Years ago when you said the London Chop House, it brought nods of respects. It was the restaurant of Detroit and known across America. It was in the basement, and it was dimly lit and it was the place. The walls were adorned with caricatures of the famous of theater and cinema that had dined there. All the drawings were by Hy Vogel and I remember that some were autographed. I think my favorite was Jimmy Durante where the tip of his nose was in the next frame. The original restaurant alas closed, and it has been recently resurrected, but I have tried the new one as of yet.
It was the home of the journalists who had made it, as well as anyone else who had made it. The number one table would be empty all night, just in case a real celebrity came in to dine. Bill Kennedy who hosted a movie on a local station six days a week, who achieved the fame he desired in Detroit that had eluded him in Hollywood once was asked where the best hamburger was; he replied The London Chop House.
As I look back in my memories, the menu was not exotic; perhaps the fanciest entrée was Veal Oscar. They also had a wonderful salad named after a columnist of the Detroit New “Doc” Greene. What the London Chop House did was prepared and serves food perfectly. The entire menu was “ala carte.” It was comfort food for a different crowd.
They had a trio of musicians with a singer and they performed in the middle of the restaurant. Lounge musicians without a tongue in cheek attitude that filled the room with classic easy listening music.
The greatest asset as far as I am concerned about the London Chop House was their attitude towards wine. They had the wine list perhaps in the state of Michigan; in an era of cocktails (and a fine bar they had as well) they had a wine list of the famous and interesting secondary wines. I do believe the first bottle of Graves that I had was there. It was a bottle of Chateau La Louviere 1971. Not a stellar bottle of wine, but I do believe it was on the wine list because it exhibited the classic terroir of a Graves wine. I so enjoyed this wine, that I started looking and drink more Graves wines for the next couple of years.