Review: Lumen Detroit offers unique menu, historic view

Molly Abraham
The Detroit News

Old Detroit and new Detroit are juxtaposed strikingly on the corner of Grand River and Cass. History is represented on one side of the street by the Grand Army of the Republic building, and on the other by the new Beacon Park and its sophisticated restaurant, Lumen Detroit, all glass and wood, just beginning its run.

Diners in the glass-walled Lumen can look over and see the turrets and battlements of their historic neighbor, as well as the greenery of the park, which will be a focal point as the summer event season gets rolling.

Lumen is very much worth a visit on its own, for its well-prepared American fare in the hands of the Norm and Bonnie LePage family (Big Rock Chop House and Griffin Claw Brewery in Birmingham and Clubhouse BFD in Rochester Hills) and executive chef Gabby Milton, and also the handsome setting by architect Victor Saroki.

The dining room offers a view from virtually every one of its stylishly set white marble-topped tables. The bar is apart from the dining room, always a comfort factor.

The single page menu is as distinctive as the contemporary decor. Appetizers — known as snacks here — include irresistible freshly made warm bread-like pretzels with cheese dip, three to an order, perfect for sharing, as are the charcuterie plate and the chicken wings seasoned with sea salt, garlic, onion, as well as dill and lemon.

House soup is tomato bisque and there is always a second one. And among the salad selections is an interesting Asian-themed mix of cabbage, red pepper, edamame and sesame seed in ginger vinaigrette. The only standard one among four choices is the obligatory Caesar. You may make salad a main dish by adding shrimp, salmon or chicken.

Main courses include pan-seared salmon dressed up with quinoa, tomato, asparagus and chimmichurri herb sauce that keeps what is often a dry fish nicely moist. And as might be expected, there’s a New York strip with bearnaise butter and thin, crisp frites at the top of what is an affordable price scale at $27.

Service by the well-dressed staff is impressive. The servers are well-trained and appear to have been hand-picked for their efficiency and manners.

This new spot is real addition to the already booming downtown dining scene.

Lumen Detroit

1903 Grand River at Cass, Detroit

(313) 626-5005


Hours: Dinner 3-11 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 3-9 p.m. Sun. (Lunch and brunch to be added in late May.)

Prices: Appetizers $7-$18, soups and salads $6-$12, entrees $11-$27, desserts $3-$7.

Credit cards: All major.

Liquor: Full bar

Noise level: Moderate

Parking: Valet

Wheelchair access: No barriers

What the ratings mean

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

★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding