Once fresh catches arrive to Cafe West, it's up to you how they're made. Diners can choose from 10 preparation styles for 6 seafood classics, from deep-frying mahi-mahi to stirring perch into scampi. Of course, the chefs whip up their own creations, too, such as mac and cheese made from cavatappi pasta, succulent scallops and shrimp, and house alfredo sauce.
Besides maritime options, Cafe West spotlights plenty of land-based proteins, including chargrilled 1-pound ribeyes and blackened chicken smothered in housemade pineapple salsa. Bartenders complement meals with an extensive selection of wine and brews both imported and local, some of which they showcase at frequent tasting events.
Circular mirrors back the bar, while the windowpanes in the casual dining room sport ocean-themed decorations, including diagrams explaining the differences between public and private schools of fish. Outdoor seating sets a relaxed mood during warm months.
Outfitted with black tablecloths, framed art, cushy booths, and carpeted floors, Black Pearl’s dining room is a comfortable space that leaves plenty of room for romance to flicker in the low light. In this, it’s well matched to the menu: a selection of pastas, steaks, and seafood with options to suit occasions ranging from a quick lunch to a grand night out. Tender prime rib stars in both hearty surf ‘n’ turf entrees and a slew of sandwiches and salads. The Blade noted that the signature cut—a carryover from the restaurant’s previous incarnation as HJ’s Prime Cut—“continues to be superb,” while also praising lake perch that’s “tender and sweet, with a light breading that doesn't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the fish.”
Beyond the dining room with its arched windows and hanging lamps is a fully stocked bar whose tenders pour beer and mix martinis, including a line of signature drinks made with midnight-dark Blavod Black vodka. Armchairs clustered around low tables and a single flat-screen television introduce a clubby vibe. But the restaurant's most intriguing seats may lie just beyond the front door, where curving half-walls painted with a Rothko-esque design swoop around a party-friendly circular table.
Oakwood Grill & Bar sates stomachs with classic American bar fare, wets whistles with a wide array of beer, wine, and cocktails, and keeps boredom at bay with a full slate of boisterous special events. The menu's hearty offerings include a herd of 24 buffalo wings ($17.95) and the spicy Hot in Here burger ($6.95) topped with grilled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, and three strips of Dearborn bacon. Like ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls, the loaded pepperoni roll ($6.95) enfolds more than 40 pepperoni slices in thin pizza dough slathered in butter and parmesan cheese. Hungry herbivores, meanwhile, can snack on lightly battered fried pickles and cream-cheese jalapeños ($4.95) while sipping beers and cocktails mixed behind Oakwood's long cement bar with a motor-powered cement mixer.
Peals of laughter rise from families around the granite tabletops at which hibachi chefs crack jokes and flip shrimp over the grill. At Ichiban Steakhouse, expert grillers don black chef suits and show off their skill at slicing and searing chicken, steak, and seafood. Flanked by dark wood walls, nearby sushi chefs slice fresh fish to wrap tightly in specialty rolls. Five tatami rooms provide semiprivate spaces for business meals, romantic outings, or discreet transformations into a werewolf.
Family-friendly Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi prepares authentic Japanese fare mere inches from ravenous patrons on in-table hibachi grills. Using fresh fish and ingredients from around the world, expert chefs mix up flavor medleys with tricks and flair. The traditional dinner menu starts off with cold and hot appetizers ($5–$15), including Japanese favorites gyoza—crispy oysters—and the seaweed salad, which sneakily ensnares tongues with chlorophyllic flavor. Hibachi dinners create a landscape of flavor with bubbling springs of soup, leafy fields of house salad, fresh vegetables, and the plump hibachi shrimp appetizer, all drizzled with Nagoya's own special sauces. Choose from a variety of land-bound and ocean-entrapped entrees, such as the hibachi steak ($24), scallop and shrimp ($26), or vegetable ($12). Sushi-bar offerings range from nigiri and sashimi to a large selection of specialty rolls and combinations suited for sharing or zealously hoarding. A generous assortment of wines, sakes, and martinis lightly complements the menu of satisfying comestibles.
Owner Jerry Costanza and his culinary crew create Northern Italy–styled dishes, including seasonal recipes. Their extensive wine list features vinos from Italy's major wine regions, along with organic and vintage-tiered selections from everywhere from Australia to Michigan. The staff pours these to complement the eatery's signature USDA–certified Piedmontese beef dishes, the lean, juicy, tender meat of which comes from cattle that originated in the foothills of the Italian Alps—also where Ducatis graze until they become Ferraris. Along with beef dishes, the chefs dish up sautéed shrimp, grilled sea bass, and italian truffle mac 'n' cheese.