Sindbad’s a Detroit staple for 68 years

Molly Abraham, The Detroit News

Not everyone is looking for the latest hipster-approved restaurant. Some want something tried and true, and one of the places they know will please them is Sindbad’s, perched close enough to the Detroit River to offer a sliver of a view, if not a water vista.

It’s been there since 1949, run by the same family, the Buster Blancke clan, now represented by Brian, Denise and Marc Blancke and they preside over a menu that has been pretty much the same over the years. And that’s one of the elements its loyal fans appreciate. New England clam chowder, big juicy burgers made with Angus beef, and such fish dishes as Great Lakes perch, pickerel, frog legs and catfish, all either battered and fried or sauteed or broiled and presented in unfussy fashion.

Steaks are also emphasized, and there are three choices, filet mignon at the top of the price scale at $34, New York center cut Angus strip, and Delmonico and almost everyone who orders one chooses french fries as one accompaniment.

Service is efficient if not fancy, as befits this relaxing spot.

Children are treated very well. There’s a small children’s menu with four choices from hot dogs to grilled cheese, with french fries and fruit, at just $6.50.

I’d like to see the family upgrade a little. Packaged sour cream and those infernal little foil butter packets smack too much of a neighborhood diner, as do the cellophaned bread sticks and crackers on each table. And the quality of the rolls that arrive with entrees needs a boost, too — not that anyone is looking for artisan bread here. Small details, perhaps, but all detract from the good, basic fare that has been pleasing a wide demographic for 68 years now.

The bar is well stocked with beer, including many local choices, and the wine list has a suitable number of choices. A mixed drink that is especially popular is the Hummer, made with ice cream, rum and Kahlua and one of the concoctions is delivered to a number of tables in lieu of dessert.

We need a reliable standby like this friendly spot on the river, even if the view is less than spectacular.

Not everyone comes to Sindbad’s in cars. There are guest boat wells for those who cruise in.


Sindbad’s Restaurant

and Marina

100 St Clair, Detroit

Call: (313) 822-7817


Rating: ★★

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m daily. Sunday brunch 11 .m.-2:30 p.m.

Prices: Lunch entrees $11-!8, including two sides; dinner appetizers and sides $4-$11, soups and salads $4-$16, sandwiches and burgers $7-$11, entrees $12-$25.50, including two sides; desserts $5.50-$7.25.

Credit cards: All major

Liquor: Full bar

Noise level: Moderate

Parking: Complimentary valet only

Wheelchair access: No barriers

What the ratings mean

★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good

★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding