Dining Around the D
I was pumped when Kruse & Muer on Woodward opened last year in Royal Oak. Anyone familiar with Detroit dining history knows the Kruse and Muer name and its deserved reputation for serving wonderful seafood.
Bill Kruse, hired in 1972 by the late Charles Muer, runs the restaurant group’s seven properties with sons Casey and Alex. Other restaurants include Kruse & Muer Roadhouse — in Lake Orion since 1935 — and Rochester-based Kruse & Muer on Main downtown and Rochester Chop House.
This new restaurant on Woodward just north of Catalpa (11½ Mile) most recently was home to the Vinsetta Grill, whose owners retired. DeLuca’s came before.
Kruse & Muer on Woodward brings additional wow to the restaurant scene in southeast Oakland County. The dark building, brightened with a cream-colored façade of two fish making a circle, is credited to the restaurant group’s longtime collaborator Ron & Roman, a noted Birmingham-based architecture and restaurant design firm.
The clever touches of designer Ron Rea continue inside the handsome main dining room, backroom and bar area. Black-and-white photographs of fish co-exist with drawings of fish against blue backgrounds.
Tiny hexagonal tiles cover floors, the spot-lit bar and many walls. Black is the primary color, but the space isn’t drab because of strategic lighting sources, including from windows and striking glass-and-candle chandeliers. Rough wood ceiling slats add a rustic feeling to the otherwise contemporary décor.
I’ve visited Kruse & Muer on Woodward several times; it’s my new area favorite. Kitchen manager John Holzabough leads his staff in preparing menus developed in the corporate office.
Soup is a strong suit, and two year-round staples are Charley’s Chowder, a tomato-based fish chowder, and satisfying French onion soup. In the fall, I enjoyed the seasonal Forest Mushroom Bisque. I’ve delighted in New England Seafood Chowder twice this winter. The soup crock is loaded with potatoes, Gulf shrimp, clams, bacon and sherry cream.
I highly recommend Salmon Apricot among the salads, and the accommodating staff will split it. (The servers are great here, by the way.) My grilled salmon portion was topped with dried apricots and cherries, Chevre cheese and sugared walnuts. The accompanying apricot-ginger dressing is perfect. Classic Caesar and Martha’s Vineyard are salads offered in two sizes.
Kruse & Muer diners tend to prefer anything seafood-oriented, including freshly shucked or Crispy Asian oysters, flash-fried calamari and Lobster & Shrimp Fettuccine. Seafood and fish entrees include Jimmy’s Lake Perch and Blackened Mahi, but look for poultry, beef and pork choices, and six kinds of pizza. Gluten-free preparations are upon request.
I liked the Tuna Tostadas, reminiscent of sashimi with avocado-mango slaw and Asian glaze. They came with a tangy mound of thickened rice.
Drink and appetizer discounts are features of “Happy Hour,” 3-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 2-6 p.m. Saturday. A children’s menu for under age 12 offers $6 entrees. Desserts are super-good, too.
Kruse & Muer
Royal Oak, MI
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