Restaurant mailbag: Our critic answers your dining questions

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

As people became to feel more comfortable dining out this summer, I've gotten a lot of questions from readers, friends and co-workers about the Detroit area dining scene. 

You want to know where to get a specific dish or where to find bars that have activities you miss, like karaoke or happy hour. I've also been asked for all kinds of recommendations related to outdoor dining lately. For this week's column, I'll answer some of the recent inquiries I've gotten. If it proves helpful, we'll make this a regular feature. 

The Continental, Ford House's new restaurant and named after the iconic car, has a private dining area between the main restaurant and the patio, which overlooks Ford Cove.

Where can I have dinner on the east side near water? 

If you're looking to dine with a view of water on the city's east side, consider new canal-side, mostly outdoor restaurant Coriander Kitchen. It's fun, farm-fresh and very casual, and recently expanded hours to include Wednesdays. It's now open for dining Wed.-Sun.

Not too far away in the Marina District is longstanding steak and seafood spot Sindbad's Restaurant. Serving Detroiters since 1949, this is one of those destinations every local should visit at least once. They specialize in perch, steaks, soups and salads and have a cool, nautical-themed banquet room overlooking the marina. 

Further east into the 'burbs, the redone restaurant at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, the Continental is open for dinner, lunch and brunch with outdoor seating that has a view of Ford Cove and Lake St. Clair. St. Clair Shores also has the more casual, seafood-centric Mike's on the Water right on the lake as well with seating inside, outside and on the upper deck.

Which restaurants have prime rib right now?

Chances are your neighborhood steakhouse can hook you up with a nice plate of prime rib or a ribeye, but sometimes slow-roasted and sliced prime rib is only offered as a special for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day or other occasion. 

For a sure thing, head to Mr. Paul's Chophouse in Roseville or the Clawson Steakhouse in that neck of the woods where prime rib is a menu staple. In Detroit, Mario's Italian restaurant has a prime rib special this coming Wednesday. Get a 1-pound cut plus sides for $26. 

My partner's birthday is on a Tuesday but the high-end restaurant she wanted to go to isn't open Tuesdays — where can we celebrate?

Special occasion dining early in the week can be tricky. Mondays, Tuesdays and sometimes Sundays were often dark nights for restaurants even before the pandemic. Staffing shortages and other struggles have forced businesses to even further limit their hours. 

Adachi executive chef Lloyd Roberts holds a tuna with serrano chiles, cilantro and Wafu.

Still, there are some very nice restaurants where you can splurge and dazzle your date even on a Monday or Tuesday night. In downtown Detroit, enjoy quality food and great service at places like San Morello in the Shinola Hotel, Parc at Campus Martius, Joe Muer Seafood in the Renaissance Center or the Caucus Club in the Penobscot Building, all open daily. The London Chop House is also open Mon.-Sat. 

In Birmingham, upscale Middle Eastern restaurant Phoenicia and Adachi (a Japanese restaurant inside the Victorian Peabody Mansion) are great options for a special dinner any night of the week. Both take reservations, even for outdoor seating. 

Do you have a question about Metro Detroit food or dining? Email me or ask me on Twitter and perhaps I'll answer your question in an upcoming column.

Twitter: @melodybaetens