FIVE THINGS YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE THIS MONTH
A Snake Bite that Hurts So Good
A revisit to the refined Rattlesnake Club,
now luring walkers and wine-lovers, too.
By Esther Allweiss Ingber
s the River Walk rolls on, from downtown
toward its future culmination at the Belle
Isle Bridge, the Rattlesnake Club restaurant
is benefiting from its proximity to the popular
pedestrian route along the Detroit River.
For 23 years, the venerable Rattlesnake (as
it's also called) has anchored Stroh River Place, a
modern office complex that replaced the famous
Parke-Davis Research Laboratory. It's easily
reached from the Renaissance Center along newly
paved Atwater Street, or from Jefferson Avenue by
turning south on Joseph Campau.
Large windows in the dining room afford
river views, or see the blue even closer from the
waterfront garden patio, a pergola-covered ter-
race that's been a popular wine-tasting spot this
past summer. Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi
was recently introduced as the restaurant's official
A brick plaza at the river's edge is a destination
for wedding ceremonies; sometimes the celebrants
stage a short grand procession in their wedding
finery from Roberts River Walk Hotel. Receptions
and gatherings of all sizes take place in several
well-appointed dining rooms, or can be done up
grandly in one or both of the twin six-story atriums.
(One of the largest parties was for upwards of 900
guests during the Detroit Auto Show.)
Acquired by the Stroh Companies last year from
founding chef Jimmy Schmidt, this is a forward-
thinking restaurant that respects its heritage but
knows when to discard it.
One thing that had to go was the Rattlesnake's
formerly high-priced menu, which most people
considered suitable only for"special occasion"
dining. Since February, Executive Chef Chris Franz
has offered guests the choice of prix-fixe meals at
dinner for a better value.
"We restructured the prices, offering two
courses for $37, $47 for three courses and $57
300 River Place Dr., No. 1900
Detroit, MI 46207
$$$ out of S$$$
for four courses, plus lower prices than before at
lunch," said Alex Franz, restaurant marketing direc-
tor and the chef's wife. "Now, we're a place you
could come to a couple of times a month."
The Rattlesnake Club continues its devotion
to offering creative, seasonal American fare that
frequently uses house-grown herbs. Chef Franz,
who worked 15 years with Schmidt, shops for the
restaurant almost daily at nearby Eastern Market.
Fin and shellfish are very popular with diners,
and the rosemary-rubbed wild Nova Scotia salm-
on filet I chose for lunch recently had a satisfying,
crunchy crust. My fish was served on a mound of
finely diced grilled summer vegetables mixed into
cumin-flavored couscous. At a neighboring table,
I watched two women happily polishing off plates
of Maine Diver Sea Scallops. Rattlesnake also of-
fers a Power Lunch — in and out in 30 minutes.
A popular treatment at dinner is the pan-
roasted and tandoori-spiced salmon served
over melon, pear, cucumber and arugula salad.
Another signature dish is Lake Ontario perch filets,
flash-sauteed, atop crispy potato cake and garlic
smashed potatoes with a citrus-caper splash.
The meat eaters aren't ignored either with
choices like peppered fillet of prime certified
Angus beef, roasted loin chop of Michigan baby
lamb and different treatments for free-range
chicken and duck breast.
For dessert, guests can try confections featur-
ing fresh seasonal fruits as well as house-made ice
creams and sorbets. My trio of wild berry, cran-
berry and melon sorbets on a flat, sweet wafer
was refreshing — just right.
The new owners have been renovating the
Rattlesnake Club, starting with polished Brazilian
cherry floors and a redo of the bar/lounge area
with lots of red accents and comfortable seating.
The Grill Room just beyond it, informally known as
the Mask Room, has a colorful wall arrangement
of 48 Mexican masks that show the evolution
from beast to man. Although still lovely with its
contemporary art and live trees, the main dining
room is due for its makeover in 2012. RT
For You Bobbie-Soxers with an Attitude
Mister Heavenly: Out Of Love album review.
By Natalie Sugarman
il ister Heavenly is what I call an indie rock su-
pergroup. The quirky and charming threesome
that make up the band are indie rock veterans
Nick Thorburn (Islands/the Unicorns), Ryan Kattner
(Man Man) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse). Their
touring bassist is Superbad actor Michael Cera.
The band's debut album, Out Of Love, was born
out of a fascination with ill-fated romance and a
shared love of the 1950s' R&B"doo-wop"genre.
Out of these communal interests, Mister Heavenly
has created its own state of mind — and the music
archetype called "doom-wop."
Band members Kattner and Plummer met in
2007 when Modest Mouse and Man Man began
touring together. Kattner and Thorburn met in
Philadelphia in the final days of the Unicorns, or
possibly the early days of Islands, they're not really
sure; either way, they hit it off immediately.
The 12 tracks on the album are dark with a
strange eccentric and addicting quality to them.
The opening track on the album, "Bronx Sniper,"
intros in with the slow strum of guitar and the lyric,
"In the Bronx when the guns go off, we like it."The
tempo of the song picks up with electric guitar, the
crash of drums, cymbals and static electric sound-
ing vocals. The vocal style is a bit similar to the
Black Keys in their song "Next Girl,"from the album
The title track, "Mister Heavenly;' has a surf-
6 September 2011 I
in waves of
doom-wop. It has a
unique and addictive appeal
that becomes more tangible with each
Track 6 on the album, "Reggae Pie;' has an intro
that reminded me of a slower beginning to the
Doors'"Alabama Song." Once the vocals come
in, however, the similarity ends — and a head-
bobbing reggae beat lends to the song's hypnotic
There are a couple of tracks that evoke some spe-
cific images, like"Hold My Hand,"which conjures up
visions of sock-hops, diners and two sweethearts
sharing an ice cream soda. Then there's the song
"Your Girl7that seems well-suited for any 1960s
beach movie; Beach Blanket Bingo anyone?
Mister Heavenly takes sounds from the past and
then spikes them with a current esoteric musical
vision that brings them up to present-day speed.
The ebb and flow of the album has just the right
amount of splash.L-c
SUPPORT FOR THIS PAGE HAS BEEN UNDERWRITTEN, IN PART, BY
THE LION KING
If your kids are young enough to love The Lion King, chances are
they weren't around in 1994 to see it on the big screen. Here's their
chance — and yours. For two weeks only, kicking off on Sept. 16,
the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning movie, voiced by Matthew
Broderick, Nathan Lane, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg and more,
hits theaters in 3D, for the first time. Welcome to the Circle of Life!
Check your local listings for locations and times, or visit
Head to Paradise Park for indoor/outdoor fun for everyone while
there's still some warmth in the air. Go-karts for the grown-ups and
kiddie go-karts for ages 4-8; a trampoline center (with each trampo-
line isolated within its own safety nets); a four-sided climbing wall;
miniature golf amid waterfalls; soccer cages; laser tag; an arcade;
and, new this year, mini-bowling.
Snack on hot dogs and pizza in the food court or in the outdoor
veranda, or picnic in the Gazebo Center. Next marking period, bring
in that awesome report card for free tokens. Call or log on for hours
Paradise Park, 45799 Grand River Ave., Novi. (248) 735-1050;
CAMP IN — CAMP OUT
Choose your pleasure at Marshbank Park ... Camp In: (just Friday
evening from 6-9 p.m.), lounge by a
campfire, roast marshmallows,
join in a sing-along to live mu-
sic, a bounce house and crafts
and games for kids ($5/car).
Camp Out: (sleep overnight
with the family) camp under
the stars, listen to storyteller -
Judy Sima weave a tale and /
wake to breakfast in the
a.m. (camping fee: $10/
adults; $7/kids 17 and
under; includes entrance fee to park for evening activities).
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24. Registration required.
Marshbank Park, 2805 Hiller Road, West Bloomfield. (248) 451-
1900; westbloomfieldparks.org .
Every Sunday through Oct. 23, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., visitors to the
Birmingham Farmers Market can shop more than 70 booths of
farm-fresh organic vegetables, fruits, flowers and garden plants —
plus baked goods and hand-crafted items — amid live entertain-
ment and family-friendly activities.
And on Sunday, Sept. 18, live sheep-shearing demonstrations are
thrown into the mix. At the Harvest Festival (formerly known as Hay
Day), families can learn about the evolution of farming: kids can
shell corn with an old-fashioned corn Sheller; pet rabbits, a pony
and baby animals courtesy of Bowers School Traveling Farm; view
antique farm tools and create a craft.
Birmingham Farmers Market-City Parking Lot No. 6 (across from
Salvatore Scallopini and Booth Park). (248) 530-1200;
MAX & RUBY
Join brother-sister bunnies Max and Ruby
on a musical bus ride to East Bunnyhop
General Store, where they'll try to decide on
the perfect gift for the Super Duper Special
Birthday Guest in Max & Ruby Bunny Party
Live. Based on Nick Jr.'s No. 1-rated show,
which in turn is based on Rosemary Wells'
beloved books, Max & Ruby hop on over to
the Royal Oak Music Theatre noon and 3
p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. $29.50-$39.50.
Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. 4th St.,
Royal Oak. (248) 399-2980;
royaloakmusictheatre.com; tickets.com .
— By Lynne Konstantin