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Detroit Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


ChocoKitty
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What about The Whitney, a short cab ride north of downtown? I haven't been there in ages. Beautiful old mansion, expensive but excellent, half-priced bottles Tuesdays in May. Has anyone been there recently?

"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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For the Detroit version of the Coney Island (natural casing "Michigan-legal" hotdog with Greek chili) head to Lafayette Coney at Michigan and Lafayette, 1 block from the courthouse. American Coney Island is right next-door and owned by the brother of the Lafayette owner. Legend has it some family squabble led to the second restaurant but they share the same suppliers and serve the same food.

Last time I was in Detroit with my family we actually each had a Coney dog at Lafayette and then each had one at American. I thought there were differences but can't for the life of me remember what they were. In any case, can't hurt to try them both.

I'd have Coney dogs, and some flaming cheese (opa!!!) in Greektown.

Have a great time in Detroit!

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Here are some ideas from my husband, who works at the Ren Cen:

Traffic Jam and Snug (great soups, salads, homemade cheese)

511 West Canfield at Second

Detroit, MI 48201

Phone: (313) 831-9470

Fishbones (for the novelty of it)

400 Monroe St.

Detroit, MI 48226

313-965-4600

Jacoby's German Biergarten (typical German bar food, but excellent beer selection)

624 Brush St.

Detroit, MI 48214

313-962-7067

Detroiter (walking distance, total dive, don't order anything but a burger- great local flavor)

655 Beaubien St

Detroit, MI 48226

313-963-3355

Twingo's (mostly vegetarian, pretty good)

4710 Cass Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

Main Phone: 313-832-3832

We'd both advise you to stay away from Xocimilco. I personally think it's on par with Chi Chi's.

Good luck!! (and if you decide to venture outside the city, let us know - there are a lot more options available if you have the time to explore.)

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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A very good mexican place is mi pueblo. Some very good authentic mexican fare including great soups and carnita's to die for. The pork just melts into your mouth. Eve's is another great place, where you can buy "oooh so good" tamalies for about 5 dollars a dozen.

www.mipueblorestaurant.com

http://www.metrotimes.com/metropolis/resta...ace.asp?id=2591

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  • 1 month later...

We finally ate at The Tribute. I realize how much it's praised as a restaurant and I will probably become much reviled after my comments, but here goes.

My husband, guest from San Diego and I were not impressed by The Tribute. Our guest was a VP Sales of a major corporation, so she is used to wining and dining around the USA. She was like "ho hum" about the whole experience. It's been a while, so I cannot remember exactly what we all ate.

The first thing that I remember that was annoying was the parking situation. They had required valet parking. The parking lot was nearly empty, the whole parking lot could be crossed in 60 seconds or less (ie., not very big), so required valet parking seemed a little overkill for a suburban restaurant with a moderate parking lot with lots of empty parking spaces.

The food was ok, but the portions could have been a lot bigger. I've never eaten at a restaurant where I did not feel full and did not have leftover food on my plate (ok, except for the salty carrot sorbet ... see below).

The deconstructed carrot cake had my husband and I laughing for quite some time. He said the actual carrot cake was good, but it would have been a lot better if they skipped the salty carrot sorbet (My husband said it was awful and just plain weird) and made larger portions of the carrot cake (Did I mention that the portions were really small???).

There seemed to be way too many people working at each table. There were many times that they were continually interupting our conversations instead of allowing the person who was talking to finish their sentence before interupting them.

Maybe they had an off day or maybe I am too picky. Don't get me wrong, I will eat anything. However, there are very few restaurants that I will call great restaurants. The Tribute is a decent restaurant, but it's just not up there in the greats for me.

Edited by Maria (log)
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Here's a nice little find in Ferndale, Michigan. Via Nove which means "Nine Mile" in Italian. Here's a Detroit News review on Via Nove http://www.detnews.com/2005/eatsdrinks/050.../E10-128169.htm Here's an AOL City Guide review on Via Nove http://www.digitalcity.com/detroit/enterta...adp?sbid=191264 Appetizers, main meal, dessert, a couple of cappucinos and tip will set you back around $50.00 per person.

Once a month a couple of women friends and I get together to spend an entire evening leisurely eating and talking. Unlike my husband and his friends who get together once a week at a Bill Knapps, my friends and I usually choose a nice restaurant. In 5 years we haven't yet eaten at a bad restaurant. This time my one friend, an Italian American, chose the restaurant. She had seen it once and wanted to try it. Because she had never eaten there herself, she was a bit nervous about how things would turn out.

