Diamond Jim Brady’s has been in the news lately because of the relatively new (2016) Royal Oak spot called Jim Brady’s Detroit, and the announcement that more of these born-in-Detroit establishments are in the planning stages. The bistro, although certainly part of the family under proprietor Mary Brady, whose late husband Tom was Jim Brady’s son, is another take on the dynasty. It offers a modern American menu that goes well beyond the famous Brady burger and chili, but pays homage to them.
Brady and Sharon Juergens, the managing partner in the enterprise, are both trained chefs who can take over in the kitchen, but are also comfortable in the dining room. And that’s the key to what makes this attractive corner in the Novi Town Center quite special, its commitment to excellent food with service to match.
Everyone from longtime sous chef Greg Brown to the newest member of the waitstaff wrapped in one of the stylish striped aprons seems to have signed on to the Brady philosophy established by the original Jim in 1954 on Seven Mile Road and Greenfield in Detroit.
Stylish is also the word for the space, with an open kitchen on one side and small bar on the other, with seating arrangements from banquettes and high-tops to conventional tables in the adjoining high-ceilinged dining room with its black-and-white checkered floor and central wine kiosk. A wealth of art works and memorabilia adds flavor to the rooms.
Two flower-bedecked covered patios on either side just about double the indoor seating capacity (50) and they are, not surprisingly, the most popular this time of year.
The summer menu debuted last week, with such additions to the array as Korean tacos filled with spicy fried chicken in flour tortillas with both chili sauce and orange-jalapeno sauce, a nice blend of cuisines, lobster salad atop romaine with the subtle house lemon dressing, and lobster BLT on ciabatta bread, and all are available at both lunch and dinner, as are the beer-battered cod with warm housemade potato chips and potato-crusted Lake Superior whitefish.
Side dishes, at just $4 each, are typified by green vegetable tangle, a delicious little bundle of green beans, asparagus and spinach, and what I believe is the best Caesar salad around, crisp and cold, not overpowered by dressing and with just the right amount of good Parmesan. The Caesar also comes in a full-sized portion and it’s included with entrees.
Juergens’ prior experience at Streetside Seafood in Birmingham might explain the menu’s emphasis on fish and lobster. Never fear, meat lovers. There are also four burger variations from the original custom blend of beef to turkey.
Sunday brunch is order-from-the-menu style and includes chicken and waffles, flatbread with scrambled eggs, and a vegetable scramble.
Desserts, also any time of day, are crowd-pleasers. No poached pears here. Instead, Mary and Sharon dish up the likes of key lime pie, dark chocolate olive oil cake with whipped cream, and hot fudge cream puff.
This well-run place is a winning combination of casual tavern and ambitious kitchen in an affordable price structure, and, by the way, it’s the only independently operated full-service restaurant in the center.
Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro Bar
43271 Crescent Blvd., Novi Town Center, Novi
Call: (248) 380-8460
Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; brunch: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.; dinner: 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 4-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 4-9 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Lunch, brunch and dinner appetizers $6-$15; plates $8-$14; sandwiches $9-$15; dinner plates $11-$18, desserts $7.
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar and notable wine and beer lists.
Noise level: Moderate.
Parking: Attached lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding