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Looking for recommendations for Troy/Auburn Hills

I will be in the Detroit area on business the week of Feb 23. We will be staying at the Embassy Suites on Tower Road in Troy. Are there any good non-chain restaurants you can recommend in that area? I lived on the West side (Canton) back in the early 90''s but didn't get to Troy/Auburn Hills much except for the occasional Piston's game or concert at the Palace.

We will be in Ferndale working most days. I have heard good things about the Starving Artist restaurant. Yay or Nay? And The Blue Nile Experience looks good for Ethiopian, which I love, I'm not sure about the colleagues that will be with me. Maybe a good choice for lunch?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Hmm. Blue Nile is enjoyable, at least to me. I've enjoyed my time there. I can't attest to its authenicity since I've never been to Africa, but their food is good and the experience and ambience enjoyable.

    For other meals in Ferndale, I might recommend Toast for breakfast and The Fly Trap as well for other meals.

    1. If you want an asian meal, try Mon Jin Lau in Troy (15 mile/Maple & Stephenson). Good food, great wine list.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Markcron

        I 2nd Mon Jin Lau. My bf, who lives in the area, took me to this restaurant this summer when I was visiting and I fell in love. We can't get decent Chinese food in DC, but Mon Jin Lau is delicious. There is a really tasty green bean dish. I haven't had the sushi but the other dishes I had were great.

      2. Modern Food & Spirits in Keego Harbor:

        An eclectic menu and the kitchen turns out fine dining fare at a very fair price. For a
        small operation, they have a terrific stock of liquors, wines & beers ... all priced very
        fairly. Frankly; this is my new favorite.


        If your tastes are limited to italian/pasta; consider Pasta Fagoili:


        If you want italian (only) fine dining; Lelli's seldom disappoints:


        If you're looking for a crab/fish house; consider Fran O'Briens:


        1. If you like Japanese, Nobana is close to your hotel at Crooks and I75. I used to work in the area and remember it to be decent.

          Also a Kerbys Coney Island in the same plaza and a Bagel Factory (and a Starbucks).

          Charleys Crab in the Hilton (same intersection) is good for seafood, on the formal side.

          For excellent pizza in Troy, Alibi on Rochester Road, hands down.

          I also like Camp Ticonderoga on Rochester, if only for the novelty of the "gamey" menu (actually I do like their food and decor, very up north). Who doesn't want an "I eat my roadkill" bumper sticker??

          In Ferndale, I recommend AGAINST the Indian place (Star of India)--everything tastes alike. WAB on Woodward is good for a bar lunch. Agree with Boagman on Toast/Fly Trap. And I know some who love Como's but I think it's kind of meh.

          Pinwheel Bakery on Nine Mile is excellent for a little sweet something to take back to the hotel for later!

          1. I'll second Charlies Crab as it is an icon but it has aged. It's also only a few blocks from your hotel. For Seafood you may also want to consider Ocean Prime on the Corner of 16 & Coolidge.
            I will also gladly second Mon Jin Lau which is at 15 & Stevenson so a a little drive but not bad at all (10 minutes). They have been voted restaurant of the year in the past by Hour magazine.
            Noble fish for Sushi carry out. While it is in Clawson it is an easy fairly straight drive South from the Embassy Suites.
            For Pizza I would suggest Kruse & Muer in the Meadowbrook outdoor mall at Adams & Walton (Rochester Hills). There is also the Kruse & Muer on Wilshilre very near your hotel.
            For steak I really enjoy Shulas in the Troy Marriot on 16 mile. You will also find a Mortons and Ruth's Chris steakhouse nearby. Theese are all a very easy drive from your hotel as well as a plethora of others on 16 mile (Big Beaver) between Rochester Road and the Sommerset mall including The Capital Grille in the mall.
            Larcos chophouse (Italian) is also on 16 mile.
            If you require coffee or tea in the am you will find a Starbucks straight across Crooks as you exit the service drive to your hotel.





