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Detroit Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


ChocoKitty
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My friends and I ate at Fiddleheads. Both our dishes were rather salty. Also, I wasn't that thrilled with the food selection there. I returned my dish to the kitchen (something I rarely do) and it was still salty when it came back.

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I must be impossible to please; however, I wasn't that impressed by Emily's or by Everest Express.

I actually will eat just about anything. I'm not that fussy. I even once ate grilled chicken from an out of the way outdoor cafe in Tijuana (thereby tempting fate). Truthfully, once you got over the cats roaming around waiting for food to drop and the bucket of greasy water they offered to wash your hands in, it was a fine meal. I think, though, I find very few places in the Metro Detroit area to be extraordinarily exceptional.

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Has anyone eaten at Gala recently? My friends and I went there and really liked it (although the waitress seemed a bit inexperienced). I was wondering if it still has good food. We wanted to go there again and tried to get reservations on a week's notice and they were booked up.

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It was briefly mentioned upthread, but it bears repeating... last night we ate a Slow's BBQ near the old Tiger Stadium. It was the best BBQ I've had outside of Kansas City. I split an entree (brisket) and still managed to eat so much that I felt sick. We had an excellent Detroit day - we went to the 20th Anniversary of the Heidelberg Project, and then headed over to Slow's. I have been wanting to try the place for many months, and finally got there. We started with waffle fries with cheese while we waited for our table. My husband spied one of the bartenders making what looked like a bloody mary with bbq sauce, and had to have it. The bartender who was taking care of us denied such a thing existed, but then the other guy came back and confirmed that was what he did. So he ordered one, and loved it. The ribs were really tender and smoky, the brisket was good but kind of fatty. We all agreed that the mac & cheese was some of the best we had ever tasted. The atmosphere was fun, food was good, overall a good night. The only complaint was that the service fit the name of the restauarant... it took about fifteen minutes after we sat down before we even saw a waiter. We weren't in a hurry, so it didn't bother us too much, but this would not be the place to go before a concert or sporting event.

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  • 3 weeks later...
My friends and I ate at Fiddleheads.  Both our dishes were rather salty.  Also, I wasn't that thrilled with the food selection there.  I returned my dish to the kitchen (something I rarely do) and it was still salty when it came back.

My wife thinks I complain too much about oversalting. But I like Fiddleheads and personally haven't had that problem there. I had lunch there today and enjoyed it: roasted corn and lemongrass soup, lamb sandwich with sweet potato hash.

From my standpoint, it's very close to where I work and I'd rather pay $16 for that lunch vs. soup and sandwich at T.G.I. Friday's or its ilk. I'm glad it's there.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My husband and I went to Bon Homme in Plymouth last Saturday. We both had the Beef Wellington. It was a bit dry. The rest of the meal was alright, just nothing very spectacular. I had the Seafood Bisque which tasted really odd ... kind of like there was some strange chemical in it. The waitress was not that skilled. She interupted as while we were talking a couple of times (which is one of my all time pet peeves). The restrooms were just a tad better than a store bathroom.

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  • 2 months later...

Albeit a bit off-topic, as it has nothing to do with cooking/curing from the book, I wanted to mention that I had the pleasure of eating at Five Lakes Grill, Brian Polcyn's restaurant in Milford, MI. I was up in Grand Rapids and Lansing for a couple of nights this and decided to drive over to Milford for the evening. By the time I got there, it was a bit late and the dinner crowd had already cleared out. I sat at the bar (was traveling alone for work) and had the "Farmer's Charcuterie Plate" followed by "The Glorious Pig!"

Wow.

The Farmer's plate had a spicy chorizo (fresh, not dried) served with a mustard sauce, smoked duck breast with an apple chutney, country terrine with ginger/something chutney, quenelle of confit (duck/rabbit - can't recall) salad, and finally another terrine served with a cherry/fruit chutney. I should have jotted down notes, as I'm clearly forgetting the difference between the terrines (one was lighter with some herbs, the other darker - in both color and flavor- both were extremely light on the palate, not greasy at all) as well as the details of some of the condiments.

"The Glorious Pig!" is aptly described on the online menu as "A selection of Roasted Smoked Loin, Pork Confit and Josephine’s Kielbasa with Granny Smith apple and potato gratin, shallot confit, root vegetables, hard cider reduction and sweet potato hay"

My only complaint about the entree was that it was a bit heavy on the loin and light on the kielbasa and pork confit from a portion perspective.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me (as I was traveling for work and didn't think I'd need it), so no pictures to report back with.

Needless to say, if you find yourself anywhere near Detroit or Lansing (or for that matter Grand Rapids - as that's where I had to drive to after dinner), Five Lakes Grill is definitely a must-eat destination. Milford is somewhere off of 96 in between Detroit and Lansing - maybe 5-10 minutes off the highway.

Cheers,

-Dan

p.s. I was most definitely the last patron that night, and the bartender who served me was just as friendly and helpful as could be and the kitchen staff clearly paid just as much attention to my meal as if it were in the middle of service - not the last order of the night.

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>Needless to say, if you find yourself anywhere near Detroit or Lansing (or for that matter Grand >Rapids - as that's where I had to drive to after dinner), Five Lakes Grill is definitely a must-eat >destination. Milford is somewhere off of 96 in between Detroit and Lansing - maybe 5-10 minutes >off the highway.

FLG is certainly one of the more well-known fine dining establishments in the Detroit area (though even I have to start chafing a bit at calling Milford a part of the Detroit area...it's pretty far out there). Brian Polcyn, the owner/chef, is quite the established name around here, and he is, indeed, quite adept at not just coming up with unique dishes, but also at buying and using locally-grown food when in season. His charcuterie ability is second-to-none in the Midwest, I'd say.

That being said, service can most definitely be problematic from what I've heard, and that can sometimes make the experience uneven at best. I'm not sure why that is, exactly, and the only possible explanation I can think of is that FLG does seem to employ a great deal of people who look and/or come across as a bit too young to be able to produce the level of service that one comes to expect from the best restaurants in the area. It would appear that some of them don't really appreciate the opportunity that they have in working there, and it can come across pretty clearly.

It is the only really exemplary restaurant out in the Livingston County area, though, and I'm sure that the location helps it. Sometimes being the big fish in the small pond is the best way to go. Glad you enjoyed your experience.

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Hi eGulleteers!

This Seattleite is headed home to Ann Arbor for Christmas week, and one of our planned activities is the DIA and Greektown. I haven't been to Greektown since I was a kid, and hear it's gotten really touristy - however, we still want to go for nostalga's sake. What's the best Greek restaurant in that area these days?

Thanks for your help!

Otherwise, you can find me at Zingermans, snarfning down my regular, Randy's Routine! :wub:

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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Hi eGulleteers!

This Seattleite is headed home to Ann Arbor for Christmas week, and one of our planned activities is the DIA and Greektown. I haven't been to Greektown since I was a kid, and hear it's gotten really touristy - however, we still want to go for nostalga's sake. What's the best Greek restaurant in that area these days?

Thanks for your help!

Otherwise, you can find me at Zingermans, snarfning down my regular, Randy's Routine!  :wub:

New Hellas. They DON"T accept casino comps. Pegasus is still good, but too close the slot machines for my taste. There are some newer restaurants like fishbones and blue nile, neither of which are really great. Sweet Georgia Brown is close by and a few years ago, I had the best meal I've had in Detroit there. Haven't been there since though and there have been management changes.

Be forewarned, the DIA is still undergoing renovation and only a few galleries are open.

Bode

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The few galleries that are open though are the DIA's greatest hits, and it makes for a very worthwhile visit. Plus they have an awesome Annie Leibovitz exhibit right now.

I agree with the recommendation for New Hellas.

