Caviar is making its way to menus at restaurants beyond the upper echelons of fine dining all over the country. With national caviar sales on the upswing, local Detroit restaurants are taking advantage of this growing trend — from single-serve caviar “bumps” to wide assortments of highly coveted fish eggs. Whether it’s incorporated into a dish, or eaten by itself, caviar offers a rich, briny flavor that diners recognize instantly.
When thinking about what beverages to pair with your caviar, it’s important to understand the flavor profiles you’re working with. Osetra, which is the second most exclusive variety of caviar, is known for its full-bodied nuttiness, with just a hint of seawater. Kaluga caviar has a distinctive grayish-green color, and is slightly larger. Its size and firmer texture help give it that popping sensation caviar is known for, and when paired with Champagne, it mimics that same mouthfeel. If you are interested in going down the wine route, a brut or extra brut Champagne will help support the caviar’s natural flavors without overpowering it. If bubbles aren’t your thing, a dry, mineral-rich Chablis will also pair wonderfully with your caviar of choice. Outside of wine, vodka is the most popular pairing choice, as it shares a Russian lineage with osetra caviar. Known for its clean, neutral taste, vodka enhances the delicate flavors of the caviar and complements its smoothness.
Here, we present a handy guide of where to enjoy caviar in the Detroit area now.
This Corktown staple for seafood lovers offers the most varied selection on this list. Mink’s reservation-only tasting menu can be supplemented with your choice of caviar and accoutrements. With eight options to choose from and prices ranging from $35 to $110, newbies and seasoned caviar veterans alike are sure to find something that jibes with their palate. On the most economical side, Mink offers Alaskan salmon roe at $35 for 56 grams, accompanied by house-made potato chips. While salmon roe is not technically caviar, it still offers a solid introduction to the salty yet creamy flavor profile and popping experience of fish eggs. A solid midrange option is the Royal Belgian Platinum caviar, coming in at $68 for 12 grams. For an additional $10, diners can opt for the traditional full service, which includes creme fraiche, egg yolk, chive, and airy wheat pancakes known as blini. On the highest end of the spectrum is Galilee Prime Osetra, which, while it’s less expensive per gram than other varieties, is renowned for being at the head of its class in terms of flavor. Derived from osetra sturgeon, its caviar is known for its nutty taste with a rich finish. It’s priced at $110 for 30 grams and is best enjoyed with Mink’s traditional full service and a glass of the restaurant’s Avinyo Brut Reserva Cava for $13.
Located in a historic Detroit fire station, Ladder 4 Wine provides patrons with innovative bites to accompany its wide array of wines. The 2022 Eater Award-winning Ladder 4 continues to live up to its accolades. Crispy chive-topped hash browns and silky sour cream, priced at $99, make more sense when paired with an optional 28 grams of amber Kaluga caviar for only $1 more. While this price point might shock some, those who have tried this greenish-black caviar will understand its exorbitant price tag. This dish would pair beautifully with the full-bodied Champagne Pierre Gerbais, which can be ordered by the glass or bottle for $19 and $80 respectively. For dessert, chef John Yelinek makes a bouncy Basque cheesecake, which alone is a showstopping finish to dinner. Here, a slice of cheesecake is given an extra zhuzh when topped with a layer of caviar, adding a splash of brine to the cheesecake’s rich, luxurious interior.
As Detroit’s swankiest steakhouse and supper club, Prime + Proper is known for its dry-aged steaks and extravagant seafood towers. Seafoodies should look no further to indulge their tastes, with three different caviar options. Diners can choose from 1-ounce portions of golden osetra, golden Kaluga, and the reserve white sturgeon caviar at market price. With homemade buckwheat blini, creme fraiche, deviled egg puree, capers, red onion, and chives, you can’t go wrong with any choice. The caviar is best paired with a $27 glass of Domaine Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2022, or any one of the spot’s 20 brut Champagne bottle offerings.
