Uptown Grille in Commerce, Michigan is pretty much the most popular place in the metro Detroit area. It’s all at once a bar, restaurant and cafe and somehow draws an absurd number of visitors. So absurd, in fact, that when we dropped in on a weekday for a late lunch, we literally got the last table available. The menu is pretty vast, containing everything from salads to burgers to sandwiches to pizzas and in-between. And each of these items had a ton of options, leading me to worry that Uptown Grille might fall victim to trying to do too much.
But I kept this thought in the back of my head as I started my meal with the Fried Mac & Cheese appetizer. Unlike most fried mac and cheese that comes in little balls, this was two giant patties and topped with buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. And it was damn good, with a nice crisp the outside, followed by soft and creamy mac and cheese inside. Plus, buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing are never a bad thing. Never.
For my meal, I ordered the Kickin’ Brisket Sandwich, which had the aforementioned brisket, grilled onions, cheddar, muenster and a citrus chipotle BBQ sauce. It came with chips and a possible upgrade to fries that I promptly rejected due to the preceding paragraph. I ordered without the onions and then opted for the Italian sub bun (instead of an onion roll) based on my waitress’s recommendation. The result was a far cry from what I would expect from such a popular place. The brisket was dry and had a nearly inexplicable rubbery/metallic taste to it. I say inexplicable because what the hell kind of taste is that? I ate it, but enjoyment in eating had gone away when I finished the mac and cheese.
Despite my experience, I assume that Uptown Grille’s menu must consist more of happy foods like the Fried Mac & Cheese than of bad sandwiches. But if you’re going to have a giant menu, I’m going to assume everything on it is fair game to order. They likely deserve another shot, but when I can just as easily hit up a Coney IslandÂ I can’t guarantee a second chance will ever come.