If you can be swayed from eating in Greektown, there are lots of other worthwhile spots - Traffic Jam is pretty close to the DIA.

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If you can be swayed from eating in Greektown, there are lots of other worthwhile spots - Traffic Jam is pretty close to the DIA.

While I agree that there are lots of other great places around there that happen to fall just outside of Greektown, I've never understood the local fascination with Traffic Jam and Snug. Don't get me wrong: there's nothing *wrong* with the place, and it's not really *bad*, but the food that I've had there has been decidedly mediocre.

All I've ever heard from people is "Ooo! Traffic Jam is great! blahbadeeblahblah..." And yet, going there isn't anything special at all. It's the kind of place I'd give an overall C+ to...nothing objectionable, but nothing at all special, either.

Am I missing something?

Edited by boagman (log)
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Ok, so it's New Hellas or Pegasus, with Sweet Georgia Brown in third (what kind of food do they make?).

Thanks for the warning on the DIA, I'd seen that on their website. It will actually work to our advantage to just view the greatest hits in one place, as some of our party have trouble walking - but we're all thrilled about the Annie Liebovitz exhibit. There is such a difference between a photo in a magazine and an origional print by the artist.

Thanks for your help, and best wishes for the Season!

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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It is the only really exemplary restaurant out in the Livingston County area, though, and I'm sure that the location helps it.  Sometimes being the big fish in the small pond is the best way to go.

And Milford's not even IN Livingston, so I guess the county proper has no significant dining. :raz:

-Kelly (who lived in both Oakland and Livingston counties and can't spell today)

Edited by kellycolorado (log)
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Ok, so it's New Hellas or Pegasus, with Sweet Georgia Brown in third (what kind of food do they make?).

Thanks for the warning on the DIA, I'd seen that on their website. It will actually work to our advantage to just view the greatest hits in one place, as some of our party have trouble walking - but we're all thrilled about the Annie Liebovitz exhibit. There is such a difference between a photo in a magazine and an origional print by the artist.

Thanks for your help, and best wishes for the Season!

SGB serves upscale Southern-inspired food. I would also recommend Mosaic if you're looking for something higher-end. New Hellas and Pegasus are good, but more casual.

The Liebovitz exhibit is awesome. And to respond to the comments about Traffic Jam, I would agree that the food is good but not extraordinary, but what is very special is the fact that they make all of their own bread and desserts. THOSE are worth the price of admission alone.

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Nice to hear that New Hellas is still recommendable. The last time I ate in Greektown was 20 years ago, just before I moved away from Detroit -- New Hellas was one of my regular stops back then. (If memory serves, my #1 favorite was the International.)

Any opinions about the food at Laikon Cafe nowadays? And does anyone remember the parrot?

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I agree with the Traffic Jam and Snug rec. Not that great, but decent baked goods and some desserts are worth it. If you're venturing out, don't forget Dearborn and its great selection of Lebanese food. In East Dearborn try Al Amir on Warren east of Schaffer. In West Dearborn its La Pita on Michigan east of Telegraph. La Shish is good, especially their kabobs, but, as I learned during the trial of the original owners wife, many restaurants are franchises and the quality has slipped. There are also some political issues with the La Shish original owner, a murder, terroist accusations, tax fraud, and a fugitive. His wife went to jail for accessory to many things.

Bode

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  • 1 month later...

Five Lakes Grill – January 27, 2007

Finally I made the pilgrimage to Five Lakes Grill. I had been trying to get my wife to go for over a year, but she wasn’t so enthused. Let’s just say she gets enough charcuterie at home! Well, she finally decided to take the plunge and treat me for my 40th birthday.

The evening didn’t start out so well, as son stuck like Velcro to mom as we tried to drop him off at babysitter (otherwise known as sister-in-law). I helped pry him off, and we were on our way. It should be noted that crying was confirmed to be stopped approximately 30 seconds after we left.

The restaurant itself is rather nondescript, but cozy and warm. There is a small bar, which is separated from the dining room area by a wall. The final kitchen area is somewhat open, though also blocked by about a 4 foot wall. You can see the staff scurrying about, but can’t necessarily see the cooking take place.

We settled in to our table and ordered our usual pre-dinner cocktails (Gin/Tonic for me, Captain/Diet for wife). Surprisingly, the restaurant wasn’t packed, which was good as the waitstaff was able to be very attentive.

Chef Brian was wandering around greeting customers. Alas, he didn’t make it to our table. This relieved my wife to no end, as she was afraid I was going to make a scene. Her ground rules were set ahead of time: No pictures, no cookbook signing, no asking to be given tour of kitchen…I was OK with this, but it did cause me to ask a question: Are chef’s becoming “rock stars”, and how should they be treated whilst in the middle of their “concert”. I look at it this way, if the Chef comes around, you can have some small talk, get your book signed (something I’m not really into), or get a quick picture (again, no my cup of tea)…but leave the sanctity of the kitchen alone. You wouldn’t, after all, walk on stage when Bono is mid-song…would you???

I have taken a couple of classes from Chef Brian, and he is really a genuine, down to earth, nice guy –this was also apparent from his interaction with the other guests.

So now, on to the important info: What did we eat?

1st Course: Farmer’s Plate of Charcuterie Selections…Foie Gras w/ Chutney (this was OK, the foie a little pasty, much better when taken in concert with the chutney), Smoked Duck Breast with Cranberry Chutney (my favorite, absolutely magnificent smoky flavor, tender…the match with the chutney was remarkable), Smoked Pork Loin with Apple Chutney (nice mild smoke, very moist, again the chutney pairing was fantastic---catching the theme here), Spicy Chorizo, Country Terrine with Potato Salad and Bread Crisp (wife’s favorite, very nice flavor and texture)..This was a very good start to the meal…and I guess how could you go wrong as this is the “signature” starter of the restaurant. What really struck me and opened my eyes, was the way he paired each selection with the perfect accompaniment. It has given me some ideas for how to make my own meals more magical.

2nd Course: Werp Family Farms Organic Field Geens in Walnut Vinaigrette with Michigan dried tart cherries, apples, Gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts….Very good, fresh, not overly dressed. The highlight of this course was the Stella Gorgonzola cheese, which was striking in contrast to the mild tastes of the other ingredients.

3rd Course – Wife: Pan Seared Breast of Indiana Duckling with Confit of Leg and Thigh with Black beluga lentils, braised red cabbage, savory bread pudding and port wine currant sauce….First off, the breast was the best duck I have ever eaten, and was matched perfectly with the sauce. The lentils were outstanding (something I never thought I would say), and the cabbage (sliced matchstick thin) made mine taste like something you would get at Old Country Buffet (not that I’ve ever eaten there  ). The bread pudding was good, though not remarkable. The confit was, in our opinion a little dry and salty.

3rd Course – Me: The Glorious Pig! – did you expect me to order anything else? Again, the “signature” entrée of the master of Charcuterie. A selection of Roasted Smoked Loin, Pork Confit and Josephine’s Kielbasa with Granny Smith apple and potato gratin, shallot confit, root vegetables, hard cider reduction and sweet potato hay…Honestly, a little anti-climatic for me, I guess I was expecting the skies to open up and the angels to start singing. The loin was done perfectly and had wonderful taste with a mild smoke. The quantity of the loin, did overpower the kielbasa and confit. I would have appreciated a little more balance of the three. The confit was something I had never had before and was very good, remarkably tender, though again – a little salty. The kielbasa was absolutely magnificent, done perfectly, and with just the right mix of flavors. I ran home and pulled a batch of mine out of the freezer so that I can compare. The vegetables were all done perfectly and had nice crisp, fresh tastes. The sweet potato hay was a unique garnish that I will be blatantly stealing for home meals. I had a glass of Edge Cabernet, which was not so good at all..

4th Course – Tasting of Deserts: Angel Food Cake (best I’ve ever tasted, I didn’t know that angel food cake could be anything other than Sahara like dry), chocolate volcano (absolutely decedent), Crème Brulee (nothing spectacular), Apple Cobbler (very good)

Overall, a very pleasant experience, though I think the anticipation and waiting made it almost impossible to live up to the expectations. I think if I go again, I would probably just get a wider selection of the appetizers to get a better variety of Brian’s true calling – Charcuterie.

Expat Russ

Three Passions:

Food

Travel<=click to go to my travel website...

BBQ and BQ<=click to go to my blog about trying to balance great food and qualifying for the Boston Marathon

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I really enjoy finding something that might not be ultra-common knowledge to people who don't truly enjoy eating. I've been actively cutting back on my calorie consumption since the new year started, but haven't actually cut anything *from* my diet.

I'm quite familiar with many of the great eating destinations in the area, and often, they have a relatively large price tag associated with them. Not that there's anything in particular wrong with that (viva la Opus One!), but what I'm looking for are some of the little places that do great things with food. They care about quality.

Example: Chef Ed's Weekday Cafe in Eastpointe. Man, oh, man, you must go there. Obviously, they're open weekdays only, from 7am-7pm, though if you show up at 6:45pm, you're basically going to have a choice of cold sandwiches, and that's it. This is the *definitive* mom-and-pop operation, and they do it so well, it boggles the mind. Their food's quality-to-price ratio is astoundingly great, and Ed's abilities in the kitchen (he's quite experienced in food service) are honestly one of the most pleasant surprises I've come across in several years. For heaven's sake: when the man gets *bored*, he makes desserts. Wonderful, fantastic desserts.

Anyway, I'm looking for more places like this. Places that make their own sauces, soup stocks, desserts, and basically *never* reheat food that's been "pre-made" for them. I'm open to differing types of cuisine, but the price (in this case), must be relatively inexpensive. Meal, drink (non-alcoholic), tax and tip for $15 or so. If you have to cross the $20 border, you've reached too far.

It may be a tall order, but these places are out there, and I want to support them. Let me know what your secrets are so I can spend my money there! ;)

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One of our favorites is Cadieux Cafe. It's family-owned, been around forever, reminiscent of an old Belgian beer hall and the menu and beer/ale list do nothing to shake that feeling.

I wouldn't recommend trying it on the first visit but at least watch others participate in feather bowling. Then, if it intrigues you, reserve an alley to play the next time. The staff could tell you how far ahead you'll need to look, what nights are tournament, etc. It doesn't take a lot of imagineation to figure out how this somewhat-obscure game came to be :wink:.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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One of our favorites is Cadieux Cafe.  It's family-owned, been around forever, reminiscent of an old Belgian beer hall and the menu and beer/ale list do nothing to shake that feeling.

I wouldn't recommend trying it on the first visit but at least watch others participate in feather bowling.  Then, if it intrigues you, reserve an alley to play the next time.  The staff could tell you how far ahead you'll need to look, what nights are tournament, etc.  It doesn't take a lot of imagineation to figure out how this somewhat-obscure game came to be :wink:.

I've walked into this place before, but not with friends, so I wasn't going to be able to play feather bowling, which I have. It's definitely fun/frustrating, and the Cadieux Cafe is certainly the premier place to play it in the Detroit area.

Important: how (and what) are the food choices?

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One of our favorites is Cadieux Cafe.  It's family-owned, been around forever, reminiscent of an old Belgian beer hall and the menu and beer/ale list do nothing to shake that feeling.

I wouldn't recommend trying it on the first visit but at least watch others participate in feather bowling.  Then, if it intrigues you, reserve an alley to play the next time.  The staff could tell you how far ahead you'll need to look, what nights are tournament, etc.  It doesn't take a lot of imagineation to figure out how this somewhat-obscure game came to be :wink:.

