June 13, 2013 at 1:00 am
Casual Mike's on the Water
exudes a warm and friendly aura
lobster roll includes 1/3 pound of lobster meat and
mayonnaise, served on a buttered and grilled New
England-style hot dog roll with chips. (Photos by Max
Ortiz /The Detroit News)
Mikeís on the Water and the voice that answers might
well be Mikeís. And that pretty much sums up the
difference between this low-key spot and the flashier
destinations along the Nautical Mile in St. Clair
Mike Lefevre didnít just put his name on the low-slung
building in Michigan Harbor Marina, heís on-hand and
hands-on much of the time at his unpretentious
wharf-side restaurant, the kind of place with a
personality that is not dependent on neon signs and
flashy decor. It makes its points in quieter ways.
People seated at the bare-topped tables in the bar, on
the covered porch and under bright red umbrellas on the
open-air deck make their choices from red,
white-and-blue paper placemat menus with a nautical
theme. It is a list of American bar & grill favorites
appropriate to the casual setting. Most selections are
served on red-and-white waxed paper in plastic baskets
and brought to the tables by a staff that reflects the
proprietorís warm and friendly approach.
As the watering hole enters its third season, there is a
little more of an East Coast feeling to the menu with
the addition of a glamorous new star. Itís the lobster
roll, the New England classic of lobster salad piled on
a toasted roll atop leaf lettuce and tomato slices.
Those who love lobster but donít enjoy fighting with the
shells will appreciate this dish, and itís already a
hit. Of course, thereís clam chowder, as there has been
from the beginning, but only on Fridays, and it is very
good, not overly thickened as is too often the case.
Crab cakes show up in a green salad with mango-sparked
dressing, one of six available salads.
So that locavores donít cry foul, there are also
Michigan classics, including an appetizer of smoked
whitefish dip served with celery stalks and crackers
and, of course, crisply fried lake perch when itís
available. On a couple of visits here, I was surprised
at how many people were ordering steamed mussels in a
sauce of white wine, garlic and butter.
Itís not surprising, however, that Mikeís serves a very
good Angus beef burger ó no respectable bar & grill
could survive without one ó and the kitchen also
produces a worthy New York strip steak. It is also
certified Angus beef that comes in two portion sizes, 8
and 12 ounce sizes at $14.75 and $18.95, respectively, a
nice touch. Come-withs include thin, salty, skin-on
Oddly enough, there are no desserts. Mike says heís
working on that. And chances are theyíll have a nice
little twist ó like the tongue-in-cheek wine list, with
labels with a water or water fowl theme, from Duckhorn
and Waterwheel cabernets to New Harbor sauvignon blanc.
All are affordable, especially the private label house
wines at $5.50 a glass and $22 a bottle.
One caveat: Although it is called Mikeís on the Water,
thereís little chance of being doused with Lake St.
Clair whitecaps. The quiet little canal that laps
alongside the deck will have to do.
Patio dining at Mike's on the Water
in St. Clair Shores set diners along a canal leading to
Lake St. Clair. (Max Ortiz/The Detroit News)
From The Detroit News: