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SE Michigan: Have we talked French Onion Soup?

JanPrimus Jan 25, 2010 08:12 AM

I have a few foods that I am always seeking the best of.. Chicken Wings, A Reuben and French Onion Soup. That might end up being my Death Row meal if I ever have my way with a few political commentators.

Anyways...the French onion is one that I always seem to have 1/3'rd problem with and 2/3's happiness with. Each Third being the the Soup, the Cheese and the Under Crust. I guess I could add the vessel that they are served in...but I will stick to ingredients today.

Where are your favorites?

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  1. c
    charlesbois RE: JanPrimus Jan 25, 2010 11:32 AM

    The Earle in Ann Arbor. trust.

    2 Replies
    1. re: charlesbois
      JanPrimus RE: charlesbois Jan 25, 2010 11:58 AM

      Hmmmmm,,, Cassoulet on the menu too! I have never ventured there before....looks like fun!

      1. re: JanPrimus
        charlesbois RE: JanPrimus Jan 25, 2010 12:30 PM

        know what's really awesome about the Earle? Happy hour. Lots of deals to be had. Check out their wine bar menu and website for tips on prices, etc.

    2. r
      RedTop RE: JanPrimus Jan 26, 2010 03:04 AM

      Mr. Paul's on Groesbeck in Roseville. Sublime.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RedTop
        JanPrimus RE: RedTop Jan 26, 2010 08:56 AM

        Wow I actually have not been out to this place since about 1992-93. I really do not remember the food that night.

        I only remember what the girl I was dating at that time proposed. It was something suggestive that made my night, week, month and year...ahhhh the good times from back in my youth! I might have to go back for more than one reason! Sorry you had to hear that....

        1. re: JanPrimus
          RedTop RE: JanPrimus Jan 26, 2010 11:58 AM


        2. re: RedTop
          goatgolfer RE: RedTop Jan 13, 2011 05:42 PM

          This thread put the thread of FO soup into me. Went to Mr. Paul's today for lunch. Very nostalgic in the supper club sort of way. The soup was beef stock with Kitchen bouquet, some sliced onions and rye croutons with pseudo-gruyere melted on top in a v-shaped soup bowly thing. My FO soup hasn't been satiated but Sylvia Rector's review in the freep today will get me to Luxe in B'aham soon. Still on the hunt. Mr. Paul's wasn't it for me.

        3. a
          amandaqtpie RE: JanPrimus Jan 27, 2010 07:39 PM

          Elmhurst in Dearborn. I can't tell you why it will be good to you, but I love it because they take their time with it, it's amazingly rich, and it's served piping hot.

          1. v
            vniemo RE: JanPrimus Feb 5, 2010 09:46 AM

            I enjoy the French Onion at Elmhurst, but prefer the French Onion at Richters Chalet on Michigan Ave. in Dearborn.

            1. rainsux RE: JanPrimus Dec 28, 2010 01:07 PM

              In the best-Detroit thread, The Oxford Inn was mentioned for French Onion soup.

              I have mixed emotions about the physical site ... as it happens to be the scene of one of my
              youthful "crimes." I don't recall the name of the prior establishment, but the ownership (and
              ROPD) asked (insisted) that we never return. It wasn't "me," it was "her." Honest! Hint: Don't plan a break-up outing with a too infrequently medicated manic-depressive, paranoid that has
              unresolved jealousy issues ... for a public place where there are things that can be thrown. But
              I digress ...

              I arrived ~12:50PM and found only two tables in the dining room occupied.

              The service was prompt, attentive & effective. The french onion soup was hot and quite good,
              but not so hot that I risked scalding myself. If craving FOS and I am in the area, I will return.

              The only downsides were a very wobbly table and WiFi that was a hopeless mess. I'm getting
              to the point that if I'm dining alone, I want WiFi.

              11 Replies
              1. re: rainsux
                donbui82 RE: rainsux Dec 30, 2010 11:50 PM

                I'll have to give Oxford inn a try. I had dinner there once on many strong recommendations about their ribs, and I left severely disappointed.

                How do you guys like your soup? Thin and watery? Or more thick with some viscosity? I prefer mine watery with lots of gruyere cheese melted on top. No swiss or mozzarella please.

                Best french onion soup I've found in SE-Mi is Capital Grille. Hard to justify its steep $7 entry price though.


                Capital Grille
                2800 W Big Beaver Rd, Troy, MI 48084

                1. re: donbui82
                  rainsux RE: donbui82 Dec 31, 2010 01:53 AM


                  Oxford Inn's FOS trends towards the thin/watery. Their cheese may be a disappointment
                  for you. It is not a thick stringy layer. Rather, it is a thin, slightly crisp'd layer ... and since
                  you mentioned it, it MIGHT have been melted/crisped swiss. Set your expectations to "Low."

                  1. re: rainsux
                    goatgolfer RE: rainsux Jan 28, 2011 10:25 AM

                    With my FO soup at the Oxford Inn expectations set to low I ventured forward. I haven't been inside before but the Oxford out supper club's Mr. Paul's by a long way. The FO soup was sweet and almost vegetal rather than beefy. Not very warm and the cheese lid was swissy rather than gruyereish (not nutty at all). One more off the list but not very satisfying.

                2. re: rainsux
                  jjspw RE: rainsux Jan 1, 2011 05:54 PM

                  LOL @ your youthful "crime", rainsux! Reminds me of stories my husband has told about getting "banned for life" TWICE from Ted's Pub in Clawson (now Moose Winooski's bar).

                  I'm going to check out Oxford for the French Onion now... sounds so good on these winter days! :-)

                  Moose Winooski's
                  38 S Main St, Clawson, MI 48017

                  1. re: jjspw
                    JanPrimus RE: jjspw Jan 2, 2011 04:23 AM

                    My banning was from the Box Bar in Plymouth. Let us never speak up it again...

                    Of course after a year or two I was back.

                    1. re: JanPrimus
                      luckytobeme RE: JanPrimus Jan 2, 2011 03:27 PM

                      best onion soup in michigan ?

                      win schulers in marshall ~~

                      1. re: luckytobeme
                        rainsux RE: luckytobeme Jan 3, 2011 03:21 AM


                        1. re: rainsux
                          schaf1 RE: rainsux Jan 3, 2011 01:06 PM

                          Pardon me rainsux, what does +1 mean when you post it after another post.?
                          Thank you.

                          1. re: schaf1
                            rainsux RE: schaf1 Jan 3, 2011 03:08 PM

                            I agree.

                            1. re: rainsux
                              JanPrimus RE: rainsux Jan 3, 2011 04:03 PM


                            2. re: schaf1
                              tokyo RE: schaf1 Jan 3, 2011 04:35 PM

                              Me too. ;)

                  2. b
                    berkleybabe RE: JanPrimus Jan 3, 2011 05:27 PM

                    The one I make at home.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: berkleybabe
                      amandaqtpie RE: berkleybabe Jan 3, 2011 09:03 PM

                      Really? Recipe, please. No teasing on here.

                      1. re: amandaqtpie
                        Markcron RE: amandaqtpie Jan 4, 2011 12:58 PM

                        The best I have made at home was by following Thomas Keller's recipe from The French Laundry cookbook (and not the one in Fenton that the internet magic auto-linked). You can probably get this by googling it, or better yet, borrow the book from the library (what I did). It starts with a Veal Stock that literally takes 2 days (and you'll have to find a source for veal bones - got mine at Snook's/Colasanti's in Milford). Once you have the stock, the onions are cooked at a very very low temp for hours.

                        As far as the best I have had in a restaurant, unfortunately, the restaurant is now closed. It was at the Clarkston Cafe (circa 2008-09), which is now the Woodshop ,and I do not believe the onion soup is still on the menu

                        French Laundry
                        125 W Shiawassee Ave, Fenton, MI 48430

                        1. re: amandaqtpie
                          Rosedale RE: amandaqtpie Jan 9, 2011 05:49 PM

                          I've been passing Tyler Florence's French Onion Soup off as my own for years. Here's the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

                          Many times you can pick up beef stock/broth at Schoolcraft Culinary Arts' takeout counter. You all knew about the takeout counter, right?

                          1. re: amandaqtpie
                            berkleybabe RE: amandaqtpie Feb 12, 2011 11:17 AM

                            This is pretty simple -- to start, I don't even try and make my own stock. When I want FOS I want it today, now several days from now.

                            Start with 3-4 LARGE Spanish onions. Slice thin (on mandolin is best). You should have a big pile. Melt a combo of butter and oiive oil in soup pot, pile onions in and start sauteeing. You can start with a medium high heat, but turn down -- let them brown. This maybe take up to 30 minutes. Sprinkle the caramelized pile with a T or two of flour -- cook for a couple minutes. Then, add one asepctic carton of beef broth (I use Trader Joe's), one of low sodium chicken broth (ditto) and at least a cup and a half of dry white wine. Throw in 4 bay leaves, add pepper (no salt yet.) Let simmer till it looks like soup. Taste for seasoning. If it gets dry while cooking toss in extra wine. I top with a toasted crouton with Parm or Swiss grated and melted on top. Not a fan of all that gooey-ness. Very satisfying and always good -- you can tinker to your taste. Just don't scrimp on the onions OR the wine --- I've found it's almost a 1:1:1 ratio of both broths to wine. Let me know how it comes out.

                          2. re: berkleybabe
                            trapani RE: berkleybabe Jan 4, 2011 07:09 PM

                            This discussion inspired me to make FO Soup at home for New Year's Eve. I made Mark Bittman's from How to Cook Everything. It was pretty simple and soul-warming.

