Review: Triple Nickel specializes in fresh seafood

Molly Abraham
The Detroit News

Nooks and crannies are very much a part of the decor at the stylish restaurant in the high-rise at 555 S. Old Woodward. Diners may choose a cozy table tucked next to a big window, or a corner alcove on the lower level of the room, or a perch at the bar under the big buffalo head trophy that is a symbol of the place, along with the buffalo nickel.

The variety of seating choices reminds me of an old friend who used to tell his indecisive wife as they waited to be seated, “I’ll wait at the door until you decide where you want to sit.”

Triple Nickel just celebrated its third anniversary under proprietors Marc Blanke and John Fleming. Those names may sound familiar, because they worked together for years at Sindbad’s on Detroit’s waterfront before taking on the Birmingham spot.

The two restaurants do have some similarities, of course, including an emphasis on seafood. Triple Nickel, while comfortably casual, is not as informal as its waterfront cousin, and the menu under chef Fleming is more ambitious. There’s also a focus on dishes from a calorie perspective.

The menu includes a selection of entrees that are 325 calories or less at lunch, 475 at dinner, and it includes a number of appealing dishes regardless of that aspect. For instance, seared scallops topped with Thai chili sauce, char-grilled salmon with house-made salsa, and 4-ounce filet mignon at a surprising calorie count of just 300. That stems, says Fleming, from the patrons of the neighboring fitness and exercise studios.

The chef also serves a vegan burger, as well as half-pound buffalo and prime beef versions on the wide-ranging American menu. He is particularly proud, however, of the fresh seafood brought in directly from the source. As a case in point, you won’t find a better fish and chips than his version of Atlantic haddock lightly beer-battered and served with thin, crisp fries and coleslaw, and he can also do it gluten-free. House soup is New England clam chowder, and there are two additional soups each day.

Service is friendly and accommodating by a competent staff that doesn’t mind if an occasional patron roams the room for just the right table.

Triple Nickel

555 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham

(248) 480-4951

Rating: ★★★

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Thurs.,11:30 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.Sun.

Prices: Lunch appetizers $9-$16, soups and salads $5-$12,sandwiches $10-$14, entrees $12-$19; dinner appetizers $9-$16, soups and salads $6-14, entrees $16-$31, desserts $5-$8.

Credit cards: All major.

Liquor: Full bar

Noise level: Moderate

Parking: Attached structure and street.

Wheelchair access: No barriers.

What the ratings mean

★ — routine ★★ — good

★★ 1/2 — very good

★★★ — excellent

★★★★ — outstanding