Take I-75 north to Pontiac, turn left, and drive another 30 minutes down M-59 until you get to a shopping center with a Kroger, a Marshalls, and a Famous Footwear. There you will find The Root, arguably the most famous restaurant in Michigan at the moment. Executive Chef James Rigato has built the restaurant's reputation, one butchered locally and sustainably raised animal at a time. He was also voted the Great Lakes regional winner for "People's Best New Chef" by Food & Wine for 2015 and was a contestant on last year's Top Chef. He'll be moving on this summer to open his own restaurant concept, Mabel Gray, in Hazel Park, but he will still be involved with The Root, so it’ll still be worth the drive.
In the era of rustic farm-to-table menus and cleverly repurposed barn-wood bar tops, the contemporary European restaurant has taken a backseat to slavishly trend-driven Etsyfied millennial sensibilities. Marais cares not. Located in Grosse Pointe, it knows its audience -- i.e., not so much the same people who flood Corktown every weekend -- and has a clear sense of identity. In the same vein as Michelin-starred Old World European restaurants, it is probably the top, true, fine-dining destination in Southeastern Michigan. It's not cheap, and it doesn't need to be, because that's not the restaurant it's trying to be. Chef David Gilbert has previously been a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes during his time at Forest Grill, but Marais will most likely clinch it for him.