La Dolce Vita


A way of life and a restaurant in Detroit. On Saturday evening, a friend invited me to go to La Dolce Vita to celebrate my birthday. I had not been there for about 10 years and remembered with pleasure both the food and the ambiance.

From the front, there are three dim neon lights saying ldv. Going around the back to the main entrance is another story. There is valet parking and the lot was quite crowded. I walked through the entrance arch which were tastefully decorated with small white lights on to a patio emptied for the winter months. then through a door to a restaurant with several rooms. There was live music in the room with the bar. I was seated in the room next to the bar and only had to wait a couple of minutes for my friend. The Christmas decorations were right on the edge of being over the top.

The picture above is a view from the table. I remembered the bruschetta from 10 years ago as amazing and ordered it along with Chicken Marsala. My friend ordered Lobster ravioli and a salad.  Although the food was very good, I was slightly disappointed. The food was a reflection of the clientele.  It was solidly middle of the road and not very exciting. As I usually do, I ordered things I do not do or cannot do at home. A good choice since I can’t say I can do better. The meal was slightly bland. Even the dessert of Crème Brûlée was bland.

I fairly sure that with my interest in cooking for the last five or six years, I have changed. The food at La Dolce Vita has not.

Dinner at Cliff Bells 12/19/13

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Leaded glass window at top of women’s stall at Cliff Bells

I went for some music and planned to have dinner at Cliff Bells. When I had dinner there a few months ago, it wasn’t the meal I was expecting. So, I gave it another try. I sat in my favorite place which is by a large column in the middle front of the room. The sound is good in that spot.

I sat down and a waitress took care of the couple that came in after me at a nearby table. She then checked on another table. She did not speak to me or notice me. When she came back to the first table, I tried to catch her attention and she didn’t hear me. A couple of moments later another server stopped by another table and I was able to get his attention. He seemed shocked when I ordered dinner. (About five minutes later another server stopped by the table and asked if anyone had helped me.) So, the beginning of the service was rocky.

I ordered the grilled bistro fillet with buttermilk whipped potatoes, roasted asparagus and a juniper and wine sauce for $26. I also had my club soda and lime. The drink came within minutes. Since the meal was cooked to order (or the meat was), I knew it would take a little time. The young couple at the table slightly behind me were talking. The young woman had not stopped talking since I had been sitting at the table even when the musicians were playing a few feet from us. She got louder when the music got louder. I figured I could eat my dinner during the break so I could listen to the music when the musicians started playing.

My dinner was delivered.

20131220-185028.jpgand I apologized for the dreadful picture. It had the bistro fillet done medium rare in three pieces leaning against the whipped potatoes. There were two spears of asparagus. I will say all the pieces worked well together and the flavor was great. I felt shorted with only two spears of asparagus though. The steak was juicy with a well seasoned marinade. It is not as tender as most steaks but the flavor was great. The whipped potatoes had the tang of the buttermilk but were not warm. As far as the juniper wine juice, I couldn’t taste the juniper. If I order this again, I may ask for another asparagus spear and warm mashed potatoes.

They took my plate away just as the set started. The woman at the next table was still talking and talked for the rest of the evening. I adjusted my chair to block the loud sound of her voice competing with the music.