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Prime + Proper Revolutionizes the Detroit Dining Experience

January 31, 2018

Prime + Proper mixed Art Deco, mid-century glam with a steakhouse culture to create a unique experience for Detroit diners.

By Mary Meldrum
Photography courtesy of Aly Sasson

After much preparation, Jeremy Sasson’s Heirloom Hospitality Group opened the doors to the highly anticipated Prime + Proper in early November. Detroit’s dining scene has a deep history with steakhouse culture, and this lavish destination is the latest establishment to boost that aspect of the city’s eateries.

Located in a beautifully preserved historic building in Capitol Park, and loaded with class and decadent splendor, Prime + Proper oozes elegance. The steakhouse takes fine dining in the D into its own orbit. The decor, the service and the menu all speak to a Great Gatsby-Art Deco vibe. You know upon entering that there is nothing else like it in Michigan.

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The dining room at Prime + Proper.

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Art Deco details at Prime + Proper in Detroit.

Let’s start with the beautifully appointed space. From the flooring to the flatware, you feel one grand theme. No detail has been forgotten, from the bespoke plates to the rich marble and warm lighting. Before taking a single bite, the decor, hospitality and ambiance alone are enough to make a guest know she will be well cared for, and this will be a meal to remember.

In the main dining room toward the back, there’s a glass display counter with fresh meats laid out like pastries in a bakery. If you have an opportunity to meet the butcher, he can prepare a steak just for you. Everything in-house is automatically dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days. This gives every steak more depth and a buttery finish as the fat breaks down over time.

Sasson, a Birmingham resident, says Prime + Proper’s design defines his “vision of a steakhouse.”

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Walter Apfelbaum, executive butcher, stands in the extensive meat locker.

“Part of my drive was that there was a missing place and experience with regard to a steakhouse,” he says. “Other cities have landmark places. This was being able to create one for Detroit. We put together Art Deco and mid-century glam, and it has turned into something with its own look and feel.”

Considering the service, price point and experience, the restaurant redefines dining, he adds. Raw bar offerings include four varieties of oysters ranging from $19 for five to $34 for 10, and Alaskan king crab up to $68 a pound. Several selections of caviar are priced from $45 to $275 an ounce. A la carte main course entrees include prime steaks and chops ranging from $56 for a New York strip steak to $149 for the 42-ounce porterhouse, but there is also a $29 Prime + Proper burger. Guests can also enjoy scallops, salmon, duck, chicken and Dover sole.

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Oysters at Prime + Proper

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Prime + Proper grill

“At Prime + Proper, the dining experience is two hours or more. When we have that much more time to spend with our guests, the foundation of the experience is different,” Sasson says. “I really want guests to appreciate the layers of service and our hospitality. The biggest takeaway for me is how we make you feel, and I think this is coming through.”

Sasson notices there is a small community forming in Capitol Park and a willingness among neighboring businesses to share.

“If we don’t have space to accommodate diners, we support our neighbors and will recommend another nearby restaurant,” Sasson says. “And when we are running short on lemons or other things, we can call on our neighbors.”

Bright spots during the holiday season were the markets created in Cadillac Square and Capitol Park. Sasson says he sees the activation of public spaces and public engagement as a positive force for retail, office, residential and the surrounding community.

“These events and activities have supported us and other businesses,” he says. Emphasis for the Heirloom Hospitality Group — which also operates Townhouse downtown and in Birmingham — is in the form of service. Sasson says he wants to understand guest preferences and deliver a tailored five-star dining event.

Prime + Proper is a place where your hosts are determined to make the flavor and the price point meet expectations. Eat here. It is an experience.

Prime + Proper
1145 Griswold St.
Detroit, MI 48226


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