Located beneath Prime + Proper is the exclusive Cash Only Supper Club, offering guests the opportunity to drink and dine in a more intimate setting. Open Fridays and Saturdays, reservations are required and guests must be at least 21 to enter. Supper Club diners can enjoy a caviar “bump” that can be added to their amuse bouche of herbed focaccia, buttermilk crackers, warm pretzels, Le Beurre Bordier butter, and wagyu fat-capped radishes for an additional $35. Pair it with a glass of Australian brut rosé. Unlike Prime + Proper, Cash Only does have a dress code, with semiformal attire required.
155 W Congress
Although its legacy dates back almost a century, the London Chop House continues to live up to its legendary status. Since reopening in 2012 after being closed more than 20 years, London Chop House has maintained the quality of food and atmosphere that diners came to expect. Its signature caviar service is no exception, with 1 ounce of osetra prime accompanied by shaved egg white and yolk, minced red onion, caper, creme fraiche, and made-to-order blini sold at market price. Instead of offering Champagne, London Chop House alludes to osetra’s Russian origins with a pairing of chilled vodka. The subtle flavors of the vodka allow the briny and slightly nutty notes of the caviar to take center stage while offering a crisp backdrop.
Situated in a cozy Midtown home, Cuisine has been an essential spot for Fisher Theatre patrons since its inception in 2001. On select theatre nights they offer a $68 prix fixe menu that changes depending on the Fisher’s events schedule. Its a la carte menu features traditional French dishes with a unique twist. This includes a $35 caviar “bump,” served atop a fresh potato cake in true classique fashion. Cuisine often offers special events menus as well, such as their recent NYE tasting menu that included an optional 1 ounce $120 osetra caviar bump.
400 Renaissance Center, floor 71
Sitting high atop Detroit’s iconic Renaissance Center is Highlands, an unconventional steakhouse with the best view in the city. Known for its extensive wine list and dry-aged steaks, Highlands will satisfy meat eaters and seafood lovers alike. While guests enjoy the sunset, they can munch on their delicious farm egg and caviar dish, a first-course feature on the $85 three-course tasting menu. Made with a blend of osetra caviar, egg white mousse, and potato foam, this savory treat checks all the right boxes. For another $55, a sommelier-curated wine pairing can be added to your meal.
Launched five years ago by Detroiters Chi Walker and Nik Cole, this pop-up is debunking the myth that caviar is only for the elite. The duo’s goal has been to bring opulent dining options to those who may be too intimidated or unsure about where to start. Fried Chicken & Caviar serves as an introduction to the world of caviar, and for this reason Walker and Cole like to ease folks into it. The pair started with salmon roe, then graduated to paddlefish, and eventually worked their way up to osetra caviar. The pop-up does not have a set location, and there are no plans to change that. For Walker and Cole, this current model allows them to reach the widest audience possible. With a rotating menu of unique dishes, Fried Chicken & Caviar can be found at spots all around the city. Come February, diners can also find the duo hosting Sunday brunch at the Shelby in downtown’s financial district.
Nestled in the back corner of the Siren Hotel is one of Detroit’s best-kept secrets for an intimate chef’s counter experience. The six-seat counter allows diners to enjoy a multicourse tasting menu that changes every other month, without the busyness of many traditional restaurants. While caviar makes regular appearances on the menu, its presentation and usage is always different. Albena’s December menu, for example, started off with a honey-poached seaweed tartlet filled with milk gel, almond oil, and osetra caviar — all topped with a cluster of seagrass. This complex, umami yet subtly sweet course is the ideal start to this one-of-a-kind dining experience. With seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, prepaid reservations can be made for $250 a person, with an optional wine pairing for $110. (Disclosure: The author of this piece is a former Albena employee).
2915 Coolidge Highway, Troy
Shopping in Troy and looking to treat yourself, with a little caviar afterward? Look no further than Ocean Prime, just two blocks west of Somerset Mall. Opened in 2008 as the first of 20 locations across the U.S., this Troy essential offers a wide array of seafood options for both lunch and dinner. One of the menu’s featured appetizers is a decadent white truffle caviar deviled egg. Velvety deviled eggs are topped with white truffle shavings and a delicately placed serving of hackleback caviar. Although domestic caviar doesn’t often get the recognition it deserves, hackleback still has the nuttiness and mouthfeel that higher-end caviars are known for. A 6-ounce pour of Domaine Chandon Brut Classic NV is the perfect addition to this savory starter.