Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro Bar in Novi (Detroit), Michigan

Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro Bar has been a Detroit area institution since 1954. James Buchanan Brady, aka Diamond Jim Brady, made millions from selling railroad supplies, wore flashy jewelry, and ate twelve-course gourmet meals. His culinary prowess made him a well-known figure in the food world.

The restaurant’s current chef-owner, Mary Brady’s father-in-law James Brady shared Diamond Jim’s name and incorporated the name into the restaurant he started in downtown Detroit.

Location: Diamond Jim Brady’s Bistro Bar located at 43271 Crescent Boulevard in the Novi Town Center in Novi, Michigan, a suburb of greater metro Detroit.

Menu: The bistro-style menu has a generous offering of seafood dishes. The potato crusted Lake Superior Whitefish is a Michigan favorite, while other dishes include Scottish salmon, a salmon gyro, lobster BLT, and fish and chips. While there are more seafood options than one would typically find on a bistro menu, plenty of meat options also exist. Several burgers grace the list, including the Diamond Jim Brady’s half-pound custom grind, a Detroit original. Representative chicken dishes include the Korean Chicken tacos and the grilled chicken ciabatta.

Choices for vegetarians and those going gluten-free are ample.

Thoughts: The 50-table bistro has charming old world décor with black and white checkerboard floor tiles and paintings with a European flair.

The crispy flatbread had a thin crispy crust with a perfect balance of sweet and salty. The crust holds layers of goat cheese and prosciutto, caramelized onion, and sweet fig jam. Peppery arugula tossed in a lemon-forward citrus vinaigrette covers the top. This dish alone would make a return trip worthwhile. For a gluten-free flatbread, try the cauliflower crust with a five-cheese blend, forest mushrooms, and garlic.

French onion soup frequents bistro menus; however, the onion soup here it’s a Swiss creamy onion, that is deliciously different. It’s made with Gruyere cheese and topped with a baked crostini covered with melted Gruyere cheese.

The Caesar salad was voted Michigan’s best, and it’s easy to see why. The romaine is fresh, crispy, and served chilled. There are the standard croutons and parmesan cheese, but the housemade dressing makes the salad. It has anchovies, but don’t worry, even if you think you don’t eat anchovies, you’ll never see them in this dressing, and you’ll wonder why it’s so good. You won’t wonder why some say it’s Michigan’s best Caesar salad.

I asked if Jim Brady’s chili, a classic since 1954, was spicy. The server offered a taste since everyone tolerates spice differently. I prefer a bit more zip, so she recommended the vegetarian black bean chili, assuring that it had a nice kick. The black bean chili chocked full of vegetables includes carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes. Kidney beans accompany the black beans for an added boost of protein in this vegetarian dish. Cilantro sour cream provides a welcome relief from the spice, while crispy tortilla strips garnish the bowl.

The beef on weck is a dish that peaked my interest since I’ve never seen it served in Michigan. The sandwich is roasted chopped prime rib seared on serving. The meat covers a salted-caraway pretzel roll spread with horseradish. The dish, like chef-owner Mary Brady, is from Buffalo New York. It’s tender and juicy with a salty bite.

The blondie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a caramel drizzle topped with a chocolate dipped pretzel twist.

There’s plenty of free parking in the shopping center parking lot.

Price Range: Crispy flatbreads range from $10 to $12. Soups range from $6 to $8. The bistro lunch plates range from $11 for a vegetarian sweet potato burrito to $15 for fish and chips. The entrée lunch plates include a side salad. Other sides like maple smashed sweet potatoes or sautéed spinach is an additional $4 each. Desserts are $7. Lunch for two runs about $35 including tax and gratuity.

For Pinterest: Pin this to your favorite bistro-style restaurant board.

Fresh bistro food at Diamond Jim Brady's Bistro in Detroit, MIchigan

Amy Piper

Amy Piper is a freelance food and travel writer. She writes about food and multi-generational travel on her blog Follow the Piper. You can follow her on Twitter @amythepiper.

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