Dining: Red Crown’s ambience, menu refreshing

Molly Abraham
The Detroit News

Establishing a restaurant’s personality isn’t difficult when you start with an eye-catching building like the red tile-roofed 1932 gas station on the corner of Kercheval and Beaconsfield in Grosse Pointe Park. But that’s just the start.

The menu should be equally distinctive. And at Red Crown, it is. The Southern smokehouse theme, emphasizing assertive flavors from the wood-grilled meats that include baby back and St. Louis style ribs, chicken, duck and beef brisket, and salmon, prawns and lobster tail, too, sets the place apart from the crowd.

Michael Keys is the chef/smoke master for proprietors, David and Shery Cotton, now with four years experience presiding over the seven-days-a-week schedule in the dining room, once the working garage, and adjoining bar, the former office area.

The menu offers diners many ways to put together their individual preferred combinations. Any of the smoked items come with a choice of two sides from a long list that includes truffle, sea salt or sweet potato fries, mac and cheese, pork rinds and the sturdy house braised greens among others. Or simply choose one of the fully garnished entrees such as chicken breast prepared sous vide style with squash, kale and barley sparked with a raisin glaze, or braised short ribs served with spicy grits and green beans.

Chef Michael also offers a Southern sampler array (for two) of pulled pork, beef brisket, both styles of ribs and smoked apple and sage sausage.

The house burger, made with a blend of short rib, sirloin and chuck, is a perennial favorite, as is the smoked and fried turkey leg that arrives at the table looking like a dish for a caveman rather than a human, but well worth trying. The meat is tender and delicious and is easily detached from the bone, taking it well out of its usual role at Thanksgiving dinner. The big white linen napkins come in handy with this dish, as well as many others.

Despite the emphasis on meat, there are some interesting salads: roasted beet with arugula and grapefruit segments, and one that seems to be the best of both worlds, pulled chicken with apples, almonds and cheese on a bed of romaine.

Just about everything is accompanied by miniature corn muffins, an appropriate touch. Also appropriate is the friendly service by the young crew in black T-shirts.

Red Crown is refreshingly different.


Red Crown

15301 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park

Call: (313) 822-3700

Web: redcrowngp.com

Rating: ★★★

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs, 11 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. brunch, 4-9 p.m. dinner Sun.

Prices: Appetizers,. soups and salads $7-$18, sandwiches and burgers $12-$15, entrees $18-$26, desserts $5-$7.

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