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2010 Detroit Auto Show - Looking for local rec's

Hoover13 Jan 13, 2010 11:34 AM

Hello, I'm coming out to Detroit (for the first time ) for an entire WEEK for the Auto Show. I'd appreciate any info on the can't miss spots Downtown (near Cobo), but also some other areas that I could easily cab to. I'm also at a loss, but know I need to find some Middle Eastern, Mexican and Greek restaurants (for which I hear there are many?).

On my list so far:
- Coney Island Hot Dogs (both of them!)
- Miller's Bar (burger)
- Sweet Loraine's
- Roast
- Rattlesnake
- Tom's Oyster Bar

Questionable:
- Slow's BBQ
- Noble Fish (high yelp)
- Polish Village Cafe

Again, I'm there for a whole week and I'm open to trying as many local (or touristy), off the beaten path, odd ball, eclectic, modern or retro places as possible during my time there.

Thank you in advance!

  1. a
    ashdetroit Apr 30, 2010 11:59 PM

    My Detroit faves:
    Mosaic (if you can make a reservation, wonderful food and atmosphere with Mediterranean influences)
    For Mexican, take a cab out to Mexicantown. My favorites are Los Galanes (casual), Senor Lopez Taqueria and El Comal. Farther out in Novi, Rojo Mexican Bistro has really come a long way, reliable upscale Mexican food.
    Cheap Middle Eastern in Detroit: Byblos on Palmer in Midtown.
    Off your original list, I don't think I'd bother with Tom's Oyster Bar or Sweet Lorraine's. There's better or more imaginative food for the price.
    Clawson is home to two great new restaurants, Da Nang (Vietnamese, more upscale than the usual pho house) and Due Venti.
    Assaggi Bistro and Josephine Creperie in Ferndale are supposed to be great.
    La Petit Zinc in Corktown if the sun's shining, or a pizza from Motor City Brewing Works in Midtown.
    Go to Cliff Bell's at night, even if you don't eat there. :)

    -----
    El Comal Restaurant
    3456 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48216

    Corktown Bar
    109 Elm Ave, Munising, MI 49862

    Tom's Oyster Bar
    6870 N Rochester Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48306

    Rojo Mexican Bistro
    44375 twelve mile road, novi, MI 48377

    Sweet Lorraine's Cafe & Bar
    333 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

    1. d
      detroitklaus Jan 31, 2010 10:16 AM

      Hoover 13 and others - I live in Detroit and frequent Slows often. While it is busy and there are waits at peak hours, the staff is always very nice and the food is worth the wait. Also, It seems like there is some confusion about the hours. Kitchen closes on 10pm on Sunday, 12 on Fri/Sat and 11 the rest of the week. It is categorically unfair to expect service after the kitchen closes, and frankly a little strange that you would take it so personally. revenge? okay whatever. Slows is the best. Sorry you missed out.

      13 Replies
      1. re: detroitklaus
        g
        gooddog Jan 31, 2010 10:48 AM

        How could there NOT be some confusion, since it appears there is no way to know when the kitchen closes without actually going to the restaurant, at which point you may be out of luck. They need to update their website ASAP with accurate information.

        1. re: detroitklaus
          b
          boagman Jan 31, 2010 10:53 AM

          You're playing a little fast and loose with the facts, though, aren't you? Read the Slows website and tell me *anywhere* that the "Kitchen Closes at XXXX" hours are posted. The operating hours are right there on the home page, easy-as-pie to see. If the kitchen closes significantly before that (and I'd venture to say that four stinking *hours* on a busy Auto Show weekend before posted close time is pretty significant), that's information that's pretty pertinent to have on the website. No? I wouldn't call that "confusion"...I'd call that a problem with the facility itself. Since there's not even anything on the DOOR OF THE RESTAURANT which indicates when the kitchen closes, either...it doesn't sound like he's asking too much.

          I'm afraid that you're very, very much in the minority in regards to the staff, or at least with the service level they provide the vast majority of the time. Shoot, detroitklaus...Slows was written up in an article about places that are *known* for their atrocious service. Most of my servers, when it comes to being "very nice" (your words, not mine), haven't been. Have they had a perfunctory attitude? I guess...but even with this ambivalent attitude that they usually have, getting refills on drinks, or bottles of BBQ sauce, or informing them of a problem with food, or *whatever*, is usually difficult in the extreme.

          I'm glad you like it. I don't *hate* the place, but make no mistake whatsoever: I have little tolerance for a place, high end or not, that thinks so highly of itself that it believes it can get away with anything it darned well pleases, treat its customers any old way they want, not address lousy service issues, and generally treat people like cattle. Slows is becoming such a place, and it's readily apparent that many others are taking note of this as well.

          Again: they're not the only kid on the block anymore.

          1. re: detroitklaus
            rainsux Jan 31, 2010 12:49 PM

            > the staff is always very nice

            Pffft.

            > and the food is worth the wait.

            Uh, no. It can be very good, but there is NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for
            the waitstaff and whoever is organizing how the kitchen get the orders out.

            Slow's would be one hell of a place to open a proper restaurant.

            1. re: rainsux
              x
              xman887 Feb 1, 2010 09:21 PM

              i went to slow's for lunch today and kept this thread in mind. i have been there at least a dozen times, usually for lunch, and like most, enjoy the food and experience mediocre to poor service.

              11:30 - picked up in front of my building. went early to beat the rush

              11:40 - three of us arive at slows

              11:41 - guy at the door says the wait will be about 10 minutes - off to a good start because there have been times standing at the front desk for 5 minutes before being acknowledged. one thing - smile dude. act like you are happy people are coming in to pay your hourly wage.

              11:43 - about ten to twelve more people come in. looks like we got here in the nick of time.

              11:50 - still waiting for a table. standing next to booth #1 cuz there is nowhere else to stand. i am sure the people sitting there enjoyed looking at our backs.

              12:00 - still waiting. not a word from the host, who is walking around and picking up menus, looking a bit tired, put out, and disinterested.

              12:02 - six people behind us get seated. ok, maybe they had a reservation. it's smokey in here.

              12:05 - notice that two guys sitting at a four top have been done eating and are just hanging out. turn the table already.

              12:07 - see that three ladies sitting at the table in the front window are paying - we are close.

              12:10 - host calls our name and gives us an option - smoking or non-smoking. we take non. he drops us at our table, leaves menus, and disappears.

              12:13 - waitress comes up, says she will be right with us.

              12:15 - waitress returns. apologizes for the delay because she was taking an order at a large table - it wasn't a big delay, but nice to know she realized we waited a minute or two. we are ready to order. drinks, sandwiches, and a salad. my friend says she would like cornbread. waitress say that she is not sure that it is done yet, but will check.

              12:17 - drinks show up. not bad.

              12:25 - fresh pepsis and lemonade show up to replace empty glasses without asking for them - we are onto something.

              12:30 - waitress returns with food. friend asks about the cornbread. she says, "oh, we don't have any." ok - how about some texas toast. c'mon, sell something, lady.

              12:55 - plates cleared by a bus.

              12:56 - witress drops off check. first time we have seen her since she dropped off the food. did she know we got everything we ordered or that everything was prepared well along the way? no "how was everything" inquiry. takes credit card.

              1:00 - returns with credit card. i don't recall if she said "thanks," "come again," or anything. we sign and leave.

              i had the longhorn - brisket on texas toast with onions and gouda, side of slaw, and side of black eyed peas. sandwich was great (i like their brisket better than their pulled pork - and i am a huge fan of shoulder). peas were good with a shot of spicy sauce - okra is a nice touch. slaw was just ok. how about some salt on the table?

              so, like most of my experiences at slows, the food was a solid b/b+ and the service was a c-/d+. not terrible, just minimal service with a side of indifference.

              will we go back? probably. but next time, we are going to mudgie's.

              tomorrow - lobster bisque at the d.a.c.

              1. re: xman887
                JanPrimus Feb 2, 2010 07:17 AM

                As for the service at Mudgie's....Always spot on.

                1. Greg the owner will come out and talk to you just to be friendly!
                2. He is always seeking request from his customers for soups.
                3. He reviews Yelp and Chow to see how they are doing.
                4. The soups and sandwiches of the day are on Facebook/Twitter every day.
                5. Loyalty cards (10 sandwiches will get you a free one).
                6. The waitstaff are very attentive to your needs.
                7. A watering dish for dogs outside of the restaurant.
                8. Free samples (he gave me a quart of Calder's Egg Nog once).
                9. Rock, Paper, Scissors discount of 10%.
                10. Greg once comped a meal for me because something happened that would alter most peoples pleasant experience at a meal. This was something the restaurant had zero control over and was completely innocent of. He refused to take my money that day. Although I did leave a very hefty tip because I thought Greg was actually going too far. :)

                In essence...they have demonstrated to me that they care about peoples experience in every aspect that they can touch. They have earned my loyalty before we ever even talk about the food.

                Screw it...I am going to Mudgie's right now.

                1. re: JanPrimus
                  v
                  vtombrown Feb 2, 2010 07:48 PM

                  In follow up to my Slows Saturday post---
                  I separately wrote the head chef, the GM and the other main business partner asking them for a response regarding the bad experience had by Hoover13. I've not yet received any reply, and at this point I figure I'm not going to get one. (not that I deserve a reply...but I wanted to try to contact them before I bad-mouthed them)
                  Indeed, I agree that their website is VERY misleading, regarding the closing time. Given that nobody lives/works near Slows, who would want to got out of their way to get a generic drink there, unless good food simultaneously was being served?? Anyway, enough time wasted on that place.

                  1. re: JanPrimus
                    JanPrimus Feb 3, 2010 04:47 AM

                    As for a follow up to my Mudgie's Experience...

                    Free Cookies for my son and extra pickles for me....didn't even have to ask. Greg just knows I am a pickle fan!

                  2. re: xman887
                    b
                    boagman Feb 2, 2010 08:57 PM

                    xman, I'd probably have been breathing fire by the time they actually seated me. Sounds to me like you actually had adequate service from your server (though typcial that she disappeared and never returned), but the host (if, indeed, you can call him that) was evidence supreme of what the continuing problem with this place is, and what it's becoming.

                    They may be the hot shot on the block right now...but this kind of crappy treatment doesn't go unnoticed, nor unfactored in future dining decisions. I'm not inclined to return at the moment, nor anytime soon.

                    1. re: boagman
                      v
                      vtombrown Feb 3, 2010 06:34 PM

                      PS---I guess I spoke to soon when I said that I had recounted, to the Slow's management, the experience of Hoover13, and that they had no response. Their head chef Brian Perrone DID write me a nice letter stating that he appreciated the feedback and that he is striving, with his partners, to do more to prevent these kind of lapses in respectful service. (He didn't challenge any of the assertions...of course, I left out the part about Hoover13 promising revenge!).
                      Brian provided his contact info (but I'll just state their website where it's also contained--www.slowsbarbq.com), and said that if I have any way of communicating with Hoover13, I should ask Hoover13 to contact Brian, and give him a chance to rectify the situation. That may not be realistic, given that Hoover13 lives in California and probably comes here only once per year at most. But, as I said, the letter seemed very genuine and nice.

                      1. re: vtombrown
                        Hoover13 Apr 23, 2010 02:21 PM

                        WOW (!!!) I had no idea I started such a commotion! I must say 'revenge' was said in good humor (while certainly not the best choice in words), but I do think the experience speaks for itself (and I will share it with others when asked). It wasn’t even so much that the restaurant was closed (contrary to their website) but it was the general attitude I received from the staff that did it for me. It was almost as if they got a kick outta not serving me, like they enjoyed it. I'd like to say that perhaps I took it too personal, but the fact that this has never happened to me before makes me think otherwise.

