One of metro Detroit's most anticipated restaurants, Bistro 82
, opened this week in downtown Royal Oak, and besides serving unforgettable food the plan is to "change the dining scene in this area."
Scott Sadoff, director of operations for the AFB Hospitality Group
, is overseeing Bistro 82, which opened Feb. 11 at 4th Street and South Lafayette in the former Sangria tapas bar and salsa dance club.
The renovation transformed the two-story, 10,000-square-foot building into a contemporary and luxurious space with clean lines and an open floor plan that has Bistro 82 on the main floor. Upstairs is Sabrage,
a high-end lounge and night club where a DJ will play above a fish tank while champagne is served from a tap behind an onyx bar. Sabrage's first day of business is Valentine's Day. It will be open on Friday and Saturday nights. The overall vision for the new business belongs to Aaron Fenkell Belen, the developer of the property and president of AFB Hospitality Group.
"What we're doing is trying to make our place a one-stop shop and capture our guests for their nights out," says Sadoff, who says guests may want a pre-dinner cocktail or a reserved table upstairs at Sabrage for post-dinner time.
The bigger picture of Bistro 82 and Sabrage is "to change the dining scene in this area. Dining should be for the guests, not just to go out to eat, but to have an experience," he says.
"Every establishment around us is here for a reason, and many of them are very good at what they do," he says. "What we never want to become or never will become is stagnant. We don't want to get complacent. We want to try and up our game every single day."
Bistro 82 is French-inspired except for the intentionally roomy interior design.
"It's not a bistro setting that normally has tables closer together. We wanted our bistro to be easily maneuverable, with generous walkways and to be luxurious," he says. "We want our guests to be comfortable and well taken care of."
An important part of the customer care-taking, he says, is hiring a large staff -- sauciers, dishwashers, security staff, drink runners, managers, bartenders, etc. who are known for their high performance and experience at top restaurants. Sadoff most recently worked for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants as manager of Ocean Prime and before that as manager of P.F. Chang's.
Derik Watson is the leader of Bistro 82's kitchen and the designer of the menu, which includes a West and East Coast selection of oysters, pork belly and ratatouille and several other appetizers, Waygu hanger steak, beef short rib, sea scallops, Scottish Salmon, chicken Paillard and other entrees, and dessert choices such as yogurt panna cotta, dark chocolate tart and cinnamon sugar beignets. Watson brings with him experience from restaurants around the country, many in metro Detroit such as Rugby Grill in Birmingham and Tribute in Farmington Hills, where he worked under the tutelage of iconic chef Takashi Yagihashi at Tribute and in Chicago.
Running Bistro 82 and Sabrage will require more than 100 employees, nearly half full-time. The restaurant can seat 162 guests. Sabrage has room for about 225 guests.
Source: Scott Sadoff, director of operations, AFB Hospitality Group, and Justin Near, president, Near Perfect Media
Writer: Kim North Shine