            1. This is all in my backyard! I agree with most of the suggestions already given. Kerby's across the street from your hotel, is perfect for a quick breakfast,etc., the place is run very efficiently so you never wait.
              Alibi on Rochester Rd has great pizza and lots of salads, sandwiches, etc.
              Charlie's Crab is getting a little long in the tooth, but still a nice place to eat.
              Kruse and Muer is a local chain and just ok in my opinion...would prefer Charlie's Crab there's an affiliation with the two.
              Ocean Prime is a chain and is packed nightly, so I would get reservations if going.
              All of the above are within 5 minutes of your hotel.

              I would also agree with The Fly Trap on Woodward, great food and was highlighted on the food network. Small place but great menu.
              Toast used to be a lot better, but they now have a place in Birmingham and IMO it's not as good.
              Assagi on 9 Mile is good and I've had the best Cosmo ever there.
              You could also stop in Royal Oak on your way back walk around Main St and find lots of places to eat that are not chains.

              I'm sure you'll have no problem finding Chow worthy food in the area. Let us know where you ended up and how you liked it.

              1. If you need a quick bagel in the morning in Ferndale, swing by the New York Bagel on Woodward, north of 9 mile. They have fantastic, fresh bagels and equally delicious cream cheese. (I love the chive cream cheese - yum.)

                6 Replies
                1. re: aliasrlm

                  Tower Road to 9 mile in morning rush hour is an insanely long way to go for a bagel!

                  1. re: Jim M

                    Especially since there is a bagel shop across the street from the hotel, next to Starbucks. I think it's called the Bagel Factory. Small local place.

                    1. re: grouper

                      IIR there's an Elaine's bagel shop just north of 16 mile on the West side of Crooks as well.

                      1. re: Fritter

                        I think that might be an Einstein, but there is an Elaine's north of 16 on Rochester Rd.

                    2. re: Jim M

                      I apologize. I thought the OP said he'd be in Ferndale working most days.

                      1. re: aliasrlm

                        No apology necessary aliasrlm. We will be in Ferndale everyday and you had me at the chive cream cheese! Fresh bagels sounds much better than breakfast at Embassy Suites. I've already bookmarked the location to check out. Thanks for the tip!

                        PS: I'm a she :-)

                  2. Thank you all for the suggestions. I've gotten more information for the week and it looks like we may have only 2 or 3 nights to go to restaurants of our choosing. I got an email from the head guy's assistant saying there would be a dinner with the clients one night. She said "it's a really good Italian restaurant, you'll love it, here's the website" It's Carabba's! Aarrgh! But I'm the consultant on this project so I really can't say too much. Luckily I've worked with one of the people on many projects and he loves good food as much as I do so hopefully we will be able to try some of your suggestions. I've bookmarked all the websites. Thank you again!

                    Coney, when we lived in West Michigan we dined at Charley's Crab in Grand Rapids quite often. We've since moved to Denver so if our group does end up at Charley's, it would be a nice trip down memory lane!

                    I will let you know where we end up dining!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Squint

                      o.m.G. Carraba's for a CLIENT meeting? Make up some ridiculous excuse why you can't go to Carraba's and then suggest Lelli's as another Italian place you could go.

                      1. re: charlesbois

                        I know!! And this is where the client requested to go! I have appealed to one of the other people on the audit team (my friend who is a foodie) to see if he can intervene. I've told him about Lelli's after getting the recommendation here.

                        In all fairness, there are a couple of items at Carraba's I order when I have to eat there that are OK. But why, when you are surrounded with great restaurants, would you want to go to a chain where people wait for up to 2 hours for a table? At least it's not Olive Garden :-) I foresee my friend and I eating as little as possible and heading somewhere else for some good food!

                        Thanks for the sympathy!

                        1. re: Squint

                          Thanks again to all of you for the great suggestions. Some many good restaurants, so little time!