                        Ok, enough with that! Moving on to bigger and better things... I actually plan on being in Michigan several times over the coming months (for work) and will be making my first trip back, part of a two week stay, this coming weekend! I'm a bit further out this time though in Brooklyn, MI where the Michigan International Speedway is located.

                        I'd love to get any rec's for Brooklyn and the surrounding areas and also for the other, larger, communities nearby (Ann Arbor, Chelsea, etc.). I’ll be working pretty crazy hours so I’ll be somewhat limited for long distance excursions during the week, but it’s game on over the weekends. I will have car too BTW.

                        If anyone has anything for me, please let me know.

                        Thanks and sorry for continuing to slaughter the spelling of ‘Mudgie’s’, guy's!

                        1. re: Hoover13
                          v
                          vtombrown Apr 23, 2010 06:25 PM

                          Welcome back Hoover13!
                          We are very proud to host food bloggers such as yourself, and if you would be so kind as to indulge us, please start a fresh topic and let the good times ROLL. You will get some premium leads from the Ann Arbor / West side gang. If I might preemptively add (even though I'm an East side guy), there is a sure-thing near you right on Brooklyn Rd.--- www.westexbbq.com. Their smoked meats are respected by aficianados, if maybe not perfect. You will get a big kick out of this joint. Hours are limited, and they don't have a liquor license (BYOB in a McD cup?), but this place will leave you with a great little memory from your trip, and it is unlike most anything from L.A..
                          PS--If you want to give Slows another chance, I think they might comp your meal, to set things right, assuming you are a forgiving kind of guy. Post if you're interested; but, it would be understandable if you wished to just move on. Make time for some Dearborn Middle Eastern food. L.A. has supreme Persian places....Detroit's Lebanese/Arab scene, though, similarly is unmatched. Have a great trip.

                          1. re: vtombrown
                            Hoover13 Apr 25, 2010 05:23 AM

                            AH yes, let me start a new thread. Thanks very much for the BBQ suggestion - sounds great. There are hours are indeed LIMITED, but I'll make it work.

                            Yes, your right about LA's Middle Eastern and I've heard similarly of Dearborn as well. Will def. get over this time around.

                            I’ve had a hard time finding places out here so far (one night) hoping to do some location scouting today…

                            Thanks again.

                      2. re: boagman
                        Hoover13 Apr 25, 2010 05:53 AM

                        Boagman,

                        I'm back (but in a different area this time). Help! : )

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7037...

                        Thanks for all your advice on my last trip...hope you are well.

                2. Hoover13 Jan 27, 2010 01:55 PM

                  Made it back home! I just wanted to take a minute and thank everyone for all of your suggestions and help during my travels in Detroit. I had a wonderful time and experienced several great meals during my stay.

                  In response to some late posts, sadly, no, I was not able to try any of the Middle Eastern cuisine that I originally planned on! And on the pizza front I had to settle on Nikki's as I was scrambling for time and needed to catch some deep-dish. I liked it, but I know there is better out there and I was bummed I could not find the time. I'll have to save these for my next visit.

                  SLOW'S. Ugh, bastards! When looking them up online I read that they were open until 2 AM. So I took my sweet time watching the NFL playoff game and did not arrive to Slow's until 10:03 PM where I was then informed that they closed the kitchen at 10PM. I pleaded with the staff to give me whatever they had in the back as I had traveled a great distance and it was my last night, but to no avail. To be honest, I understand they closed 3 minutes earlier, but I thought this was really poor restaurant etiquette on their part (especially since the bar was open for several more hours - it's not like the servers had to rush home). To make it worse, I sat outside in the freezing cold, for what seemed like hours, waiting for a taxi to come and I could see the staff inside getting a good laugh at the California boy. I'm not sure how or when, but I will get my revenge!

                  I have to say my favorite meals during my stay came from the Detroit old timers'. Polish Village, Miller's Bar and Lafayette were all incredibly unique culinary experiences for me and ones I won't soon forget. I have to place Mudgy's in this category too (though not an institution). It's places like this that help me remember my travels and why I liked a certain locale. You should be proud of these spots but also help your up and coming restaurants reach such success.

                  Thanks again everyone, and please feel free to reach out to me when you visit LA.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Hoover13
                    b
                    boagman Jan 27, 2010 10:03 PM

                    Whoa! I never knew that the kitchen at Slows closes at 10PM! Since when? I stinking *know* I've been there after 11PM and been served at least once. I need to keep this in mind for the future. Thanks for taking the hit for the team on that one, Hoover13. Unfortunately, Slows is really starting to agitate me with regard to their service level. Here's a case where they could *very easily* have done something for you and endeared you to them, but instead, they chose to refuse it, and...that's beginning to seem rather typical behavior for them. My feelings are starting to turn a bit on them, since there's a plethora of other really good BBQ places in this area...they just aren't downtown.

                    Glad you had some great meals here! I know you'll be remembering them fondly.

                    1. re: Hoover13
                      m
                      mrfinewine Jan 28, 2010 11:02 AM

                      See my non-comment above: "I'll hold my tongue on Slow's."

                      Darn, shoulda woulda coulda and all, but you were tantalizingly close to the Telway at that point....

                      Glad you enjoyed your stay. See you at the Smoke House in Burbank!

                      M

                      1. re: Hoover13
                        JanPrimus Jan 28, 2010 11:17 AM

                        :) Again...that spelling is Mudgie's! :)

                        1. re: Hoover13
                          r
                          RedTop Jan 28, 2010 12:37 PM

                          I'm not rushing back to Slow's. My only visit there I chose the Brisket. The Slow's website said it was a pound of beef. NOT.

                          1. re: RedTop
                            JanPrimus Jan 28, 2010 12:40 PM

                            Last time I went the portion was WAY down from last time. My neighbor I took said next time we can drive right by Slow's and go to Lazybones.

                            Slow's taste good....but it is starting to taste not good enough to deal with the bullshit.

                            1. re: JanPrimus
                              r
                              RedTop Jan 28, 2010 02:19 PM

                              Indeed!

                              Every restaurant I frequent regularly is about "grateful you're here. Thanks."

                              Restaurants in SE MI who are full of themselves will soon be shuttered.

                              Tourists cannot keep a restaurant operating. Need loyal locals!

                              1. re: JanPrimus
                                v
                                vtombrown Jan 29, 2010 07:02 PM

                                Sometimes, when you have a crowd, you just have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise you never can close. And, serving others, after having already turned down those in front of them, would be bad news. While this could have been the case, I'm inclined to assume (trust that) Hoover13 got an unjustified shaft, here. I'll try to contact the Slows business partners "Brian" and "Phillip," and see if either of them wishes to explain/apologize. If they tell me to piss-off, then I'll complete my post with a few more (bad) words, about this kind of crappy, arrogant (ironic?) hospitality.

                                1. re: vtombrown
                                  b
                                  boagman Jan 29, 2010 11:01 PM

                                  Even if they were "justified" in doing this with a new-to-apparently-everyone policy of the kitchen closing at 10PM, the website does have them as being open until 2AM every night of the week. To me, and most other people, I would assume that food service would be available until midnight, at the earliest.

                                  I mean, shoot: Redcoat Tavern stays open until 2AM every night of the week that they're open for business, and their kitchen is open until 1:40AM each of those nights. As well, *their* kitchen has to serve most of their fare piping hot off a grill, or out of a fryer, or what-have-you. A pulled pork sandwich is nothing even *remotely* taxing on a kitchen.

                                  No one understands more than I do the fact that people want to go home at the end of the day. It's categorically unfair to waltz into a restaurant (*ANY* restaurant) at 10 minutes to closing and expect full service off the menu.

                                  Still, their website says they close at 2AM, and there's nothing denoting that the kitchen closes earlier than that, much less four *hours* earlier. Add to that the staff getting a *kick* out of the situation...that doesn't bode well in any case.

                                  1. re: boagman
                                    JanPrimus Jan 30, 2010 06:24 AM

                                    "It's categorically unfair to waltz into a restaurant (*ANY* restaurant) at 10 minutes to closing and expect full service off the menu."

                                    How I come I keep spotting you going into 'Inn Season Cafe" at 5 minutes till close then? :)

                                    1. re: JanPrimus
                                      b
                                      boagman Feb 2, 2010 08:53 PM

                                      JP, I've tried a couple of times to respond to this post with my typical gallows humor, and each time I've tried, I knew I'd be crossing the line. Just wanted to let you know that I did see this post of yours, and smiled due to its wryness. Good one. ;)

                          2. Hoover13 Jan 23, 2010 12:40 PM

                            Loved, loved, loved the Polish Village Cafe last night! Excellent. Sat at the bar and ordered various Polish beers, the Polish Sampler plate (with a side of the delicious dill pickle soup), and then a bison grass vodka w/ apple juice for dessert. These are the kind of places we lack in California...I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm already craving a return visit. I walked down and had an after dinner drink at The Whiskey Jar afterwards. The Anthony Bourdain 'filmed here' sign hanging out side of Polonia cracked me up! At the end of the night I met up with some friends at Michael Mina's "Bourbon Steak' at the MGM. It was very modern and had what appeared to be a nice menu but I could not stomach another bite of food. A bit too sterile in there for my tastes.
                            As expected, I really enjoyed Miller's Bar today at lunch. So simple but so damn good that we had to order another burger and split it once we finished our own. The meat was excellent, a thick patty cooked perfectly. On a consistency level (bun, cheese, meat combo) this will go down as a top ten burger for me. The fries and onion rings however left something to be desired (it's a burger bar though so no complaints here).
                            Was thinking of heading over to Windsor tonight. Please let me know if you have any suggestions because as of now I have nothing...Thanks!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Hoover13
                              rainsux Jan 23, 2010 01:32 PM

                              Windsor?

                              For something a bit different, consider Blue Danube. It is a Hungarian restaurant. Say,
                              "Hey!" to Zola. (Or is it Zora? I hate it when my half-heimers acts up.)

                              Otherwise; for a "real" Canadian meal, visit Tim Horton's for a cup of coffee and a glazed,
                              jelly donut. <g>

                              1. re: rainsux
                                tokyo Jan 24, 2010 05:30 AM

                                Hoover, did you make it to Blue Danube? I really enjoy that place. And I think it is Zola...

                                1. re: tokyo
                                  Hoover13 Jan 24, 2010 06:42 AM

                                  No, I ended up getting out of the Auto show late last night and was exhausted. I made a second trip to 24 Grille (inside of the Westin hotel) which I am now no longer backing (I previously said I rec'd this place). Ran into the same problems I had on my first trip and the crowd in there was just awful last night. Service was a nightmare and my salad was a disaster though I have to admit I enjoyed the Tuna Tartare appetizer. Tonight is my last night. I'm thinking deep dish Pizza for lunch and Slow's for dinner (still have not had BBQ).

                                  1. re: Hoover13
                                    tokyo Jan 24, 2010 10:47 AM

                                    Have you had any Middle Eastern cuisine on your trip? If not, it really is a strong part of Detroit food culture. IMO, it would be worth skipping Slow's to try the local ME fare, particularly if you are able to make it out to Dearborn. I like Slow's, but I doubt it's ability to add to your Detroit experience. (As previously mentioned on this board, service there is notoriously poor.) Then again, you might just be in the mood for 'que, in which case, Middle Eastern won't cut it! And Slow's does have an impressive beer menu.

                                    1. re: Hoover13
                                      b
                                      boagman Jan 24, 2010 01:26 PM

                                      Oh...I'm probably a day late on this, but if you're wanting Detroit-style, deep dish pizza, you need, need, *need* to get to Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park. I had computer problems last night (supposedly resolved for the time being), so I didn't get to see this until now. Loui's is nothing shy of the best pizza I've ever had. Please tell me you were able to go.

                                      Enjoy the 'cue at Slows. The wait for a table? The service? Perhaps the crowd? Maybe not as much...but the meat is really well done.

                                      Hope you enjoyed the food here! We're fat for a reason! ;)

                                      1. re: Hoover13
                                        v
                                        vtombrown Jan 26, 2010 07:15 PM

                                        Hoover13, Thanks for the reports. It's been a pleasure having you in our city. Hope you come back next year, and we'll try not to throw "everything but the kitchen sink" at you next time. Cheers.

                                2. m
                                  mrfinewine Jan 22, 2010 09:44 AM

                                  IT'S FRIDAY. YOU *MUST* GO TO THE IVANHOE, A.K.A. THE POLISH YACHT CLUB, FOR AN EARLY DINNER TONIGHT!!!

                                  Sorry to scream, but it's the only night they serve dinner, and it's a unique Detroit experience: good, solid Polish food (get the perch or the walleye, a keilbasa appetizer, and beer!) in an old bar that is literally the only building still standing on its entire square block. Nature is reclaiming the land around it....I'll hold my tongue on Slow's.

                                  DO IT!!! Skip Noble Fish, which is a wonderful place for Detroit but wouldn't stand out among 500 similar or better spots if it were picked up and dropped in L.A....

                                  Red Coat Tavern, Loui's Pizza, Betty Ross II for breakfast (these three are all kind of a hike from downtown), the Telway, the Middle Eastern places mentioned by others, maybe the Hygrade for breakfast (salami and eggs!!)...these are the places that ought to be on your radar.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: mrfinewine
                                    Hoover13 Jan 22, 2010 10:57 AM

                                    Wooh, mrfinewine where did you come from all of a sudden?!

                                    I'm worried that I won't be able to make it to IVANHOE in time for dinner tonight (they close so early!). But, if I did, would I be able to find a solo seat at the bar? If I can't make it in time what's the better call for lunch...IVANHOE or Polish Village Cafe?

                                    thanks!

                                    1. re: Hoover13
                                      m
                                      mrfinewine Jan 22, 2010 11:12 AM

                                      Yes, you ought to be able to find a seat at the bar. It's a very friendly place; I'm sure they'll accommodate you. Polish Village is cool, but the Ivanhoe is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime, only-in-Detroit experience. I've never had lunch there, though. If you go, don't walk there! Take a taxi.

                                      1. re: Hoover13
                                        m
                                        mrfinewine Jan 22, 2010 11:17 AM

                                        Sorry I appeared so suddenly; I hadn't been here in quite a while....Oh, another thing that I'm going to scream, though it's off topic: DON'T LEAVE DETROIT WITHOUT A VISIT TO THE ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING GUARDIAN BUILDING, THE MOST SPECTACULAR SKYSCRAPER IN THE WORLD, INSIDE AND OUT. It's smack dab downtown.

                                        1. re: mrfinewine
                                          j
                                          Jim M Jan 22, 2010 01:39 PM

                                          Coffee counter in there is good, too! It's the big orange 1920s skyscraper on Griswold.

                                    2. Hoover13 Jan 22, 2010 07:02 AM

                                      Ended up going to Sala Thai the other night. It was good (I really liked the building it's in), but I have to say that I'm very spoiled by the excellent Thai choices we have in LA.

                                      LOVED Lafayette Coney Island! The service was excellent, the dogs/fries were delicious and the ambiance/interior was perfect. IMHO this place deserves all the hype and is everything a local institution should be. When I asked if I could buy a T-shirt they told me I have to come back at night...are they messing with me?! I really don't want to leave without one.

                                      Also, wanted to point out that I gambled last night and ate at a place that nobody here seemed to recommend. Although it was not a total success the gamble paid off...24 Grille (which is also inside of the Westin Hotel). Sure it’s expensive (luckily I'm on an expense account), the service can be flimsy and my chicken was small (not to mention a tad bit dry) but overall I liked this place. It's has a beautiful bar with a great selection, an interesting menu (including options I have not yet seen here in Detroit) and tasted very fresh/healthy which is exactly what I needed after my double feature at Lafayette. I'd suggest you all check it out sometime.

                                      Heading over to Slow's BBQ tonight...

                                      1. Hoover13 Jan 20, 2010 01:20 PM

                                        Thanks again everyone. Just an update that I'm in town now and have some solid meals. My favorite so far being today's lunch at Mugsy's (great atmosphere, service and sandwiches). Also checked out Roast, Eph's (which yes is still open but under new management) and Fishbones (went for work dinner and was not a fan).

                                        Looking forward to checking many of your suggestions off my list before heading back home on Monday. Will update.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: Hoover13
                                          JanPrimus Jan 20, 2010 01:46 PM

                                          I bet you meant Mudgie's Deli...anyways glad you liked it.

                                          Did I mention they have some great Gluten Free options? :)

                                          1. re: JanPrimus
                                            Hoover13 Jan 20, 2010 03:09 PM

                                            Wooops, I did, sorry... Mudgie's!

                                            I don't do Gluten-Free though :)

                                            Also a solid lunch at Sweet Loraine's.

                                            Feeling like Asian food tonight (close to hotel). Oslo is on my radar but seems to be getting some really mixed reviews..

                                            1. re: Hoover13
                                              JanPrimus Jan 20, 2010 03:18 PM

                                              Sala Thai is in Eastern Market and is pretty good. That or Shangra La at Wayne State university should do the trick. I have not been to Oslo since the the new management and menu surfaced, so I will reserve judgment.

                                              http://www.salathai.us/
                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/shangri-la-mi...

                                              1. re: JanPrimus
                                                j
                                                Jim M Jan 20, 2010 07:23 PM

                                                It's Shangri La. Been hearing good things about this place, on Cass near WSU (one block west of Woodward). For Asian downtown, try the sushi bar in the Doubletree Hotel on Lafayette. Expensive but good.

                                                1. re: Jim M
                                                  d
                                                  downriver1 Jan 21, 2010 05:11 AM

                                                  Sushi bar at Doubletree has been closed for some time now. If fact they dont even serve in the "restaurant" portion anymore, just in the round bar. There is an Asian restaurant in the Millender Center that is not bad at all. Newer sushi place called Wasabi is by the DIA and is pretty darn good as well.

                                                  1. re: downriver1
                                                    j
                                                    Jim M Jan 21, 2010 05:30 AM

                                                    Yes, I meant the round bar area--is that sushi chef not in there anymore? He's very good. Agreed on Wasabi--great hwe dup bab with a raw quail egg on top. No liquor, however--I'm not a super drinker, but sushi and beer seem made for each other.

                                                    1. re: downriver1
                                                      JanPrimus Jan 21, 2010 08:24 AM

                                                      Finn & Porter Restaurant is no longer serving Sushi? I just drove past there yesterday and F&P is still open...did they just kill Sushi off the Detroit menu and keep it on the other chains?

                                                    2. re: Jim M
                                                      JanPrimus Jan 21, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                      Yes. Jim....I suck at spelling :)

                                                      1. re: JanPrimus
                                                        d
                                                        downriver1 Jan 22, 2010 06:33 AM

                                                        To the best of my knowledge, no more sushi; I believe Molly had a blurb about it in last weeks paper. They are just serving food in the round bar now due to no business to support the "restaurant" area.

                                              2. re: Hoover13
                                                b
                                                boagman Jan 20, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                Ugh. Fishbones. I could have *easily* steered you clear of that place, had I known it was a possibility. Sorry you had to experience it.

                                                Detroit's Asian offerings are rather few-and-far-between. I've not been to Oslo since it "reappeared", so I can't say anything about it. For good Asian, I'd tell you to head to the suburbs, such as the aforementioned Noble Fish.

                                                Glad that Sweet Lorraine's was solid for you.

                                              3. coney with everything Jan 20, 2010 03:55 AM

                                                Hoover, take a look at the Perch thread on this board--lake perch is a real treat!

                                                1. rainsux Jan 16, 2010 01:28 AM

                                                  For breakfast or lunch, consider The Fly Trap in Ferndale; Woodward Ave, just north of Nine
                                                  Mile Road. It was featured on DDD ...very tasty food.

                                                  1. c
                                                    Coconuts Jan 15, 2010 09:32 PM

                                                    Whatever ME place you choose, be sure to get the baklava! It's not the gooey stuff you get everywhere else- it's crispy and buttery with lots of pistachios. I think one bakery supplies most places here- at least, it tastes the same everywhere I've tried it here

                                                    1. Hoover13 Jan 15, 2010 04:54 AM

                                                      Detroit , thank u for all the info and attention to detail! It's very much appreciated. To clarify, no, I won't have a car, but am willing to travel *reasonable distances via taxi if the food warrants the trip. While fine cuisine is more than welcome, YES (as someone asks) I am absolutely looking for other under the radar, not so pretty, Old school places as well. I wanna eat where u would take your foodie friends if they came into town and wanted to try the best local spots.. I'm coming from LA, but don't hold that against me cause I drink like I'm from Lambeau Field. :) thanks again!!

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Hoover13
                                                        j
                                                        Jim M Jan 15, 2010 05:44 AM

                                                        Yeah, then I'd say forget the Mexican and Asian places. The situation is improving, but good here is average in CA. Roast is a new fine-dining project by a leading Midwest restaurateur--you'll like it. A cab to Dearborn for Middle Eastern and/or Hamtramck for Polish would also give you a meal distinctive to our area. Note that most Middle Eastern places don't serve alcohol, although La Pita apparently does.

                                                        1. re: Jim M
                                                          JanPrimus Jan 15, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                          I would echo what Jim has said and add one more category for you to add on to your list. Deli's!
                                                          http://food.theatlantic.com/behind-the-counter/the-search-for-real-rye-bread.php

                                                          Maybe the closest Deli that you will find to Downtown that I would highly recommend is Mudgie's - http://www.mudgiesdeli.com/
                                                          They also have STELLAR soups! The Northwest Suburbs have some of the best Deli's in the nation.

                                                          If you are interested in making the trip out past Detroit proper...

                                                          Stage Deli - www.thestagedeli.com
                                                          Plaza Deli - www.mattprenticerg.com/urc/plazadeli.asp
                                                          Deli Unique - www.mattprenticerg.com/urc/plazadeli.asp
                                                          Steve's Deli - www.stevesdeli.com

                                                          1. re: JanPrimus
                                                            x
                                                            xman887 Jan 16, 2010 10:49 AM

                                                            eph mcnally's - downtown on woodward just north of congress. look for the big pickle hanging on the front of the store. full blown deli w/ decent corned beef and pastrami.

                                                            1. re: xman887
                                                              j
                                                              Jim M Jan 16, 2010 11:43 AM

                                                              It's closed. It's being made into a wine shop by Foran's Grand Trunk next door--which is also a pleasant place to go for a sandwich and a beer.

                                                              1. re: Jim M
                                                                x
                                                                xman887 Jan 17, 2010 10:07 AM

                                                                when did it close? i just had a corned beef sandwich there two weeks ago.

                                                                1. re: xman887
                                                                  j
                                                                  Jim M Jan 17, 2010 11:13 AM

                                                                  Hmmm ... I may have spoken too soon. They were going to close and remodel, but maybe it's still open. Here's the scoop:

                                                                  http://detroityes.com/mb/showthread.p...

                                                                  1. re: Jim M
                                                                    JanPrimus Jan 17, 2010 02:09 PM

                                                                    I was at a after hours party at the Bohemian National Home on Tillman less than 2 months ago and it looked like nothing had been done towards any type of food establishment. We got raided by Detroit's Finest that night. No fun....

                                                                    It barely had electricity...I think if the owners are going to do anything with it...it would be more venue related for bands/DJ's and nothing to do with food.

                                                                    As for the Wine Rumor...Motor City Wines
                                                                    http://detroit.metromix.com/bars-and-...

                                                                    1. re: Jim M
                                                                      x
                                                                      xman887 Jan 19, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                      after reading this, i remebered thinking, "where are the jars of pickles," when i was there.

                                                        2. c
                                                          chowchowbrowncow Jan 14, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                          Ate at Roast a few weeks ago. Great atmosphere and food, but I prefer the Coach Insignia at the top of the Ren Cen.

                                                          Greektown is easy to via the People Mover. My favorite has always been Pegasus. Greektown casino is there also if you like to do a little gambling.

                                                          If you don't have a car, personally I wouldn't cab it to Miller's. They're good, but not cab fare good.

                                                          For Polish food in Hamtramck, I much prefer Polonia's,

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: chowchowbrowncow
                                                            v
                                                            vtombrown Jan 14, 2010 06:10 PM

                                                            As CCBC alludes, Hoover13 doesn't give us much info regarding how far he/she is willing/able to travel, nor from where he/she hails. I've not bothered to visit Roast or Rattlesnake, but I'll comment that the only reason why I think Miller's, Sweet Loraine's,
                                                            Tom's Oyster Bar or Noble Fish are decent, is because they don't have much competition. Hoover13--if you are from, say, SanFrancisco, then don't proceed to these places with high expectations.
                                                            On the upbeat side, I'll reaffirm that Coney Dogs, Lebanese* and Polish (downtrodden PolishVillageCafe or Polonia) are "musts" for fun. If you really need Mexican, go to nearby Mi Pueblo ('hood is a bit unattractive), and for Japanese, travel the long distance to Novi's Ajishin if possible. *I like New Yasmeen Bakery / deli, at 13900 W. Warren Ave, near the popular Al Ameer (see post above) and Cedarland. For a fun side trip to the far northern burbs, go to Clarkston's "The Clarkston Union" which is an oyster bar in a converted village church. Finally, if you've not yet left your home, then I'll suggest that you bring your passport with you to Detroit, so that you may cross the tunnel to Windsor, Canada for a fun eve. Cheers!!

                                                            1. re: vtombrown
                                                              x
                                                              xman887 Jan 14, 2010 06:34 PM

                                                              i second the suggestions for coney's (lafayette), roma cafe and suppino's pizza in eastern market, polonia and polish village in hamtramck, and new yasmeen and al ameer (is this the place that bourdain went to on no reservations?) in dearborn. other place to check out downtown:
                                                              vicente's (by compuware building - cuban)
                                                              bucharest (behind the fox - shwarma)
                                                              checker bar (congress east of woodward - burgers)
                                                              motor city brewing company (2nd & canfield just south of wayne state - micro brew) old shillelagh (greektown - irish bar for harp & guiness & irish bar songs)

                                                              1. re: xman887
                                                                w
                                                                worldwarz Jan 15, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                                Yes Al-Ameer is where Bourdain visited.

                                                                As for Motor City Brewery we used to order kegs of Ghetto Blaster from there all the time.

                                                                http://www.motorcitybeer.com/

                                                          2. tokyo Jan 14, 2010 05:57 AM

                                                            Since you will be there for a whole week, breakfast, lunch, & dinner... Here are a couple of others. Supino's Pizza in Eastern Market and Mudgie's Deli in Corktown.
                                                            www.supinopizza.com
                                                            www.mudgiesdeli.com
                                                            Here are a few links to previously mentioned places:
                                                            www.romacafe.com
                                                            www.giovannisristorante.com
                                                            www.mosaic-detroit.com
                                                            www.lapitafresh.com

                                                            1. coney with everything Jan 14, 2010 03:58 AM

                                                              That's a LOTTA auto show--I went Monday for press days and my feet still hurt!

                                                              We took the People Mover to Greektown for dinner, ate at New Parthenon (family style) and I was completely unimpressed except for the excellent lamb chops. Stick with that or gyros if you do end up in Greektown, then Astoria Pastry Shop for dessert.

                                                              In Mexicantown I like Los Galanes.

                                                              I don't know from experience, but the two locations of Good Girls go to Paris creperies inevitably get good press.

                                                              And I LOVE Russell St Deli near Eastern Market for breakfast (lunch looks good too but haven't tried it--Sy Ginsberg corned beef is the BEST!!) They might seat you at a table with strangers, so be forwarned, but the food and atmosphere are worth it.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: coney with everything
                                                                j
                                                                Jim M Jan 14, 2010 06:18 AM

                                                                The downtown walk-up Good Girls Go to Paris is closed for the winter. The one by the museum on Woodward is open. They deliver exactly what they promise--decent crepes, both savory and dessert. It gets written up all over the place not because it's an amazing crepe, but because the owner, a Detroiter who lived in Paris, is so much the kind of entrepreneur (or entrepreneuse) we need around here.

                                                                Mudgie's in Corktown is a great place for a big sandwich.

                                                              2. b
                                                                boagman Jan 13, 2010 12:14 PM

                                                                There's some good places on your list. I'm not a fan of the coney, but I can guarantee that they're certainly a Detroit institution.

                                                                Some of the following comments depend on whether you have available transportation, and how far you're willing to travel.

                                                                Miller's Bar: great burger (though my last time there was somewhat disappointing), with very long waits, and it really isn't cheap, either. Go for the great burger, and don't expect anything good in terms of service.

                                                                Sweet Lorraine's: for me, it's been far more good than bad. On the times they miss, they really miss, but never for bad service. Sometimes an entree just doesn't come together right, and it is what it is. They've been in business for quite a while, though, and with good reason.

                                                                Roast: I stinking *love* their Cocktail Hour. You will, too, *if* you can find a seat at the bar, which isn't going to be easy. The word about Cocktail Hour is now out, and it does gangbusters business during this time. A great way to get your feet wet with the place.

                                                                Rattlesnake: I was there within the last two months, and it was good, but not great. Service was terrific, as is the view, but the food was just okay.

                                                                Tom's Oyster Bar: I have nothing against it...but I honestly don't understand the draw of it. I haven't been to any of their locations in years, and don't foresee going there. There's far better, IMHO.

                                                                Slows BBQ: *Great* meat/cue, somewhat marginal/up-in-the-air sides, TERRIBLE service, and very, very, very long waits to get a table. Kind of a crapshoot, that way. Did I mention the terrible service?

                                                                Noble Fish: It's quite a drive from downtown, but I'd still recommend you go. Very authentic, very fresh, very small. I'd highly recommend the spicy shrimp (salad?) roll ($7.25), the shrimp tempura roll (which couldn't be more different), the eel...oh heck. You really can't go very wrong here.

                                                                Polish Village: dirt cheap, absolutely fantastic. Don't deny yourself the dill pickle soup, the Hungarian pancake, the pork chops...just about anything pork, actually. Hard-to-find, worth the trip.

                                                                And now, for a couple of my own:

                                                                Iridescence in the Motor City Casino hotel: for a special splurge, this would be a great idea. I cannot tell you in words how greatly surprised I was by the place. Perhaps a bit disorganized, yes, but the food really shone.

                                                                Redcoat Tavern: another great burger place, but they do a lot of things good here, other than just the burger. Very crowded, but you can call ahead with your name and party size to be put on the list, and I'd *highly* recommend that you do just that if you decide to go.

                                                                Loui's Pizza: simply the best pizza I've ever eaten in my life. The Unbeaten Champion for good reason.

                                                                There. That should get you started. Enjoy! :)

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: boagman
                                                                  j
                                                                  Jim M Jan 13, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                                  Middle Eastern: Best is in the Dearborn area. Good small one in Detroit is La Pita on Cass at Wayne State University; Boagman and others have recently recommended the Dearborn location. Really most of them are good, and cheap to boot.

                                                                  Mexican: String of places on Bagley just west of I-75. You'll have company there. I like El Comal on Vernor (one block north of Bagley), which is pan-Central American. For Mexican, a bit farther away but a short cab ride, there's El Barzón at Michigan and Junction.

                                                                  Greek: Greektown is on Monroe on the east side of downtown, east of Brush. To me the restaurants are similar and neither good nor bad. There's a more upscale Mediterranean place there called Mosaic--haven't tried it, but I've heard it's good.

                                                                  I like Slows, but it's going to be REALLY crowded for the auto show.

                                                                  In the city itself, there are three real old-school Italian places, running anywhere from good to great on a given night. All can handle large crowds. Mario's on Second, Roma Cafe in Eastern Market (cab driver should know how to find it), and Giovanni's way out on S. Oakwood on the far southwest side.

                                                                  1. re: Jim M
                                                                    b
                                                                    boagman Jan 13, 2010 09:02 PM

                                                                    Yes, La Pita. I was so over-the-moon about this place, and still am. I absolutely loved the food, the service, and the total experience. I *will* be back. And it's completely true that the Detroit (specifically the Dearborn area) will offer the best Middle Eastern cuisine you'll find outside of the Middle East itself. Where the people are, that's where the good food will be.

                                                                    I'm not as well-versed on the Mexicantown destinations as others around here, so I'll leave it to them to keep you up-to-date.

                                                                    Jim's absol-stinking-lutely right about the crowds at Slows, though...they're bad enough when there's nothing else going on, but Slows' reputation is pretty far-and-wide now. Out-of-towners almost always want to go there, and it'll be brutally crowded for the whole of the Auto Show, with everyone being downtown.

                                                                    And Giovanni's still makes their pasta every single day...the grandmother comes in to do it, still.

                                                                    1. re: boagman
                                                                      w
                                                                      worldwarz Jan 14, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                                      Growing up in Dearborn I would have to recomend Al-Ameer as the best Middle-eastern restraunt in the city. The food at Al-Ameer just seems to have a better overall flavor. La Pita is good, but I find the service lacking most of the time.

                                                                      The main problem with the Dearborn Al-Ameer is getting there. Warren Ave. reminds me of driving in the Middle-east, traffic randomly stopping, turning, disregarding basic traffic laws. But comming from the downtown area should not be bad.

                                                                      http://www.alameerrestaurant.com/inde...

                                                                      1. re: worldwarz
                                                                        JanPrimus Jan 14, 2010 10:55 AM

                                                                        I use Al-Ameer (Ford Road Location) as my every day middle eastern location but there are better places with better service and just as good of food. La Pita has been generally been getting very good marks for Service and Food. It sounds like you have not had a good experience but...I say go ahead and retry.

                                                                        Another place that I just love but I have not seen anyone else here that has tried it is http://amanilebaneserestaurant.com/

                                                                  2. re: boagman
                                                                    uhockey Jan 13, 2010 04:57 PM

                                                                    I really enjoyed my meal at Iridescence, as well - the food and the view are excellent.

                                                                    1. re: boagman
                                                                      tokyo Jan 14, 2010 06:18 PM

                                                                      Hoover, since you mentioned local, are you interested in trying Detroit-style deep dish pizza? It would be akin to your coney quest, in that it isn't gourmet by any stretch, but it's the kind of guilty pleasure that locals indulge in all over metro Detroit. Loui's, mentioned by boagman above, seems to be at the top of the list as far as 'best Detroit-style' pizza, but if you can't make it out to Hazel Park, there is the 'original' Buddy's Pizza in Detroit proper. Both Loui's and Cloverleaf (also in the 'burbs) have ties to the original Buddy's Detroit pizza, and Buddy's itself has sold and become a local chain. Still a good representation of the Detroit style. Here is a link if you're interested:
                                                                      http://www.buddyspizza.com/buddys.htm

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