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2/5/08

REVIEW - Small Plates Royal Oak


Things we like......
Small Plates Royal Oak
310 S. Main St
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248.543.3300

Small Plates new spot on Royal Oak's Main Street of eateries.

From start to finish a really delicious, if a touch decadent affair. Knowing Small Plates was opening in Royal Oak was enough to send my saliva and taste buds tingling. Having been to the Detroit location a few times I knew I liked their style already.
The portions are not very small, perhaps only in comparison to today's "supersize" steakhouses and the like. The menu is brief and perhaps lacking a little bit on the specials side but all in all there is something for everyone.

But I am getting ahead of myself. When you first walk in your senses are enveloped in warm chocolaty colors, the glow of a fiery pizza oven and a very eager to please staff including Doug, the manager. The night my guy and I went there the entire upstairs was booked for what seemed to be a wedding shower. The downstairs tables were full, so they offered us a spot at the downstairs bar, with full service of course. Before we could finish our Hendricks Gin Fizz & Small Plates Cosmo with Ketel we were soon obliged with a coveted upstairs table and took the elevator instead of the staircase.

And I'm glad we did. Upstairs is a very cool large seating and bar area with more of the same warm colors and fantastic greenery with hundreds of votives which may have had to do with the private party. In the back is another semi-private seating area that looks to be set for use as a VIP or large party area. Nonetheless, it was nothing short of a stunning visual and feeling.

The overall effect is a hip lounge, yet very warm and inviting. Front fa├žade is all windows allowing the lights and sounds to spill in from the street. The only thing missing was some type of artwork on the walls but they just opened so maybe in time they will display some of the great artists who work in the area up on the walls as many other restaurants have been doing.

Quickly as we sat down and made ourselves comfortable our waiter, Scott, came over and greeted us like good friends. He explained the menu and I pronounced that I knew exactly what I wanted. A Greek pizza to start - which honestly was my least favorite item--nice try but it needs more pepperoni and veggies in general. 2nd was the seared scallops--very very good but the noodles it comes with could also use a little help.
Next, the premier item the petit filet was a tribute to perfection--seasoned and cooked exactly the way I like it including crispy fried potato strings on top. This was the decadent part of dinner indeed as every bite melted away - hats of to the chef!
We also ordered the Panko Shrimp and Mushrooms; my partner commented that the shrimp sauce it was served with could use a little more fire to it but otherwise was very good and the mushrooms were exactly what you want to eat with the bread basket provided at no extra cost. Each item was served with perfect timing and courtesy by the well oiled runner machine who took pride in every new plate placed at our service.

Overall, it was a great dinner. I would like to see a few special entrees, like braised short ribs on the menu. I do recommend giving them a shot for a date or dinner with friends or private party.

And we especially can't wait to return to the upstairs bar on a sultry summer evening when the live entertainment that "coming soon" will spill out onto the patio seating out front, down on Main Street. -JDP