There’s a warm, stately dining room tucked away out of sight in downtown Detroit.
Bohemia serves up a trendy, chef-led, fun upscale menu on the third floor of the 130-year-old Detroit Club in an ornate dining room, but you kind of have to know it’s there because it’s not. There is no exterior signage or major clues that the restaurant is open to the public.
That is, however — at least for now, that could change in a year or two, says Detroit Club President Lynn Uralli — and everyone is welcome to make a dinner reservation four nights a week at the historical space.
Non-members are also welcome to enjoy a drink at the cigar bar at the other end of Bohemia’s lobby or on the first floor in the majestic Library bar. All three rooms are beautiful and have an ambience you don’t see much in newer downtown restaurants. It is an impressive destination for a romantic date, especially if your companion is a history buff.
Bohemia’s kitchen, which opened earlier this year, recently switched to a fall/winter menu with more emphasis on cuts of meat, such as a pork tomahawk and boneless rib eye.
It’s the kind of room that calls for a steak dinner, with its candlelit fireplace, sturdy, velvet-upholstered chairs, faux greenery, and high decorative ceilings. A few chandeliers provide low light, enough to notice the details of the mahogany wood trim, elaborate wallpaper, and framed art, which is a mix of classic styles and a few modern pieces from the Detroit artist Tony Roko.
The new menu has a better selection of vegetarian and vegan offerings than the previous iteration. Along with a trio of salads and vegetable sides, there’s a vegan entrée of cashew mushroom orecchiettes flavored with a savory mushroom broth, cashew miso butter and walnuts. grated cashews. Look for seasonal cold-roasted squash topped with warm apple honey, sesame seeds and an egg yolk furikake (a Japanese seasoning).
Chef Bobby Rosenberger has cleverly brought Nashville Hot Chicken to the fall menu. It is a filling dish of half a chicken brined and coated in a crispy, honey-sweetened breading that looks like candy. Served with well-executed crispy mashed potatoes, dill pickle slices and a square of cornbread, the tender chicken has a good amount of spice and a ton of flavor, but it’s still about average, as far as heat is concerned.
Also very good is the brie brûlée, served piping hot in a very small cast-iron tray with honey and walnuts and a croissant from the excellent nearby patisserie Cannelle. Another standout is the filet mignon tartare, which was excellent on its own but kicked it up a notch with sweet tomato caramels and tomato aioli.
I’m noticing more and more that restaurants are starting to charge for items that were once often free, like bread baskets, and that’s the case here too. For $10 you get a small bowl of Castelvetrano green olives and an assortment of toast, crusty bread slices and fine breadsticks. The best is honeycomb butter, which is melty, soft and rich. Honeycomb butter can also be ordered as an accompaniment with other spreads and sauces, such as chimichurri or feta mousse.
The drink list isn’t overwhelming, with five choices of solid craft cocktails, a mix of local, domestic, and imported beers, and a large, easy-to-read wine list that offers selections by the glass or bottle.
Despite the majestic setting, Bohemia’s style of service is laid back but always attentive. Our server was honest and helpful in answering our questions about the menu.
Bohemia – not to be confused with a future Mediterranean restaurant of the same name in downtown Royal Oak – is an upgrade, I believe, of the old Detroit Club restaurant, the Grille Room. It was located on the ground floor when the club reopened after renovations in early 2018. While the Grille Room is also a stately space (now open to members only), Bohemia’s modern menu and intriguing setting is a more interesting attraction for dinner.
Inside the Detroit club
712 Cass, Detroit
(313) 338-3222 thedetroitclub.com/bohemia
Evaluation: ★★ (very good)
Hours: 5pm-11pm Wed-Sat
Prices: Appetizers and salads $10-$18; dishes between $22 and $68; sides $8-$12; dessert $14; cocktail $12-$15; beer $5-$8; wine by the glass $9-$17; by the bottle $25 – $350.
Reservations: Highly suggested and available on the site
Carry out: No
Outdoor dining: Closed for the season
Noise level: moo
Accessibility: Front entrance has stairs, rear entrance accessible.
Car park: Valet parking, paid street parking nearby
Dress code: Business casual is expected. Specifically, “sneakers, work boots, ripped jeans, hoodies, baseball caps, and other casual wear are not permitted,” according to the website.