I've walked into this place before, but not with friends, so I wasn't going to be able to play feather bowling, which I have. It's definitely fun/frustrating, and the Cadieux Cafe is certainly the premier place to play it in the Detroit area.

Important: how (and what) are the food choices?

I haven't lived on the east side (of the city or the state) for a couple of decades now (yikes!), but when I did, the mussels were quite good, and I suspect still are. They were pretty much the only thing I ever considered eating there.

Have you been to Steve's Backroom?

Thanks for the tip about Chef Ed's -- I'll check it out when I'm in the area in a few weeks.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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"Have you been to Steve's Backroom?"

Nope, never have. I seem to have heard of it somewhere along the line, but I'm not familiar with it at all. Where's it located, and what type of food do they serve/specialize in?

"Thanks for the tip about Chef Ed's -- I'll check it out when I'm in the area in a few weeks."

The only things that may put you off are the smallness of the seating (16 total seats) and the fact that they do close rather early (expect to be there by 6:15pm in order to order anything you want). The food is extra good, especially Ed's weekly fish special, which is always wonderful.

Also, don't miss the soups, and for heaven's sake: SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT! You won't be disappointed.

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"Have you been to Steve's Backroom?"

Nope, never have.  I seem to have heard of it somewhere along the line, but I'm not familiar with it at all.  Where's it located, and what type of food do they serve/specialize in?

"Thanks for the tip about Chef Ed's -- I'll check it out when I'm in the area in a few weeks."

The only things that may put you off are the smallness of the seating (16 total seats) and the fact that they do close rather early (expect to be there by 6:15pm in order to order anything you want).  The food is extra good, especially Ed's weekly fish special, which is always wonderful.

Also, don't miss the soups, and for heaven's sake:  SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!  You won't be disappointed.

Steve's Backroom -- great Middle Eastern food.

Small doesn't put me off at all -- in fact, it usually helps. I was planning on a late lunch or very early dinner, so that should work out. Thanks again for the menu recommendations.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Also in the "off-the-beaten-path" type places...if you are ever on the West side of Detroit, Schoolcraft college, well known for their Culinary program, does a lunch service tuesday through friday that will blow your mind, led by CMC Dan Huglier and serving quality food at prices that will blow your mind...they seat at 11:45, 12, and 12:15, your best bet is to call ahead. (the dessert selection from the pastry shop is incredible, and if I remember correctly, you get your choice for something like $1.95)

Also for a nicer dinner at still reasonable prices (all entrees below $20 last time I checked) is Fiddleheads on 13 mile just east of Greenfield. New chef Tim Voss has been making some changes at this restaurant so look for new things if you have been there before....

The Onion Roll Deli on Woodward just north of 11 mile is famous in the area for their Ruben's, but for my buck I offer two alternatives to my most favorite sandwich...O'Hara's is located on 10 mile road West of Gratiot and is a bar...but a bar that is so well known for their Rubens I find it hard to believe they actually have a bar clientele that doesn't come just to eat! Also a top in my Ruben list is the Bread Basket, a tiny place located on 8 mile road between Telegraph and Grand River...Found out about this place a few years ago and was so highly recommended that I went to search it out from St Clair Shores (Warning: both of the above places require a hearty appetite as the serve a truly formidable sandwich!)

Also notable: Cedar Gardens, located at 9 mile and Mack near the Shores Theater and the (in)famous Travis Burger serves Middle Eastern food that will blow away anything from Steve's Backroom, and they are in the same area. Across the street is a tiny place called Sy Thai Shores (to differentiate it from their location in Birmingham) that serves great Thai food, especially for the area in which it is located.

Speaking of Middle Eastern food, there is a small place downtown called Byblos, I believe it to be on Palmer very near Wayne state that I recommend on the strength of the only meal I have had there, if anyone can comment further I would appreciate it...

Sorry for being so lengthy but I have to congratulate you on what may easily become my favorite thread on all of Egullet!

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