Worth it to spend a foodie night in Detroit?
A friend and I are travelling from Toronto to the Detroit area to see a concert at the DTE on August 23rd. We planned to spend the night, do some shopping at Auburn Hills Mall the following day, spend the night again in Auburn Hills, then head home on Saturday.
However, today I was thinking perhaps we should head into Detroit on Friday to have a great meal and spend the night there instead.
Neither of us is a picky eater.
..I was there about 3 years ago...I'd call it educational, having not been to very many large American cities, my buddy who is from there isn't much for food other than sustainence so I settled for what he said downtown offered, I think it was called Coney Island Hot Dogs...good luck! I know there are more affluent suburbs around, maybe look over there...on our way outta town we went to a Mexican place that he raved about, I wish I recalled the name so i could assure you to skip it...
I'd be interested to hear what I missed out on, surely there is more than a scary liquor store and hot dog joint open at night downtown...
Greektown is a great suggestion -- fun, inexpensive...I like Pegasus the best. Mosaic is nice in Greektown too, not traditional Greek but more chic and on the gourmet side. mosaic-detroit.com
If you are looking for something downtown that is more upscale, my favorite is the Rattlesnake Club (rattlesnakeclub.com). There is also a jazz supper club called Seldom Blues (seldomblues.com), and an italian place on the river called Andiamo (andiamoitalia.com)...
More in between, a lot of people really like Small Plates (smallplates.com), and Slows (slowsbarbq.com).
It's in a stretch of the riverfront that has several corporate offices--a reasonable area for Detroit, although not really near much of anything else. There is a hotel adjacent, the Omni River Place Hotel, which is on the expensive side, but coming from Toronto you'll probably find it doable if you look around for specials. The creator of the Rattlesnake Club, Jimmy Schmidt, is Detroit's very own celebrity chef, and the place has a large deck overlooking the river and your homeland if the weather is nice. Go nutz. I also agree with g_rote below that if you're looking for something that would be hard to get in T.O., you should go to Slows. Be prepared to wait on a weekend night. It would be a short cab ride from downtown hotels, but both these would be many miles (kilometers) from DTE.
300 River Place, Detroit, MI 48207
Slows Bar B Que
2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
Having been liberated from living in the Detroit area ~10 years ago after having spent the better part of 3 decades in there, along with having taken about 1/2 dozen trips to Toronto in the last 10 years, I can tell you that if you're looking for something in Detroit that you can't get in Toronto, you're going to be disappointed. There was a good thread on Chowhnounds a few months back regarding regonial signature foods that might be of help. I'm sure that if you look through back issues of Food & Wine or Bon Appetit or Conde Nast or Travel & Leisure, you're not likely to find features on Detroit's renaissance as a dining destination. Here's a Detroit food thread that got some interesting responses:
The one area I can think of where Detroit, in small part, might out do Tornoto is BBQ...and at this point, Slows BBQ in Detroit is probably your best bet (unless you want dirty street-corner 55-gallon-drum BBQ)...just don't tell the indie-rock hipsters that frequent the place that you're going to or from a DMB concert.