Restaurant Review: The Common Grill

What and Where:

The Common Grill (“upscale American Bistro”) | 112 S. Main Street, Chelesa, MI 48118 | (734) 475-0470

Ratings (1=terrible, 5=mind-blowingly great)

  • Tastiness: 3.5 to 4.25
  • Service: 4
  • Price (1=super cheap, 5=super expensive): 4
  • Value: 4
  • General vibe: 3.5
  • Comments (as of 1/8/06)

    • I know this is a lot of restaurant reviews all at once like this, but like I said the other day, I’ve somehow managed to eat out a lot lately. Anyway, we had a lovely gathering out at the Common Grill, eight of us total (me, Annette, Will, Bill, Leslie, Lilly, Steve B., and Michelle), a good time was had by one and all, and I thought I’d go ahead and write about it.
    • This is one of those places that Annette and I go a couple times a year– when the parents/in-laws are in town, when we want a special night where we can take Will, etc. Atmosphere/vibe-wise, we like it a lot, but it is a very crowded and noisy place. It isn’t a place for a “romantic dinner,” but it is a good place to take a kid because they can damn near scream their heads off and it wouldn’t bother anyone.
    • The clear specialty of the house is seafood. Annette always gets the bouillabaisse. She doesn’t bother with the menu. Personally, I have tried a variety of different things. My favorites are the tuna, the paella, the whitefish, but I’ve usually had good luck for the specials.
    • This is not a cheap restaurant, but I do think it is a good value. The entrees are large– enough to share if you’re looking for something light– and they include a choice of a salad. The wine is reasonably priced (we always get the “Fishtown White,” which is a very drinkable Michigan white wine), and the deserts are good, too.
    • To me, I didn’t think that the food tonight was as good as I’ve had it there in the past (which is why I have the split rating for tastiness). My dish– the swordfish special– was very good, but two of my dining companions had some unopened/questionable clams. That’s not the kinda thing you send out to a table.
    • On weekends, this place is REALLY busy. If you go in at about six or so on a Friday or a Saturday, expect to wait 45 minutes, and they don’t take reservations– unless you have a big party (which is another reason to bring the kids). What’s interesting is that the best meals I’ve had there have been on Friday or Saturday nights. I don’t know, maybe because that’s when Craig Common is in the kitchen. Anyway, waiting isn’t so bad because the bar area is nice and the people-watching in this place is pretty good, too.

    6 thoughts on “Restaurant Review: The Common Grill”

    1. I had the paella and while it was good, it wasn’t spectacular. And I had one of those questionable clams. It wasn’t merely questionable, it tasted like poo. Literally.

      I chalk that up to making a rookie mistake though…ordering seafood in Michigan on a Sunday evening. Check out Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential if you want to know why that is a bad idea…

    2. We haven’t been there in a few years. I think I actually had fish. Once a year or so I get it… especially at places like that where the veg. options are rather slim. It was good. I had the escargot too… it left a little to be desired. But then again… it was escargot and having it once every 15 years… I’m not gonna complain… butter and garlic will make anything good.

    3. This is an excellent point about the seafood thing, Bill. I had forgotten that Bourdain advice… Oh well, it was still good. Just not great.

    4. first time commentator…

      i’ve been the c.g. about four times in the past two years. i have yet to be astounded, even remontely moved by my eating experiences there. obnoxious reservation policy, volume 20 dining room, and sometimes spotty service. i score it lowest, however, on value… and prices have just recently increased, i noticed…

      … not bad, but i think they could try harder (not that it seems they need to as people flock there in droves…)


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