Built in 1938 as an homage to traditional German biergartens, Terry's Terrace was originally known as Terrace Gardens and served patrons frog legs and burgers from out a window. The eatery grew up and out from these modest beginnings, changing its name and spawning a pub room, a patio, 20 plasma TVs, and a beer list with more than 24 draft brews and 99 bottled beers. The fare still draws customers, who can snag classic comforts such as slow-roasted prime rib or fish 'n' chips made with Atlantic cod, though these days patrons can enjoy their menu selections from a table instead of a window frame. Drinks range from local craft beers to the flaming Spanish coffee, whose cinnamon-and-sugar rim is carefully caramelized by the breath of a newborn dragon.
Every morning at Tom’s Oyster Bar, chefs scrawl the day’s battered and grilled seafood specials on chalkboard menus suspended from the ceiling. In addition to that list of freshly caught fish, the chefs tout their commitment to fresh seafood by stocking their raw bar with oysters that are shucked to order and then gently scolded for hording pearls.
In the wood-accented dining room, companions can sip from dozens of draft and bottled brews and bask in the glow of flat-screen TVs, or retreat to the outdoor patio and take in views of downtown Royal Oak.
At Brownie's on the Lake, chefs grace tables with burgers, hand-cut steaks, and fresh seafood from a classic American menu. As with most dinner entrees, Brownie's lobster mac 'n' cheese centers on a protein as it tucks butter-poached lobster into leagues of molten cheddar and reefs of elbow macaroni. The char-grilled New York strip steak pops with signature zip sauce, and the pan-fried Great Lakes perch wears a flaky coat of cornmeal. In addition to a mixed-greens salad or serving of house-made coleslaw, each diner can add a side such as sweet-potato wedges or herbed rice pilaf.
Chef Travis Waynick of Northern Lakes Seafood Company carefully curates a menu of fresh fish and seafood in a nautical-themed environment. Duos and quartets of diners embark on aquatic journeys with cups of creamy lobster bisque or clam chowder, or declare herbivorous allegiance with the house, caesar, or iceberg-lettuce salads. All fresh catches, including the Peruvian tilapia, are prepared grilled, broiled, blackened, baked, steamed, sautéed, or buttermilk-fried. Seared scallops sashay to tables, and pan-roasted chicken cuddles with spaetzle and grain-mustard jus lie sauce as a vegetable side watches from the stairway. Reward bellies with sweet slabs of key-lime cheesecake, pumpkin-bread pudding with black-walnut ice cream, or crème brûlée with seasonal fresh fruit.
At Dylan’s, customers find themselves contemplating a generous spread of entrees and tapas, sushi, and an extensive wine list. For starters, patrons can slurp a bowl of clam chowder ($7) or chomp on single pieces of red-snapper (tai, $3), bluefin-tuna (toro, $8), or squid (ika, $2.75) sushi, then transition to a plate of lobster mac 'n' cheese ($8) or flash-fried coconut shrimp with pepper jelly ($11). After a sweet helping of Japanese– inari tofu-vegetable rolls (6 pieces, $5) or a squid-and-octopus tako salad ($7.50), omnivorous eaters can set their appetites at ease with a serving of beef-tenderloin tips tossed with whole-wheat pasta ($20), a 12-piece sashimi combination plate ($22.50) served with sushi rice, or a platter of frog legs ($15) in hot-pink leotards. Clogged body pipes can then be flushed with a glass of Cartlidge & Browne sauvignon blanc ($9), Latour chardonnay ($7), or Montoya pinot noir ($9).
Overlooking the Detroit River, Sindbads augments its surf 'n' turf menu with a marina-themed décor of nautical bric-a-brac and seaworthy mahogany-inlaid flooring. Toting a cargo of french fries or coleslaw, hefty burgers and sandwiches pull into port, including the Bully Buster, a half-pound Angus beef burger ($6.95) and the Flying Jib, a lightly fried fillet of orange roughy, fresh pickerel, or perch ($9.95). The menu explores farmside fare, such as the Sohar, a USDA Choice 8-ounce filet mignon charbroiled in Sindbads Zip sauce ($28.95), or the Catamaran's two pork chops served with applesauce ($14.95). The Gulf Stream improves on the classic grilled cheese sandwich, adding a layer of bacon or ham ($6.50) like George Lucas's director's cut of breakfast. Every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the restaurant serves a brunch buffet, including a variety of scrambled eggs, vegetables, and fruit. Sinbads also offers free shuttle service to Red Wings, Lions, and Tigers games in Detroit.