Macomb restaurant week aims to dazzle diners with upscale eats

Annual event set for Sept. 13

By: Cortney Casey | C&G Newspapers | Published September 4, 2012

 Server Stephanie Hill, of Macomb Township, serves up bleu chips and dragon fire shrimp at Sterling’s Bistro in Sterling Heights. The restaurant is one of several on board for the Marvelous Macomb Restaurant Week’s fall edition, which focuses on fine dining.

Server Stephanie Hill, of Macomb Township, serves up bleu chips and dragon fire shrimp at Sterling’s Bistro in Sterling Heights. The restaurant is one of several on board for the Marvelous Macomb Restaurant Week’s fall edition, which focuses on fine dining.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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To paraphrase celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry is kicking it up a notch for the latest edition of Marvelous Macomb Restaurant Week.

In its third installment Sept. 10-14, the event will specifically highlight fine dining, with participating restaurants offering prix fixe three- to five-course meals for lunch, dinner or both.

Considering the fact that restaurants represent the most-searched category on the chamber’s website, the idea fueling Marvelous Macomb Restaurant Week’s launch in April 2011 was to publicly highlight the county’s varied fare, said Lisa Edwards, the chamber’s marketing director.

A second go-round was held this April, but as most other communities with similar events — such as Detroit and Troy — host two a year, “we were kind of baby-stepping our way up to that,” she said.

There had been requests among the area’s upscale restaurants to hold a week that focused specifically on that type of cuisine, she added, and “those are the more popular restaurants during Restaurant Week as it is, so we decided to try it a second time” in 2012.

In contrast to the spring installments — during which eateries offered any specials they desired, such as two-for-one deals and percentages off total bills — the fine dining version requires restaurants to assemble a three- to five-course menu with the fixed price of their choosing, said Edwards.

At press time, six locations had been confirmed for the September promotion: Sterling’s Bistro and Andiamo Italian Bistro in Sterling Heights, J. Baldwin’s and Brio Tuscan Grille in Clinton Township, Harbor Bistro Grille at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township and Twisted Rooster in Chesterfield Township.

Additional restaurants joining the lineup, plus their special Restaurant Week menus, will be posted on the chamber’s website, said Edwards.

Rob Banish, general manager at Sterling’s Bistro, considers the event another prime opportunity to “get our name out there.”

The bistro — located near Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights — opened in March 2011 and has been steadily expanding its reach, participating in the spring Marvelous Macomb Restaurant Week and Sterlingfest for the first time this year, he said.

“We think we’ve built up a pretty nice reputation over the last year and a half with our food quality and our service quality,” said Banish.

Known for its wood-fired pizzas and upscale American fare in what Banish described as a “casual, comfortable atmosphere,” Sterling’s Bistro will offer a $25 four-course dinner that includes multiple options for soup, salad and entrée, all culminating with house-made crème brulee.

Harbor Grille Bistro signed on for the fall festivities because “we like trying to help spread the word about Macomb,” said office manager Lisa Kliza. “Our cuisine definitely fits into fine dining, even though the atmosphere is more casual, so you get the wonderful food of a fine dining establishment without the extreme of having to be in a suit and tie. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Kliza said Harbor Grille embodies the bistro philosophy by keeping things fresh and simple, relying heavily on local products and changing with the seasons.

At press time, Harbor Grille’s chef was still putting the finishing touches on the Restaurant Week menu, but Kliza said there’s one certainty: The lineup will end with a treat whipped up by the facility’s “fantastic” pastry chef, as “no meal is complete without a fantastic dessert,” she laughed.

As in the past, Marvelous Macomb Restaurant Week will have a philanthropic component, with $50 from each establishment’s registration fee to the chamber donated to the Macomb Charitable Foundation to support the organization’s food program, said Edwards.

For more information, visit www.marvelousmacomb.com, or call (586) 731-5400, ext. 13.

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