Best New Restaurant No. 7: La Dulce
Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press Restaurant Critic 5:13 p.m. EDT April 7, 2016
Unsuspecting guests pause, momentarily confused, when they walk into Royal Oak’s La Dulce. Is this a restaurant? It looks like a living room in Madrid, decorated by a mad Spanish designer with a fetish for repetition, symmetry and white china teacups.
It’s strange but beautiful — a fascinating backdrop for an exciting array of Spanish tapas. Diners who love unusual dishes and dining experiences should put La Dulce, the year’s most distinctive new restaurant, at the top of their list. Tapas dining is slow, relaxed and social — thus the living-room-like setting — so bring friends and plan to share several of chef Juan Carlos Negrete’s varied little dishes and nibbles.
Platters of charcuterie, including Spain’s prized Iberico ham, reflect the high quality of La Dulce’s many imported ingredients. Try the montaditos (rustic toasts) with savory toppings such as wild mushrooms and goat cheese, or duck rillettes and pumpkin seeds. Favorite house specialties include mussels with fennel and chorizo, skirt steak with jalapeño and dried chilies, and an outstanding grilled octopus dish with potatoes and shishito peppers.
General manager Ian Redmond, former beverage director of Torino in Ferndale, oversees the bar, offering excellent craft cocktails and many fine Spanish sherries. Importantly, the knowledgeable servers are good guides for your visit to España. Dinner, weekend brunch. (115 S. Main; 248-268-1719 and www.ladulce.com)
2016 Detroit Free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Restaurant of the Year coverage: