It’s not often that caviar service is one of the options on a local menu. Prime + Proper is the exception. And that’s just one indication that proprietor Jeremy Sasson and associates intend to lend all the bells and whistles to this hot new downtown destination on the first floor of a circa 1912 building.
Don’t worry if you are not a fan of this expensive treat. It has its place on the menu as much to make a statement as anything else. There’s lots more on the corner of Griswold and State Streets to tempt us, starting with the highly detailed gold, black and ivory setting that combines vintage and modern styles.
Nothing has been left to chance, right down to the gold-rimmed Lenox plates, the outsized 20-ounce wine glasses, custom furnishings, the equally well-turned-out staff, and of course, the high-end cuts of beef and lamb displayed literally like jewels at the entrance to the kitchen. Where, by the way, there is a resident butcher.
Beef has a starring role in the kitchen headed by executive chef Ryan Prentiss, but I was somewhat surprised to see the extent of the seafood offerings, from the classic Dover sole meuniere, salmon and halibut to Alaskan king crab on the a la carte menu presented in an unwieldy black leather cover, one of the few off notes in an otherwise impeccable setting.
To balance out the caviar, there’s a burger on a sourdough bun, and in the early going, some diners are ordering one to share as an appetizer. An even better idea is to share some east and west coast oysters with subtle mignonette sauce.
All of this in a restaurant that includes conventional tables with views of the suddenly hip Capitol Park through the front windows, and more secluded banquettes, some with a glimpse or more of the kitchen. Patrons are welcome to take a look at the cuts of meat before ordering, and I confess the gorgeous porterhouse caught my eye among the array. And it was as good as it looked, tender but firm and done perfectly to just past rare.
Other cuts include the top-of-the line tomahawk ribeye as well as filet mignon.
Pastry chef Sharyn Harding prepares the desserts, which range from classics such as cheesecake with fresh berries to baklava sundae with honey ice cream, and a virtually irresistible chocolate cake.
Service is notable, and if it weren’t, Sasson and cohorts would have wasted their time putting together this high-end steakhouse. Pampering of every diner is very much a part of this ambitious project and they do a good job of it.
Prime + Proper
1145 Griswold, Detroit
Call (313) 636-3100
Hours: Dinner 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Tues., 5-11 p.m. Wed.-Sat., happy hour 4-6 p.m. Mon-Fri. in the bar.
Prices: Appetizers $15-$38, caviar service $45-$275, raw bar $6-$68, salads $14-$25, steaks and chops $56-$169, entrees $23-$69, sides $9-$18, desserts $9-$15.
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar and extensive wine list.
Noise level: Moderate
Wheelchair access: No barriers
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good ★★1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding