Food & Drink

Gallery: Dishes, Decor and Views at Highlands, Detroit's RenCen Newcomer

November 24, 2019, 10:22 PM by  Alan Stamm

View from the 72nd-floor Highlands steakhouse before an event Thursday. (Photo: Josh Lavis/Daou Vineyards)

A "steakhouse in the sky" is among a two-story set of new food and drink destinations overlooking the downtown Detroit, Windsor and the river they share, as we describe in a related post Sunday morning.

Our earlier coverage tells briefly what's at Highlands, opening Monday evening atop the GM Renaissance Center, while this follow-up shows the space, the food and the vistas.

The newcomers are Highlands Steakhouse, a 140-seat restaurant on the 72nd floor; a casual alternative named Hearth 71, with 60 seats on the floor below; the High Bar a cocktail lounge with appetizers, small plates and desserts; and a separate area for parties, receptions and business gatherings.

Shawn McClain, chef and co-owner
(Photo: McClain Camarota Hospitality)

Restaurant predecessors on the tower's top floor were Coach Insignia (2004-17), which followed The Summit. Each dining room rotated for 360-degree views, something that's not part of Highlands.

Below is some of what chef and co-owner Shawn McLain of Grosse Ile serves, via Crain's Detroit Business. The first three are small plates:

  • Grilled artichoke hearts ($18)

  • Charred Spanish octopus ($19)

  • Salad with ingredients from RecoveryPark, a Detroit nonprofit ($15)

  • Sea scallops ($41)

  • Steelhead trout ($31)

  • 16-ounce New York strip steak ($56)

  • 22-ounce Wagyu strip steak ($115)

Highlands, Hearth 71 and the cocktail lounge are open 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. They close a half-hour later on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours (5-10 p.m.) begin Dec. 29. The group's site is Tables can be reserved via Resy or at (313) 877-9090. Emails can go to

These 16 photos are mostly from the business' Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as from two attendees at a wine-tasting luncheon Thursday for local sommeliers, sponsored by Daou Vineyards of Paso Robles, Calif.

New York strip, Waygu steaks and other beef cuts are prime attractions at Highland.

Mussels also are on the menu.

Chef Shawn McClain prepares for opening week by testing the scallops entree shown below.

"Our kind of surf and turf," says Highland's social media caption with this mix of beef, sea scallops and broccolini.

Italian Burrata cheese (mozzarella and cream) with thin-sliced cured ham and garlic bruschetta.

Pasta with greens and mushrooms.

Steak tartare with greens and heirlooom tomatoes.

Metro Detroit sommeliers were guests at a wine-pairings luncheon Thursday, hosted by a California winemaker. (Photo: Josh Lavis/Daou Vineyards)

"Friends and family" preview a few days ago.

Salmon Crudo with fennel, crispo potato and crème fraîche. (Photo: Josh Lavis)

Small-plates sampler at last week's wine-pairings luncheon. (Photo: Josh Lavis)

Pan-seared beef and fruit, served at the sommeliers' preview luncheon. (Photo: Shelley Sharpe)

Chilled king crab rolls weith avocado and sweet basil on brioche buns at last week's tasting event. (Photo: Shelley Sharpe)

Pan-grilled shellfish and vegetables.

Rustic chicken, locally sourced.
Tasting menu at the Nov. 21 event for Metro Detroit wine stewards.


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