Restaurants & Bars

Went to lunch at Cliff Bell's in Detroit today...

boagman | Aug 26, 201112:30 AM     3

...and I still think very, very highly of the place.

They just started lunch last week, and I had it in my head to make a special trip downtown to try it, since I haven't been there in quite some time. They've revamped the website, and the menus (and even pictures of many of the dishes!) are far easier to access and navigate. I looked at the picture of the BBQ braised beef short rib "sandwich" with roasted corn and jalapeno salsa, and knew that was what I was going to have. It was all of $9, *and* it was served with either pomme frites or their "simple salad". I chose the simple salad, and was glad that I did.

First, I've got to say that *anything* here that sounds like critiquing is very, *very* minor quibbling on my part...just trying to make it basically perfect, which nothing ever is. This was a great sandwich at (what I consider to be) an *outstanding* value, and I loved it. What a great sandwich/salad offering: you might as well consider it to be an open-faced sandwich (the picture is quite accurate of its look/presentation, in fact), and the bread happens to be a biscuit, which I wish would have been lighter/fluffier. Again: quibbling. It's not about the biscuit. Really.

There's just a ton of braised short rib on there for $9. Somewhere, Wes from Jacques' Tacos is screaming for what seems to him to be no apparent reason whatsoever. ;) It's lovely beef, fork tender (as it should be), and it's got a nice compliment in the fresh, obviously hand cut corn/jalapeno salsa, which I wished was just a bit heavier on the jalapeno (or at least its spiciness). The corn's great, but the salsa's taste is a bit overshadowed by the BBQ sauce.

Not that that's real problem, though, because I like the BBQ sauce served on the meat. I can't say whether or not the BBQ is made in house, but it very well could be. I liked it, anyway. The simple salad is, indeed, quite simple (various field greens, onion, sea salt and pepper, herb vinaigrette), but it works hand-in-hand with the BBQ beef to offset some of the sweet/salty taste of the sandwich with the bitter/sour taste of the field greens, vinegar and onion. It was a decidedly small salad, but again: I come back to the fact that the whole thing was $9, perfectly prepared, and honestly enough for two meals (yes I ate it all, but it was 2:30PM, and it was literally the first thing I'd eaten all day...), and something as insignificant as wishing the side salad was a bit bigger just comes off as ridiculous.

Service by the bartendress Katie was certainly up to snuff. My water glass was refilled at least a couple of times, and she was able to tell me that, yes, she had tried the sandwich I was ordering, and that I was making a good choice. I liked her, and next time if I'm not driving so far I might test out her ability to concoct a potent potable. She got tipped out at over 27%, which knowing me like you folks do, says something.

For my next lunch trip there (and yes: there will be a next time), the Roasted Berkshire Pork Shoulder Tartine with Pickles and Dijon sandwich ($10, again with the pomme frites or salad choice) will get the call, I'm pretty sure. And yes: there's a picture of this on their website, too. I'm excited about it.

So yes, folks, it's time to make your way back to Cliff Bell's. Going to a Tigers afternoon game? This is your destination for lunchtime grub. Still love that room, too...it's just such a uppercrust clubby feeling.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

9 Veggies You Can Grow in a Fall Garden & Why It Pays to Be a Late Bloomer
Food News

9 Veggies You Can Grow in a Fall Garden & Why It Pays to Be a Late Bloomer

by Anna Hecht | Planning on tending a fall garden? Didn't even know you could do that? Here are the best things to...

13 Essential Apple Recipes for Fall
Recipe Round-Ups

13 Essential Apple Recipes for Fall

by Chowhound Editors | There are so many things to love about autumn rolling around again, especially apple season. Make...

Ready, Set, Watch: 'The Great British Baking Show' Is Back This Week
Food Trends

Ready, Set, Watch: 'The Great British Baking Show' Is Back This Week

by Jen Wheeler | In this tumultuous year of oh Lord 2020, many of us are looking for any silver linings we can find...

Star Gifts for Fans of 'The Great British Baking Show'

Star Gifts for Fans of 'The Great British Baking Show'

by Jen Wheeler | If you know a fan of The Great British Baking Show (aka, GBBS, GBBO, or The Great British Bake Off...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.