When the first thing a server says is, “You might want to choose your dessert first,” you can be pretty sure that the last course is going to be tempting. And it is. This downtown Royal Oak spot offers such choices as brownies with chocolate sauce, bread pudding and banana splits on the unsophisticated but crowd-pleasing list of desserts, or encore, as the menu puts it.
It points up what a hybrid the Morrie is: first and foremost a music room, emphasized by the wall of vinyl records on one side and the big stage in the dining room where performers appear even at brunch, and also a restaurant, with a snack-heavy menu and a well-stocked bar.
Although taste in music varies as much as taste in food, some dishes here cross a lot of lines, and offerings, such as the big meaty smoked chicken wings, charcuterie plate, matzo ball soup (matzo ball soup?) and eggplant Parmesan illustrate that.
Most people will find something they like on this accessible menu at both dinner and weekend brunch.
The dining experience, while casual, is enhanced by some stylish touches, including the big, absorbent dishtowel napkins wrapping the silverware atop the faux knotty pine-topped tables, the outsized red coffee cups, and the artistic presentation of such dishes as avocado toast with tomato, cilantro, pepitas and chipotle lime salt, one of the appealing brunch dishes.
Brunch also includes banana pecan pancakes, as well as the simple buttermilk variety, and both styles are enhanced by the topping of butter whipped with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bread is made in house, always a plus.
More solid stuff is on the dinner menu, including the obligatory burger — actually two patties of Angus beef on a house-made roll — and some imaginative sandwiches, typified by the grilled portobello mushroom, with spinach, tomato and roasted peppers.
The Morrie is named for owner Aaron Belen’s late grandfather, and it is the sibling of the more upscale Bistro 82 just a few blocks away. And that gives it the distinct advantage of sharing the talents of Bistro 82 chef Derek Watson, who oversees the Morrie menu, too.
The garage door-style front windows will be rolled up soon, adding the Royal Oak street scene to the buzzy atmosphere inside.
511 S. Main Street, Royal Oak
Call: (248) 216-1112
Hours: Dinner 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 4-11 p.m. Thurs., 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Fri., 4-1 a.m. Sat., 4-9 p.m. Sun. Brunch noon-4 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Brunch dishes $6-$13, dinner appetizers and sides $3-$12, sandwiches $9.50-$14, salads $11-$15, entrees $14-$23, desserts $5-$13.50
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: Moderate to high
Parking: Street or nearby lots
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good ★★1/2 — very good ★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding