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woodward ave - royal oak, mi

i have lived in troy for the past 19 years and have eaten all over the city. yesterday i was driving on woodward and i got to thinking about a couple of places that i have driven by hundreds of times but have never tried. please share your thoughts on the following:

chicken shack - looks like a carry out/diner type place. big bright sign out front. around 5:30, the small lot had quite a few cars and there was about a dozen people visible through the wall of windows. obviously, they do chicken. is at good? do they do anything else?

pasquale's - giant italian place with a huge parking lot that their security guards will not let you use if you are going to walk over to duggan's. i have heard the pizza is good.

aspen - i have read reviews in the paper that say the food is surprisingly good for a bar.

onion roll - another diner-type place where i suspect sandwiches are featured.

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  1. I have eaten at that particular Chicken Shack, as well as others. No one would claim that it's high cuisine, but it's reasonable fast food. It's made to order--not left to sit around. I think it's broasted rather than fried--it's very juicy and comparatively non-greasy.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Jim M

      Agreed with Jim on Chicken Shack. I like it, but it is just that: basically fast food. And yes, the chicken is broasted. They do several other things, especially ribs, and I guess lots of people like the ribs, too, but it's not where I go when I want ribs.

      I'm not enamored with Pasquale's. I've eaten there maybe 4-5 times over the years, and to this day I don't understand the appeal of the place. It's well-attended, but the food is decidedly mediocre at best. *Don't* get veal there...it's an entire waste of money. To me, it's pretty low-end Italian for mid-scale-to-upper-scale prices. Being that the Detroit area is absolutely *littered* with tons of (often better) places for Italian, I vote thumbs-down here.

      Onion Roll is a place that I've never been personally, but have heard *nothing* but good things about. I guess I just can't get over the way the place looks or something.

      Not familiar with Aspen.

      A bit further up Woodward is Falaffel King, which is pretty good Middle Eastern for relatively cheap. I *love* their chicken shawarma sandwich for $4.19. It's a meal by itself, or darned near it. Nice people, too.

      Also up there is Mt. Chalet II, which, for a bar, has surprisingly good food, at least the few times I've been there. I am utterly *unimpressed* with their drinks (their Amaretto Sour is positively horrid, which they fully admit to), but the food is far better than typical bar fare. When I eat there, I'm happy I've done so.

      Oh, and Thai House Express is, bar none, the *worst* "Thai food" I have *ever* had the displeasure of ingesting. When I was done "eating" (I can count the number of bites I ate on one hand), I threw out the remaining 90+% of the "food" they served. Avoid this place like the freaking plague. It's an abomination, especially when you consider how many great Thai places there are around the area.

      Hope that helps!

      1. re: boagman

        chalet, aspen, skiing....bad mix up on my part. i meant mt. chalet and wrote aspen (an underwhelming place on hall road east of lakeside).

        1. re: xman887

          Heh. I can understand why you made the Aspen/Chalet dyslexia move. But yes: Mt. Chalet's food is better than you'd expect it to be, and they do offer a good deal more than standard bar fare. I'm not saying that you'll be blown away, but you may very well be pleasantly surprised by what they're offering, as well as how nicely they prepare it. Aside from whipped potatoes (which I should know well enough to avoid getting *anywhere* by now...), their food has always been enjoyable in my experiences there.

          It's funny that you should say that about Aspen. My impression of it is the same as yours, but two non-foodie friends of mine *really* like the place, because they're meat-'n'-taters people, and I guess they do that pretty well there. They'll make the drive up there from Hazel Park, and I think to myself: "You're joking, right? All that way? Must be some steak..."

          1. re: boagman

            Wow, Mt. Chalet is still around? My dad used to take me there for happy hour. FWIW, their clam strips were pretty good in 1988. Also, I was like 9.

            In Minnesota, restaurants are like mayflies. If someone recommends a place at 10am, you'd better get there before 5, or it'll be closed.

            I didn't think Pasquales was good, even as a kid.

            1. re: kevin47

              Bite your tongue. With the way things are around the country, but *especially* here in Michigan, places both good and bad are suffering to the point of having to close. We want the good ones to stick around, like Mt. Chalet.

              And you're dead-square-on about Pasquale's.

        2. re: boagman

          How is Siam Spicy? East side of Woodward near Webster, I think. Drive by all the time and heard good things from friends, but have never been. No offense to my friends, but I trust your opinion more than theirs. :)

          1. re: aliasrlm

            It's not bad. I've eaten there about 4 times or so, and haven't been turned off by it once. It certainly isn't my *first* choice for Thai, but it's a decent place that has one very important thing going for it: it's open on Sunday, which 99.999999% of other Thai places aren't, apparently. When you're dying for Thai on a Sunday, it'll work.

            A guy from my church swears by a certain dish of theirs, which I can't for the life of me remember at the moment. I'll have to ask him on Sunday and get back to you with it. When I've eaten there, I've been satisfied, but I'm much more into Pi's in Hazel Park or Sterling Heights.

            1. re: boagman

              Good to know. We still haven't been to Pi's, which is crazy considering it's probably not too far away (we're in Ferndale). Thanks again!

      2. I've eaten at Pasquale's at the request of family members many, many times. I've never cared for any of their pasta dishes, but the pepperoni they put on pizza is wonderful. Cheese and crust, not so much (yet better than the big chains). But the pepperoni itself is worth it.

        When the wife and kids ask me to go on a chicken run, I drive past KFC to get to Chicken Shack. Their potatoes have acquired a reputation, and I admit I can't resist them either.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dearborn barkis

          Now, see, when it comes to the KFC/Chicken Shack comparison, there just *is no way* to compare the two to me. I like both, but while they both involve deep frying (which is basically what "broasting" is), the taste of the two are just miles away from each other. Yes, they're both chicken, but they're just nothing like each other. I guess you really *can* chalk one up for the Colonel's recipe of 11 herbs and spices...and when you've got a taste for KFC, Chicken Shack won't cut it. When you've got a taste for Chicken Shack, KFC won't cut it.

          I will *fully* admit that the sides from Chicken Shack are better than KFC's, though.

          1. re: boagman

            Agreed. Both KFC and chicken shack broast which is a combination of deep frying and pressure cooking. The Colonel gets the credit for being the original. In spite of not being a big fan of corproate chains/franchising It's hard to deny the temptation of KFC every now and then.
            Chicken Shack is straight fried chicken with out the herbs and spices. I enjoy both but neither will substitute for the other.
            There is a Chicken Shack on 23 mile in New Baltimore and one in downtown Rochester as well (A block West of Main on University).
            I never understood the attraction of Pasquales but I don't blame them at all for not letting Duggans patrons utilize their parking.

        2. If you are just looking for some flame-broiled chicken try a little place tucked into a strip mall just north of Shrine, called YaYa's. I've been going there for years and when all I want is some good tasting, not fried, chicken with salad or on top of lettuce, that's the place.

          5 Replies
          1. re: grouper

            Dis-a-freaking-gree. I *hate* YaYa's wimpy little pieces of chicken meat, and I keep waiting and waiting for the day that the place finally dies for lack of business. If you want overpriced, tiny, and pretty tasteless pieces of chicken served by idiots, then yes: by all means, eat at YaYa's. Just don't say you weren't warned.

            1. re: boagman

              Sorry, I never get the chicken pieces as I always get the shredded chicken salad. Which is better than most as there is no mayo involved. The YaYa's in the Flint area where they started usually have a pretty good following.

              1. re: grouper

                Ah. Fair enough, as I honestly can't speak to the chicken salad. It may very well be good...I just haven't had nor gazed upon it. I'm rather surprised there's no mayo...what do they use to "bind" it together? Or is it just dry?

                Avoid for a chicken dinner, though...hideously small chicken at exorbitant rates.

                1. re: boagman

                  The chicken is shredded and relies upon the taste from the flame-broiling. They also provide a dressing that comes in low-fat, that I think is yogurt based. When you just want something that's not too heavy, but provides some lettuce and protein, it's the place to go. For years I loved their chicken noodle soup which I thought wasn't bad for take-out,,,,then I found Nino's chicken nooode. So much like my own I can fool myself!!

              2. re: boagman

                Wow!
                I absolutely love Yaya's chicken.
                I agree it is pricey, but the grilled, marinated chicken is awesome in my book.
                I have never had Chicken Shack, but I would certainly NEVER choose KFC over YaYa's.

            2. I'm a Chicken Shack fan, if the chicken is hot. We've gotten it a couple of times where it has either sat for a bit or was just not correctly cooked and was sitting in a pool of nasty grease. The potatoes and coleslaw also are excellent. When I worked in Troy I would get chicken from T-Birds on occasion and it's similar to that.

              I've been warned away from Pasquales--"Franco American Italian"--so have never been.

              Onion Roll makes a decent sandwich, but I prefer Bread Basket or Samuel Hoffmans in Clawson.

              1. Pasquales is 80s italian heavy red sauce nothing to write home about.
                Onion Roll - Not a diner it's pastrami and corned beef mostly with some other choices. Was good one time I went and ok another time.