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bloomfield hills or birmingham top dining?

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ljero Jan 18, 2008 09:55 AM

Need some quick help: hounds from Chicago going to spend weekend in BH with family. Any great spots around there that have fabulous food and cozy atmosphere? Tribute is too far..and been there, done that. Beverly Hills Grille was not bad, but looking for something else.

thank you so much!

  1. d
    Docsknotinn Jan 19, 2008 04:34 PM

    Have you considered the Lark or ill Posto?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Docsknotinn
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      ljero Jan 22, 2008 02:40 PM

      we went to hong hua after reading some of the glowing recs here. it was AWFUL. the owner recommended the live fish, a small mouth grouper. We were charged almost 40 dollars for it and it was fishy, with manny bones and awful. we also tried a crispy beef entree, which was dry and a szech chicken, which was flavorless--and should be spicy! the lettuce wraps are better at PF chags, if that says anything. Just wanted to give an updated report. Thanks!

      1. re: ljero
        x
        xman887 Jan 22, 2008 04:50 PM

        that is kind of shocking, especially being a former restaurant of the year (hour magazine). i have had lunch there a few times and it was very good.

        1. re: ljero
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          buttermonkey Jan 22, 2008 08:16 PM

          I feel lunch is a great time to go Hong Hua. It is a great value concidering soup and spring roll come with entrees. Your experence is sad to hear about but I must say that IMHO it is some of the better "chinese" in the area. I have ate at Hong Hua countless times for both lunch and dinner but mainly go at the lunch hour ( I was there yesterday.)

          1. re: ljero
            b
            boagman Jan 22, 2008 08:29 PM

            Well, I'll chime in with this: I like Hong Hua, but I would *never again* order their "Market Price" fish selection(s), which it sounds as if you were talked into. I have to agree that my entree, for which I was pounded handsomely to the tune of $35 a few years ago, was incorrectly prepared at first, and then when I received it correctly prepared, it wasn't very good.

            That being said, I really enjoyed the rest of the food that I had to eat there, as did my dining companion that night. I tried her food, and she tried mine, and with the exception of my mightily overpriced and generally lousy Market Price fish, we really enjoyed our time there.

            I fully admit that I haven't been back there since, though. That $35 sting really left a lasting impression, and our server appeared to have a great struggle with the English language, especially when the problem with the fish arose.

            I'll go back someday, but this person's story is not simply an isolated incident. Unlike them, however, I thought that the rest of the food we had was very tasty, and enjoyable.

            1. re: ljero
              coney with everything Oct 5, 2008 05:24 AM

              I'm resurrecting this thread because I just ate at Hong Hua for the first time last night and was pretty unimpressed. 3 of us shared lettuce wraps, Jade and Coral shrimp, and a beef with rice noodles dish. My companions were very happy but I have to say that I didn't think the food was any better than the usual Chinese takeout. Very salty, probably MSG-laden, sauces were bland and cornstarch-y. I'd be fine with all that if the pricing weren't set at such a premium compared to the norm of Chinese in this area.

              The place was packed, though, so what do I know?

              1. re: coney with everything
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                boagman Oct 5, 2008 01:53 PM

                I've only ever been there once, but when I was there, I thought it was pretty good. I would *never* order anything "market price" there again (wow, did they screw me), but even so, it was good.

                I think the most telling tale is the fact that, not only will it be packed at any given time, but most of the patrons will, in fact, be Chinese, or most certainly Asian. A friend of mine who works at a local Chinese church tells me that Hong Hua is held in *very* high regard by the congregation, and he likes it himself.

                1. re: boagman
                  coney with everything Oct 6, 2008 05:14 AM

                  I wonder if they get a special menu? The menu we got looked like typical gringo Chinese.

                  1. re: coney with everything
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                    berkleybabe Oct 10, 2008 09:53 AM

                    I'm not familiar with this place... where is it?

                    1. re: berkleybabe
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                      boagman Oct 10, 2008 10:19 AM

                      Hmm. I'm surprised BB, since it's a pretty well-known place. It's on Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills, just north of I-696 on the west side of the road, in a former Bill Knapp's building that, due to the reconstruction and refacing, you'd hardly even recognize.

                      I haven't been in there in quite a while, but I've been by there more times than I can count, considering its easy-to-pass-by-without-knowing-it's-there position.

                      1. re: boagman
                        b
                        berkleybabe Oct 10, 2008 04:59 PM

                        Thanks boagman...this is off my radar, glad to know of it. Not entirely interested in exploring it based on this thread, but will read with interest!

          2. k
            keslacye Jan 19, 2008 07:34 AM

            I have to second Streetside - it's definitely cozy and the food is great. No reservatons, though, so if you arrive after 6pm, you'll be standing for an hour in a crowd around the bar.

            Another nice place that recently opened is the Town Tavern in Royal Oak. It's a lot roomier than Streetside, and they also have fresh fish specials everyday as well as great comfort foods.

            If you're looking for something quieter, you could try Fiddleheads, also in Royal Oak but not downtown. Space is nicely minimal, food is a bit cerebral. It's a nice experience.

            1. b
              berkleybabe Jan 18, 2008 02:39 PM

              Concur on the Matt Prentice sites.

              Actually the Kingsley Inn (or whatever it's called now Radisson Kingsley or somesuch..where Great Lakes Grill is.) has a wonderful coffee shop. The best non-made-in-my-house corned beef hash I've ever had--and they don't rush you. Great breakfasts, good service. I think you'd love hanging out with good chow in a warm place for breakfast.

              There are now a bunch of high end places in Birmingham, Cameron's Steak House, Mitchell's Seafood, and there's always the pricey and upscale Townsend with its Grille if price is no object.

              There's also a small place on Maple between Old Woodward and Woodward, Maple Leaf Grill (I think that's right) that has great breakfast and lunches. Small, chef cooks everything with focus on local ingredients --haven't been but love the concept and the reviews have been great, also I think some posts here.

              1. x
                xman887 Jan 18, 2008 02:02 PM

                here is a couple of matt prentice places that may work:

                shiraz in bingham farms (in an office building but a nice room with good food) or northern lakes seafood (in a hotel, good food, but not cozy)

                http://www.mattprenticerg.com/urc/

                220 merrill or streetside seafood in birmingham (both used to be affiliated with b.h.g. when the owners were married).

                bacco on northwestern at 12 mile in southfield - one of the best places in the city. http://www.baccoristorante.com/

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