Bill’s club atmosphere, cuisine a 4-star experience
Experience counts. And it shows in every aspect of Bill Roberts’ sixth restaurant, the first one to be a namesake. All of them are going strong, from the first, the venerable Beverly Hills Grill, now 25 years old, and then in succession, Streetside Seafood, Café ML, Roadside B & G, and Town Tavern. Each has its own personality.
The newest, Bill’s, just past its third anniversary, is clubby and convivial, but that doesn’t mean first-time diners are going to feel like strangers. The staff is friendly and welcoming in addition to being professional, and the setting is comfortable even though it has a veneer of chic.
Seating arrangements include tables for four or two and butterscotch leather banquettes along a wall virtually covered with an eclectic collection of framed art works and photographs, and a mirror that reflects the massive brass chandelier that illuminates the space.
There are just 90 seats in two rooms divided by etched glass dividers, and small perches along the etched glass that divides the dining room and bar. That may just be the prime spot with a view of what’s going on.
Chef Nick Jarulaitis is in charge of the kitchen, where the theme is modern American with touches of French bistro and Italian trattoria. The task is to serve all three meals a day, in the tradition of Beverly Hills Grill, a schedule not attempted by many ambitious restaurants.
Breakfast is relatively simple, in the vein of omelets, scrambled eggs, hash browns and French toast, but in some ways they show the kitchen’s skill even more than the complicated dishes. The perfect omelet is not easy to achieve. Weekend brunch, served from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days, is more varied, with added lunch dishes such as grilled shrimp kale Caesar (that’s kale Caesar, not hail Caesar), king crab Louie with avocado, cucumbers and pickled onions with the components arranged separately on the plate for the individual diner to combine to taste rather than mixed and that style makes it an especially appealing dish.
From the Italian perspective, there’s meatballs with tomato basil sauce, polenta and housemade ricotta, and veal piccata, and from our home state, rainbow trout. And burgers, of course, made with a blend of chuck, brisket and short ribs, accompanied by the house fries. Upgrade to the truffle fries for a real treat. Selections, pared down to a reasonable length, are nicely served by the staff in dress shirts and ties.
Chef Patrick Roettele lends a hand here and at the other restaurants in his capacity as corporate chef, and he has been with Bill Roberts for 25 years. I hesitate to use the word “corporate” because Bill’s and the other restaurant show no signs of it.
They certainly rank with the best the area has to offer.
39566 Woodward at Long Lake, Bloomfield Hills
Call: (248) 646-9000
Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m- midnight Fri.- Sat., 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Breakfast dishes $11-$15, sides $3-$6, brunch entrees $9-$25, lunch appetizers $8-$12, sandwiches $13-$16, entrees $12-$27, dinner appetizers $8-$15, entrees $13-$27, steaks $27-$40, desserts $5-$6.
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: Moderate
Parking: Attached lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding