Cliff Bell’s, originally opened in 1935, is one of the oldest jazz clubs in Detroit, located on Elizabeth and Park. With a rich history, this swanky jazz club is quite popular for a night out, good music, and even the filming of a movie (Featured in one of the scenes of the Ides of March). All the credit goes to Josh, who decided we would spend our Valentine’s Day here. Great Choice!
How they ranked:
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites
Price: 3 out of 5 bites
Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites
Service: 4 out of 5 bites
Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites
Complimentary cashew and olive tray
We started with an app:
Brie & Apple Stuffed Sweet Peppers: Delicious, sweet, and paired well with a balsamic reduction. I really liked the perfect balance of Brie, crispy apple, and pepper. I recommend!
Braised Pork Belly & Wild Shrimp: Served with potatoes, vadalia onion jam, and braising liquid butter sauce. Gorgeous presentation! The potatoes were tender and buttery and the vadalia onions were sweet and slightly caramelized. Now, I know that pork belly is a fatty cut of meat, but this cut was mostly fat and I could not stomach it. I asked our server if I could order something different and she was very understanding and professional.
My second pick…
Sweet Garlic Braised Chicken: Served with basmati rice, roasted garlic, and onion pearls, with a garlic jus lie (thickened pan juices). To be honest, this was our “safe” choice and I regret not ordering it right away. The chicken was a mix of white and dark tender, juicy meat. The rice was perfectly cooked and did an amazing job of soaking up all the rich flavors of the dish. The star of this show was the garlic jus lie. It was sweet, garlicy and I could not get enough! It was delicious.
Duck Mac and Cheese Gratine: Pulled duck confit and caramelized vidalia onion. The wow factor on this unique mac and cheese was the bang for your buck! Rich, creamy, cheesy pasta and cheese with tender dark (wing) duck. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount of duck in this dish. I’m convinced the crunchy topping was smashed Ritz crackers, adding a buttery crust.
Cliff Bell’s is a nice change from the typical college bar or pub. I really liked the fancy jazz club atmosphere and the decor. Even though it is one of the oldest buildings in the area, Cliff Bell’s still has that antique look, without feeling run down. The service was good and the food was a reasonably priced for an upscale setting. The only thing I didn’t particularly care for was the lighting. I couldn’t really see what I was eating and for this reason I probably wouldn’t go back for dinner. Josh and I do want to return for drinks and to catch the band. Although we didn’t stay for the band, I did get a picture of the stage.
Cliff Bell’s made our date night great, but I can’t give them all the recognition. Thanks to Josh and his sneaky surprises for making this Valentine’s Day the best.