The Whitney is my favorite Detroit area restaurant, and I say that as one who appreciates tremendously its unique historical ambience. With a little imagination YOU can be a lumber baron / baroness for an evening, thanks to the Whitneys who built this mansion ... for your dining pleasure. When the restaurant opened in 1986 it had superior food and the finest waiter I've had on either side of the Atlantic. That waiter left four years later. There has been a tapering off of food and service since then. In the 'special occasion' price range, one has high expectations of both. I expect the waiter to (is this revolutionary?) wait on hand for a glance from a table and to send service to the table. You could get that in 1986. I can't get my mother to accompany me to the restaurant after a disappointingly tough filet mignon she ordered three years ago. Now, I ask, how is it possible for filet mignon to be tough? Our casual service there meant, and no doubt means for stretches of 10 or 15 minutes where 'you're on your own'. Despite the lapses, I'd jump at the chance to eat at the Whitney because its setting is just the finest in Michigan, and I'd give the food and service a 'medium' rating, for its price range.
Once the mansion of a prominent city resident, the Whitney is now a very upscale restaurant that creates a pleasurable dining experience every time. I strongly recommend Sunday Brunch. At $29.95 per person, you receive exceptional service and a 4 course meal, where YOU choose from their menu of lovely dishes.
Favorite Dish: The salmon was my favorite item on the dinner menu and the desserts are wonderful. A healthy dessert would be the fresh fruit, served with small portions of tropical flavored sorbet.
Also, during the summer, the Whitney hosts a fabulous after-work outdoor garden party, where $10 gets you in the door for an all you can eat buffet, live music and 2 cash bars. A great party to end the madness after a long work week!
The Whitney, Woodward Ave., Detroit
The Whitney restaurant was the home of David Whitney who arrived in Detroit in 1857 and later became the largest lumber baron in this part of the country. After four years of construction, his home was completed in 1894 at the cost of $400,000. The mansion is 21,000 SF with 52 rooms. Whitney died in 1900, but his family occupied the home until the 1920s. Various city offices occupied the building in the following years, but after a long period of vacancy, the home was remodeled into The Whitney, one of Detroit's great restaurants, that opened in 1986. Today, the retaurant is known for its amazing dishes, but budget travelers who want to splurge a bit can skip dinner in favor of a walk up the grand marble staircase to the third floor lounge. The lounge has a beautiful bar, light appetizer/dessert menu and weekend entertainment with a soulful divaesque jazz singer and a piano accompaniment. A visit to the lounge is a perfect splurge or prelude to a romantic evening. In the summer, the small gardens that surround the house host weekly garden parties, sponsored by a local rock radio station. The garden parties attract the pretty people who enjoy great appetizers, art exhibits and live music from top local bands. Local trivia: The second floor of the empty restaurant next door was once a used as a gym by Joe Louis, one of America's greatest boxers.
Favorite Dish: The dessert menu will include unique items such as a chocolate glazed bombe of chocolate and peanut butter mousses with caramel sauce, banana creme, and caramelized banana. Price range for a dessert: $8 - $12 USD.