Tried The Fly Trap in Ferndale, MI
Went today and it needs to be said up front that I got my food as carry-out. This has to affect my perceptions a bit, since most food loses at least a *little* something when taken away.
The place was hopping around 2:30PM today, and there just wasn't a table to be had. Sure, I could have found a place at the counter, but the noise level was pretty high, and there was a pretty loud baby in the place. This latter problem is my key to hit the bricks with the food. I despise loud, squeally, crying, fill-in-your-own-noise-description-here children, unless they're served well-done, with a side of BBQ sauce. I placed my order and had to wait about 15 minutes for its preparation, during which time I took a pretty good look at the place.
It's...a bit dingy, or at least it appeared so today. Could be that things were just hopping so much that they were having a hard time keeping up, but things like the way the counter was constructed kind of turned me off. Still, they were pretty efficient about bussing tables quickly, and if things needed a bit of paint or what-not, they might be trying to use that it convey a "hip" image. It's not like the place was dirty, or otherwise unsanitary...actually, it seemed pretty clean. It just could use some sprucing up IMHO.
The service people (all women!) seemed knowledgeable and happy-to-oblige, like when I asked about Swat Sauce, for example. The server (this is the one who took my to-go order) was happy to provide me with a little container of the sauce to go, and of course I immediately opened it up and tried some on the spot. Potent! Not bad at all, and *just* this side of where I like my spiciness to be. Any hotter and I've have probably not enjoyed it nearly as much.
There were lots of brunch items on the menu (they call it "blunch"), and to be honest, only a couple of them truly appealed to me. To be fair, I was really hungry, and when I'm really hungry, I want a man-sized meal, which brunch usually isn't. There was a sandwich called The Cheapsteak, which was a ribeye steak sandwich with Fontina cheese, balsamic roasted onions on grilled sourdough with a grainy mustard. This sounded pretty good, but I was more than sandwich hungry, and this sandwich ended up being the most expensive thing on the menu ($10.95). Plus, having had a darned good ribeye the previous night, I thought I'd have something else.
I settled on what they call Fire-Breathing Dragon ($9.95): grilled chicken with chilled lo-mein noodles, sweet basil and a Sambal peanut sauce. It was pretty good, but I think it lost a part of its appeal in bringing it home. The hotness of the chicken dissipated a bit, and so the temperature change trying to be achieved really wasn't a part of the equation. It was also pretty small to my mind...I could easily have used another half dozen large bites of the noodles without a problem, and for $10, I think it's legit. The basil was oddly a non-entity: I could see it in there, but there was *no* basil flavor at all, on anything. I also would have liked to have seen some veggies in there, as well.
To sum up, while the taste of the Swat Sauce is certainly a winner, I wouldn't go back to Fly Trap when truly hungry again. It's not that it's a rip-off, but when I down a $10 entree and I'm wondering what else I've got in the house to eat, there's a bit of a discrepancy there, especially considering how cheap pasta is. The peanut sauce in conjunction with the cold noodles was good...there just needed to be more *of it*. I'm not unhappy, but here it is at 6:45PM, and I'm already starting to get really hungry again.
I wouldn't go out of your way to try it, but if you happen to be around the Ferndale area, then yes: give it a shot, *especially* if you're more into breakfast food than I am. Just don't go when you're famished...even the plates of other people that were being served looked pretty spartan to me.
I liked it for what it was, but when all's said and done, it won't be making itself a part of my regular rotation of places to eat at, at least not yet.