During its mid- to late-20th-century heyday, this iconic restaurant was the see-and-be-seen hotspot for important Detroiters and notable visitors. Owner Les Gruber greeted diners personally, treating them like distinguished guests in an extravagantly elegant home. Symbolically, the Chop House represented Detroit's stature as a world-class manufacturing region prior to the decline of the local auto industry.
Shuttered in 1991, the Chop House recently reopened in its original space, with much of its former glory still intact. Lots of memorabilia remains, right down to the original phone number. Guests are still ushered down a brass-railed staircase, where a glass door opens into a bygone era. Walls feature caricatures of celebrity guests, huge cigar humidors and wine cellars are on display, and a three-piece jazz combo wails on a dark dance floor.
The updated menu re-creates old-school Chop House favorites such as Dover sole meuniere ($44) and a 10-ounce filet mignon ($47), along with some contemporary additions like seared ahi tuna ($36) and roasted free-range chicken breast ($26). The mood is slightly more relaxed than in years past; guests are no longer required to wear a coat and tie, though collared shirts are de rigueur.
A Detroit tradition, dinner at the London Chop House can be pricy, but the nostalgia makes it worth the expense.