When we first met up we did get confused and could not find her. We were not aware that there were two floors to the restaurant and that she was already seated upstairs. So, if you are meeting someone there, do be aware that there are two floors to the restaurant. If you want a quiet dinner where you can talk, you might want to eat on the first floor instead of the second floor if they have entertainment. It can get rather loud up there (or at least too loud for lots of quiet conversation) since there really isn't anything to absorb the sounds.

The decor is modern without being weird and way out there.

The staff was most helpful and pleasant. Our waiter was very cognizant of the ebb and flow of our conversations and did not interupt us at the wrong times. Although friendly, he was not overly familiar.

The food was great. I wish I had tammylc's gift of remembering and describing food. What I could remember was that I could taste each ingredient that was in each of the dishes. I know that sounds kind of weird, but a lot of times dishes are so overdone with spices and sauces that you really cannot taste the ingredients. At Via Nove, though, the food was bright, vibrant, fresh. And they gave us more than enough food. What was also great, was that they had a good selection of interesting dishes for vegetarians to eat. One of our group is a vegetarian and it is always a challenge to find a good restaurant with a good selection of foods that a vegetarian can eat.

The appetizer and main meal was great, but nothing prepared us for the dessert. Ok, dessert was nothing short of orgasmic. I had the roasted chestnut charlotte with chestnut mousse and a dab of hazelnut/chocolate gelato. I had no idea how it was going to turn out. In fact, I was about ready to beat myself over the head for not going with one of the chocolate desserts, that was, until I had my first bite. I do not use the word orgasmic lightly (actually I rarely use the word), but nothing on earth prepared me for this. My dinner companions enjoyed their desserts also (and for the life of me I cannot remember what they had). The mmmms and groans that emitted from us as we ate surprised even us.

Our friend who chose the restaurant beamed as we praised her for her find.

Edited by Maria (log)
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Maria,

I ate at Via Nove about a month ago while back home visiting. I really wanted to like this place after reading all the good reviews and being from the area.

I went with my (albeit critical) Mom and sister and the consensus was that it wasn't a very good value and probably not worth rushing back to. The menu prices were the same or more as comparable Italian restaurants here in the SF Bay area at Ferndale rents.

I can't even remember what we ate now but my sister had a pretty bland pasta dish in a "light tomato cream sauce" and my mom had some type of fish which wasn't bad but quite small. My main dish was the best of the 3 but I can't remember it now. I however loved the baccala (sp?) soup. The salads were nicely dressed but I'm not a fan of dried fruit in my greens so I pushed those aside.

The decor was nice downstairs and the bones still reminded me of it's past as the Temple nightclub. We went on a weekday and the place was less than half full so there wasn't a whole lot of energy that night. Our waiter however was somewhat familiar and got my sister's number at the end of the meal. :shock:

Interestingly, going to pick up the rest of my brood at the hot wings place down the street, that place was packed at 8:30 on a weeknight. :blink:

I wish them well and hope they are successful- IMHO I just think they need to pump up the flavors a bit and offer a bit more value.

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Maria - your review of the Tribute is the first since they changed chefs, so any comments you've read from before no longer apply. I'm sorry it was a disappointing experience - I'd hoped that Chef Takashi's replacement would meet the high standard he's set. Hopefully he's just taking a little time to settle in and things will improve.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's pretty interesting that people can have different experiences at a restaurant.

My husband and I stopped by Via Nove for dessert and they had changed their menu so that chestnut lovely dessert was no longer offered. The dessert I ended up with was alright, but nothing like the one we had before. I'm not fond of pasta, so I normally do not have a pasta dish.

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I told a friend about folks suggesting Emily's. So, she and her husband are going for their anniversary. So, I am looking forward to what she thinks. I told my husband I would like to go there next.

Edited by Maria (log)
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Has anyone eaten at Angel's Cafe in Ferndale? A group of friends and I used to get together there once a month. It was a nice little place. I was wondering how it was now-a-days since it looks like it reopened.

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I have to say that it bothers me to hear about tribute like this... i think that Don is talented chef, and has many great ideas. For the desserts... I know that tribute has yet agian changed pastry chefs, and this could explain for the not so splectaular pastries. I would give the new pastry chef a bit to settle in before making any sharp judgments.

I know that i wish nothing for the best for tribute, and look forward to seeing what happens for it in the future.

Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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Well, I just got back from lunch - turns out that Angel's Cafe opens at 5 p.m. - no lunch service.

So- I went to the Starving Artist Restaurant right next door. Very good with a sophisticated menu. I tried the quiche of the day - carmelized onions with blue cheese (served with balsamic-dressed greens and a bunch of grapes), and splurged on a decadent dessert: chocolate volcano cake (a luscious chocolate fudge torte topped with fresh raspberries/sauce and whipped cream.

YUM!

