885 Starkweather, Plymouth (734-459-0885). The cozy railroad-themed spot is planning a plentiful buffet from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. with adults $23.99, and those 3-10 $11.99.

Big Fish, 700 Town Center, Dearborn (313) 336-6350. Turkey dinner is served to the tables by reservation from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $22.99 for adults, $12.99 for 12 and under.

Dearborn Inn, 20301 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn (313) 271-2700, ext. 6209. Choices here: brunch buffet from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in Edison's ($60 for adults, $30 for children six to 12), or dinner buffet in the Ten Eyck Tavern from 4-8 p.m. ($35, $17 for those six to 12) and there's nothing more traditional than the inn.

Aspen on Hall, 20333 Hall Road, Macomb Township, (586) 226-8838. Buffet is the theme from noon-6 p.m. at $19.99 for adults, $10.99 for those 6-10 and complimentary for five and under.

Ernie's Mediterranean Room, 16655 19 Mile Road, Clinton Township (586) 286-8435. A lavish buffet of traditional favorites will be served from noon-7 p.m. at $25.95 for adults, children under 11 $9.95, and free for those under five.

Portofino, 3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte (734) 281-6700. The Downriver spot will serve a buffet of holiday dishes from noon-5 p.m. at $22 for adults, $20 seniors, and $10 for those 10 and under.

The Rhapsody, 14315 Northline Road, Southgate (734) 283-9622. The colorful Hungarian spot will serve turkey and trimmings from noon-6 p.m. at $15.95 per person, or $17.95 per person for family-style service. Other dishes will be available too, and there's a children's menu at $4.95 for those 10 and under.

Maggiano's, 2089 Big Beaver Road, Troy (248) 205-1060. A four-course holiday dinner (with choices within the courses) will be served from 11 a.m-9 p.m. at $39.95 for adults, $17.95 for the five to 12 set.

The Whitney, 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit. (313) 832-5700. The turn-of-the-century mansion is offering Thanksgiving dinner in its vintage rooms with reservations taken every half hour starting at noon and continuing until 6 p.m. Soup, salad and dessert will be served to the tables, with a bountiful buffet as the main course. The price is $59 for adults, those under 10, $29.

Steve & Rocky's, Novi Town Center, 43510 Grand River, Novi (248) 374-0688. Farm-raised local turkeys from proprietor Steve Allen's own farm will be served with all the trimmings, noon to 8 p.m. Adults $18.50, children 12 and under $8.75. There are many other menu items at a la carte prices.

MGM Grand Detroit, 1777 Third St., Detroit (313) 465-1234. Full-course turkey dinner, at $16, will be served from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. at Tap, the only venue in the entertainment complex that allows children, who enter through the hotel. Palate Dining Studio will have its buffet stations open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. with holiday buffet, $32. Wolfgang Puck Steak will serve complete turkey dinner at $36, from 5-10 p.m., along with its regular menu.

The Hill, 123 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms (313) 886-8101. Traditional turkey dinner will be served from 2-7 p.m., at $23 for adults and $8.99 children 12 and under. Other menu choices will be available. The restaurant is showing off a snappy new décor this Thanksgiving.

Texas de Brazil, 1000 Woodward, Detroit (313) 964-4333. Along with its regular parade of grilled meats on skewers, the restaurant in the Compuware Building will add Thanksgiving items to what is already an eye-popping array, from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. It's $42.99 for adults, half price for those 6-12, and $5 for the two to five set.

Juliano's, 27380 Van Dyke, Warren (586) 754-8383. Traditional holiday buffet is $16.99, with half price for those 10 and under. Hours are 1-6 p.m.

Atwater in the Park, 1175 Lakepointe, Grosse Pointe Park (313) 344-5104. A three-course dinner with a choice of pork or turkey entrée will be served from 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., at $22. Those who want a left-over size portion add $7. Kids 12 and under, $10.

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