                          Here is a synopsis of what I ate in Detroit:

                          On Monday night we went to Larco's on Big Beaver. Excellent martini's in the bar. To go along with our cocktails we ordered the mussel's. They arrived somewhat lukewarm to our disappointment. We flagged down the bartender and she took them away. A new order arrived shortly, steaming and were excellent. For dinner I had a special, Chilean Sea Bass with Shrimp and Scallops in a lobster red pepper sauce. Very good. One of my co-workers had the lobster ravioli, which he said was good and the other diner ordered NY Strip steak (you will see a theme here!) We enjoyed the ambiance of this restaurant very much.

                          Tuesday morning when we arrived at our clients they had Paczkis from Hamtramek waiting for us. I hadn't had a paczkis since moving from Detroit in 1993 (the ones in Holland, Mi didn't count, just not the same). When asked if we preferred bagels or doughnuts for the rest of the week, I mentioned that New York Bagel had been recommended. For the rest of the week we had wonderful bagels with chive cream cheese. Score!

                          Tuesday night we had dinner at the Rochester Chop House. I showed the guys the menus from the Chop House and Kruse and Muer and they both voted for the Chop House. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the Chop House offers a Prix Fixe menu for $24.95. I chose this and had Crab & Lobster Cakes for a starter, Caesar Salad, Filet with Boursin cheese and Portobello mushrooms and a mixed berry cobbler. They had several choices in each category and was a huge amount of food even though our waiter told me the portions were small. Each course was very good. Our waiter also recommended wine pairings for each course. When I couldn't decide on a red to go with the steak, he brought out several choices for me to taste test. One of my dining companions had lobster and steak and the other had a NY Strip (plain baked potato, no green vegetable).

                          Wednesday night we went to dinner with our client at Carraba's in Sterling Heights. Nope, we couldn't change their minds on the restaurant. It was...dinner. The Calamari Ricardo was a good starter along with a bottle of Peroni. I had my usual when I have to go to Carraba's, Chicken Bryan with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. My food co-worker had the grilled salmon and steak boy had...steak...plain.

                          Thursday night we went to downtown Detroit and had dinner at Roast. I was very excited to dine there as I have never had a chance to dine at a Michael Symon restaurant. It did not disappoint. For starters we shared, well 2 of us shared, the Beef Cheek Pierogies and the Charcutterie. Wonderful! I had the Braised Lamb Shank, so good. My food friend ordered the Wild Boar Rack and steak boy ordered...um...strip steak. We shared several sides, well 2 of us, Bacon Creamed Corn, Whipped Potatoes (steak boy did eat these) and Shaved Zucchini & Almonds. The restaurant was beautiful and it was interesting to see the "Beast of the Day" roasting on the spit!

                          We also stopped in at the Pinwheel Bakery on Wednesday after work and picked up some mini-Bumpy cakes!! They were our reward for after dinner at Carraba's!

                          All in all, it was a very successful trip dining wise. Hopefully, during next year's audit, we'll be able to try some of the other recommendations!

                          1. re: Squint

                            I'm very glad to hear you came up to Rochester and tried The Rochester Chop House. They have been around a long time and with good reason.

                            1. re: Squint

                              Thanks for reporting back. You did make it to some great places and I'm glad you enjoyed them.

                              1. re: grouper

                                Condolences about the Carraba's dinner. It sounds like in general you did good in the D, though!

                                I'm very glad you reported on the Chop House. I've never been but would like to try it sometime. The prix fixe sounds like a good way to go.

                                1. re: coney with everything

                                  I hope you have a chance to try the Chop House. I really enjoyed dining there. I thought the prix fixe meal was a great value. The dining room was about 80% full so I'm sure it brings in a lot of traffic midweek.

                                  I have to admit, after living in Colorado for the last 2 years, it was strange to be in restaurants with smoking areas. Although none of them had an overwhelming odor of smoke, you could tell as you walked in the door. I think The Chop House had smoking only in the bar as the dining room seemed to be smoke free.

                                  And of course pot-hole season on the roads definitely let me know I was back in MI!! It was nice to be back in the Mitten State :-)