I took a carry-out menu in case you're interested (PM your fax number)

Don't know if or when I'll go to Angel's - I'll see if devilkitty would like to meet me there after work

phoebe

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Wow

Went to Angel's Cafe for dinner yesterday and found a restaurant in transition

Chef Keith Pierce is in the process of changing the menu, adding a wine license and remodelling the establishment. He plans to launch the new menu in the fall - offering old favorites and new tastes. The front will remain dining, and the rear will be modified into a wine bar. He is making the changes in response to customer feedback - requests for wine and smaller portions. He is of Italian heritage, reflected in his menu.

To sample his menu, last night I ordered two "small" entrees. These were both still very hearty servings - I only tasted the second and took it home to devilkitty.

The meal started with fresh-from-the-oven bread. Excellent from the aroma to the last crumb which mopped juices from my second entree.

The first entree that I tried was Florentine Cheese Ravioli in Nutmeg Bechamel topped with portabello mushrooms, broccoli, pine nuts and romano cheese. This was delicious - the bechamel was frothy and aromatic, the ravioli were perfect and flavorful. The dish was well balanced - each ingredient spoke up for itself, and was present in every bite. Needless to say, the plate went back CLEAN. The most amazing aspect of this creation was the price - less than $10!!

The second entree was Garlic Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts - generous chicken breast encrusted with toasted & fresh garlic, parmesan cheese and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and cous cous. This was an excellent dish - particularly if you like garlic - the doggy-bag serenaded me with the sweet aroma of garlic all the way home to devilkitty. The chicken breast was browned nicely on the outside and perfectly done inside - with cloves of garlic tucked in. When I took my first bite, I was sorry that I had filled up on the ravioli dish and left no room for the chicken. Well, at under $10, I can afford to return very soon.

The soup-de-jour was a chilled berry - available before or after the meal. I opted for after.

The soup was very charmingly presented in a flowered coffee cup with matching saucer. The soup had a lovely pale purple froth on top with a shell shaped crispy cookie garnish. My first cool sip of this very pretty concoction netted a warm blackberry surprise. Delicious! The soup contained more warm berries and a sliced strawberry garnished the plate.

The two entrees and lovely berry soup came in under $25. Wow!

Angel's Cafe is definitely still around, and worth a visit. The restaurant and the website are both currently in transition, so I'd recommend calling ahead to make a reservation. Chef Keith mentioned painting and remodelling in the near future, so this may mean closed doors for a few days.

Since I work so close by, I will certainly be visiting again soon. Devilkitty and I may take his folks there for dinner next month for their anniversary.

phoebe

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Wow, thanks, Phoebe. I don't get to the Metro area much any more, but Angel's will definitely be on the list for the next time.

"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'm definitely going to stop by Angel's next year when I'm visiting my family. I've been wanting to go there for a long time now.

Has anyone been to Assaggi for dinner lately? I went on a visit not long after they opened in 2000 and had the best wild mushroom soup of my life. With a toddler I haven't been back recently though...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the wonderful in depth review, Phoebe! Angel's was kind of one of those little finds. I was sad when it closed down for a while. The food and price was always good and yet it was never packed like some of the other places in Ferndale. I definitely am going to revisit it sometime soon.

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Is any one attending the SOS event at tribute? Anything new in happening in the area?

It hard to keep updated when i'm so far away, so come on guys fill me in.

New restaurants? How is logan doing in ann arbor, and how about the one that took the place of the cajun joint on main st? Been to eve lateley? Anything new in downtown detriot?

i have to say that i miss something things there... just not the snow factor.

Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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Is any one attending the SOS event at tribute?  Anything new in happening in the area?

It hard to keep updated when i'm so far away, so come on guys fill me in.

New restaurants?  How is logan doing in ann arbor, and how about the one that took the place of the cajun joint on main st?  Been to eve lateley?  Anything new in downtown detriot?

i have to say that i miss something things there... just not the snow factor.

I still haven't been to Logan. Everytime I've looked at the menu it's just not looked that interesting. Rush Street is the one you're thinking of on Main, and I haven't been there yet either. This having a baby thing really cuts into ones eating out possiblities. Eve has added a wine bar and is doing tasting classes and the like - haven't been to one yet, but hoping to make it soon.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Is any one attending the SOS event at tribute?  Anything new in happening in the area?

It hard to keep updated when i'm so far away, so come on guys fill me in.

New restaurants?  How is logan doing in ann arbor, and how about the one that took the place of the cajun joint on main st?  Been to eve lateley?  Anything new in downtown detriot?

i have to say that i miss something things there... just not the snow factor.

What's the SOS event at Tribute - there isn't anything on their website about it.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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