An urban couple finds peace on their 85-acre Port Glasgow retreat along Ontario’s stretch of Lake Erie.

The bar at Roast bustles, while the “Beast of the Day” cooks in the dining room.

Even the vegetables are meaty here.

It’s a trick that’s tough to pull off, but not when you consider the chef behind it all — meat lover and Iron Chef Michael Symon, whose Cleveland restaurants have earned him a national reputation. Lola, his signature restaurant, is the most well known, but Symon has recently been on a spree, opening two suburban Cleveland restaurants, and two joints in Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavaliers play — all in the course of the past year.

Roast, in downtown Detroit, is by far the best choice of the bunch for hungry carnivores. Short of slaughtering the animals, everything is done in house, including aging the beef and making the sausages and salamis. The portions are huge and, while you feast, the “Beast of the Day” rotates on a spit in the dining room.

Yet, impossible as it may seem, it’s the Brussels sprouts that keep many people coming back. “There is a cult following for those,” executive chef Andrew Hollyday says. Although most food is served seasonally, an exception is made for the sprouts. “We can’t take those off the menu,” Andy says.

The sprouts are quartered, deep fried in lard, then tossed with a vinaigrette made from red wine, olive oil, garlic, green onions, jalapenos, anchovies, walnuts and fried capers. “It’s all balanced very well,” Hollyday notes.

And, while it may be hard to believe that such a hated vegetable could have its own followers, a taste confirms it. There is flavor and crunch, and the tart vinaigrette cuts the fat perfectly.

I am, however, getting ahead of the meal. We choose to sit at the bar, a cool space just off the lobby of the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit. A towering climate-controlled wine cabinet looms behind the granite bar. The design is minimalist but intimate, with earth-toned colors and an abundance of leather and stone casting warmth on the sleek design.

It’s the kind of space where a martini feels appropriate. I order the Up North ($11), a mix of Three Olive cherry vodka, lime juice and tart cherry juice, served with a fresh Michigan cherry. It’s strong and fruity, but not too sweet. My companion orders the Czech Pilsner Urquell ($5).

To start, we try the double-cooked wings ($8). Just as they did with the Brussels sprouts, Symon and Hollyday have pulled another trick: You take a bite, expecting a familiar texture, kind of fatty, kind of tough. You know, given that this is a Symon restaurant, the flavor will be exceptional, but a chicken wing will always taste like a chicken wing, right? Wrong on all counts.

The wings here are, as the name says, cooked twice. They are first slowly braised in duck fat, which tenderizes them, then deep fried in lard. We move on to a BBLT sandwich ($13) and the pan-roasted chicken with root vegetables and tarragon sauce ($17). The BBLT is a crispy pork belly sandwich served with bacon, pickled tomato, cilantro and hot sauce. Again, there’s that balance at work. “If it was just all fat it wouldn’t be good,” Hollyday says.

But it is good, as are the chicken and the side of mashed potatoes, which were lighter than any we’d ever had. “Those couldn’t be any simpler,” Hollyday says. He boils potatoes, runs them through a food mill, then mashes with butter, cream and salt.

Roast opened in November 2008 in what had become a shabby corner of a struggling city. It’s located in the historic Book Cadillac Hotel building, which opened in 1924 as the tallest hotel in the world. Babe Ruth stayed there, as did presidents and entertainers.

As the city declined, though, so did the hotel, closing its doors in 1984. Its rebirth was the idea of Cleveland-based developer John Ferchill. When he and his partners decided to refurbish the building (now a Westin), they turned to Symon.

And Symon, who has a “Got Pork” tattoo on his chest, turned to meat. “You’re coming in here to feast,” says Hollyday.

If you walk in on a weekend, you’ll find suckling pigs, baby lamb or goat on the spit roasting over hardwood and charcoal. “It really picks up a nice smoky aroma,” Hollyday says.

The whole animal is used, Hollyday adds, calling it “nose-to-tail cooking.” The bones are saved for stock. The skin is seasoned with salsa verde and fried to order. “It’s very simple,” Hollyday says. “Very flavorful.”

In the beginning, Symon was at Roast every day. Now he’s there once a week or so. Everyone there has learned his way of doing things. “This is really how Michael has made his success,” Hollyday says. “Basic stuff, fresh and simple.”

Chef Michael Symon’s Restaurants

1128 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, Mich.

2058 E. Fourth St.
Cleveland, Ohio

900 Literary Road in Tremont
Cleveland, Ohio

Bar Symon
32858 Walker Road
Avon Lake, Ohio

B Spot
28699 Chagrin Blvd.
Woodmere, Ohio