Inside Kyoto Japanese Steak House, guests sit at large hibachi tables with a close-up view of chefs cooking scallops, filet mignon, chicken, and lobster. More than 80 traditional Japanese and Thai dishes are grilled up by hibachi chefs, and 25 specialty rolls take shape in the hands of sushi chefs, who combine ingredients such as soft-shell-crab tempura, flounder, and submarine meat. Above the dark-wood floor of the dining room, a curved bar serves up sake and fruit-infused cocktails.
Tracing its lineage back to 1939, Lelli’s remains in the hands of its original founders, the Lelli family, and continues its culinary tradition of rich, Northern Italian steak-house fare. Skilled chefs and servers prepare and present à la carte dishes such as juicy filet mignon, fresh seafood, and house-made egg pastas draped with rich tomato and cream-based sauces, or bookend European-style six-course meals with antipasto and palate-cleansing spumoni. The dimly lit dining room plays host to private events, corporate dinners, and family meals, and frames feasts with light that glints from candles and crystal chandeliers, reflecting off of cherry-wood furnishings and roosting in the folds of alabaster tablecloths.
It’s no easy task, but somehow Duo Restaurant & Lounge manages to meld elegant dining and a sophisticated Manhattan-inspired lounge experience all under one roof. The duality also applies to the cuisine, an artfully plated cross between upscale bar food and classic steak-house items. Toasted cheese-stuffed ravioli and burgers crowned with white cheddar and bacon represent the former, and the latter includes potato-crusted yukon salmon and 10-ounce new york strips served with whipped potatoes and house zip sauce.
The theme is also evident in a cocktail menu divided between classics such as pomegranate martinis and inventive signatures such as the plum sake and the Taste of Asia’s elderflower blend. Visitors can also peruse a wine list that groups selections around flavor categories such as Light, White & Interesting and Lots of Pinot Noir.
Roma Café started out as a one-woman operation way back in 1888. The Marazza family ran a boarding house for Eastern Market farmers, and Mrs. Marazza would always serve a hot meal to anyone who stayed. Word of her cooking skills spread quickly throughout the Eastern Market area, and her various fans convinced her to open an official restaurant. In February of 1890, Roma Café was born.
Its continuing commitment to classic recipes is apparent from one glance at the menu, where housemade pastas share space with veal scaloppine and broiled lobster tails. Adventurous eaters will be drawn to dishes such as the sauteed sweetbreads and frog legs, and wine enthusiasts can browse an extensive list of reds, whites, and specials.
Although the baked lasagna and chicken parmigiana are certainly Old World staples, Roma Café hasn't become mired in tradition. Its third-generation owner, Janet Sossi Belcoure, takes regular trips to Italy that keep her up-to-date on culinary trends and the latest gossip on who's dating Michelangelo's David. The restaurant also offers an all-you-can-eat buffet on Monday nights, complete with appetizers, pasta dishes, and cannoli. If you stop by on the night of a Red Wings game, there's even a shuttle that will take you to the arena.