The Redcoat Tavern
Royal Oak, MI
If you are ever in or near Royal Oak, Michigan, and you happen to mention that you need a good burger place, more often than not the Redcoat Tavern, or " The Coat" as it is commonly referred to, will be at the top of most people's lists, if not the only burger place. There is more than burgers though, although the menu is smaller than many area restaurants.
The Coat opened in the early 70s- I assume they were trying for a English pub theme or at least an approximation of what they thought an English pub looks like in the early 70s. That aside I like it .. alot. There are tons of booths with four foot tall high backs, covered in red upholstery, as well as regular tables in the main dining area. There is a great old bar that fills most of the room, and across from that sits a large high back bench seat that stretches nearly the length of the bar. Individual tables sit in front of the bench so you are close to your fellow diners. This suits me fine as I like to spy on them to see what they are eating.
When you walk into the coat, you may be surprised by how dark it is... like the inside of a closet dark. During the day you have to wait till your eyes adjust before you are sure you aren't going to trip over your own feet. I honestly have never in my life eaten in an establishment so dark, that if you were to leave on the night of a full moon you will need to put on sunglasses. If you read other reviews I'm sure there will be many negative comments revolving around this aspect of the restaurant - I say piss off to them get, over yourself and have a great meal. The Coat is clean and has friendly fast services during lunch. You can get in and out in an hour easy, assuming that you do not have to many beers, that is.
The glorious Scotch Egg-this is evil EVIL. Take a hardboiled egg, wrap it with sausage and deep fry, eat, have heart attack with a smile. It's goo- I mean bad; ok, if you make a donation to a local charity you can counteract the evil goodness and eat the second one.
Erin : Avery's White Rascal is a Belgium white ale sweet with a hint of coriander very refreshing. Erin, who usually drinks red wine and is picky about beer, enjoyed it quite a bit.
Billy :Duvel is a Belgium strong blond ale its hopper giving it a bolder flavor, like darker ales but more refreshing. Goes well with the burger and fish.
Erin's fish and chips are the pescatarian dream. Erin doesn't eat alot of fish, most of the time it freaks her out, but she loved this version of fish and chips. The flakey white fish was fried in some of the best batter I have ever tasted- they were golden goodness, served with a generous serving of fries. I am a huge fan of their fries, especially when doused with vinegar. Erin was indifferent toward them, saying they were too cold. To each their own.
I had the Piedmontese burger. "Piedmontese"- if this means nothing to you, then in short it tastes better and its better for you than regular beef. To be honest, I have never not eaten the Piedmontese burger, so I can only attest to its greatness in comparison to a "regular" Red Coat burger. It's a $2 dollar upgrade but well worth it. I'm of the opinion that if there is a letdown at The Coat it's because the person has not ordered the Piedmontese burger . When it comes to food, don't be cheap-if the establishment is offering you a better option, go for it. Chances are you will be happier as a result, and when it comes to the Piedmontese burger you will be floored. It is juicer, meatier, and has a cleaner almost sweeter taste. I order my burgers medium to medium rare and they do both perfectly. That alone should be enough but it's not. Add a slice of smoked gouda and crisp thick bacon, lettuce, tomato, and the house sauce, and you have a mountain of delicious. The avalanche of flavor is ungodly- imagine the smoked gouda mixing with bacon, tumbling together with juicy burger. It makes you stop and chew slower. Close your eyes and savor it, and it's only the first bite. I'm usually a monogamist when it comes to eating, finishing each item before moving on to the next, but in this case I stray, eating fries pickles drinking beer anything to clean the pallet so that I can get my next fix (it's a bit over the top but give it a try and see where you land). The burger is gone far too soon- you're full but left needing more, and that is why you will be back, and why the Redcoat tavern has stayed in business for almost 40 years.
So if you find yourself near Royal Oak, stop in. You won't regret it.