                          3. JanPrimus RE: JanPrimus Jan 13, 2011 06:57 AM


                            Must try soon....

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JanPrimus
                              goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Jan 14, 2011 11:24 AM

                              So, I went to Luxe for lunch today. I have tried a couple of times before but the parking was dense. Today, there were a few spots but the place was full and folks waiting (~5 mins) for tables. I ordered the FO soup. I have had the Wisconsin version which is a cheese lid welding the crock shut with some onions and broth to moisten the bowl and the Parisian version, flavorful broth, sweet carmelized onions and gruyere on a crouton slab. Luxe serves the Parisian version for $5 in a proper crock and it was awesome.

                              Crunchy (sweet) onion shards on top are a bit difficult to get in the broth and your mouth but when you do it's worth the effort. Fantastic way to start the party. The cheese is melted on the crouton slab rather than covering the mouth of the crock so you can get at the well seasoned beefy/onion broth. Significant but measured onions in the body and at the last spoonful you have had all the proportions in equal measure.

                              Other than the time to make it at home I could do this (and have) but for a happening scene, pretty B'ham crowd and $5 I may forget how to make FO.

                              BTW: It was really, really good.

                            2. x
                              xman887 RE: JanPrimus Jan 13, 2011 07:20 AM

                              slightly off topic, i had a had a bowl of swiss onion soup that i enjoyed - nice sweet onion flavor - at moro's in allen park.

                              1. t
                                Tripper RE: JanPrimus Jan 14, 2011 03:06 PM

                                Sorry...to mention a place no longer...Twingo's near Wayne State had the best French Onion soup ever!

                                1. Yodieann RE: JanPrimus Jan 20, 2011 10:49 AM

                                  The best french onion soup ever!!!

                                  Mitchell Street Pub
                                  426 E Mitchell St, Petoskey, MI 49770

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Yodieann
                                    momskitchen RE: Yodieann Jan 23, 2011 04:01 PM

                                    +1 Mitchell Street Pub....totally forgot until you mentioned it.

                                  2. g
                                    goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Jan 26, 2011 11:52 AM

                                    Tried Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds on Kercheval GPF for lunch. The French Onion soup was the cheese welded to the cup version and was just okay. Broth was very Lipton-ish and scant onions.

                                    Meatloaf en croute with cabernet sauce was very pleasant and the steamed vegetables came with japanese sesame seed pepper (very very good). Overall not necessarily worth the drive but cozy and friendly. Right next to the Hill resto so it's a tossup.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: goatgolfer
                                      boagman RE: goatgolfer Jan 26, 2011 01:04 PM

                                      Hmm. LITSWD got a pretty shoddy review by Slaughter (not a joke) of the Metro Times this week. She wasn't kind to the French Onion soup (which wouldn't matter a whit to me), but I think that she said that same meatloaf was pretty lousy, especially as a result of being too dense. Sounds like she might be wrong. Again.

                                      Problem with me is that every time I'm going to be eating in the GP area, I can't resist Bambu. I loves me some Brandon Kahlich food!

                                      75 Kercheval Ave, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

                                      1. re: boagman
                                        goatgolfer RE: boagman Jan 28, 2011 10:27 AM

                                        It was the Metrotimes review that got me going to Lucy. I had read previous reports on Bambu and didn't know its proximity. It's on the list for next week. I chose my dishes and reviewed them. Obviously we are each entitled to our own opinions. What a great country.

                                        75 Kercheval Ave, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

                                    2. jjspw RE: JanPrimus Jan 29, 2011 09:07 PM

                                      Tallulah in Birmingham is offering a french onion soup as one of the first course options for the first week of B'ham Restaurant week (Jan 31-Feb 4, 2011).

                                      1. g
                                        goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Feb 11, 2011 09:50 AM

                                        Lunch at Parrot Cove today. Prime rib review is in the PR thread but a bowl of French Onion came with the meal. First taste impression was minerally but the second slurp was much better. It has a "different'' profile than I could place but not bad just slightly different. The cheese raft was very well done and the onions themselves were succulent. The broth/onion/cheese bite was very well balanced. The waitress was very proud of the chef's Mountain Jack background and brought it up several times. At $2.95/bowl al a carte it was pretty darn good.

                                        I am still voting for Luxe in B'ham but it's nice to see more FO when it's below freezing.

                                        Parrot Cove
                                        33475 Dequindre Rd, Troy, MI 48083

                                        1. g
                                          goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Feb 14, 2011 01:54 PM

                                          Went to Sugarbush tavern on 21 mile just east of 94 (just north of Selfridge) after getting a clue about French Onion Soup. The broth was terrific. I inquired and it's made on site and she offered that it was and has sherry in it. That brightness of the sherry was evident and very tasty. The cheese raft was on rye croutons and swiss rather than gruyere so the stringy part was overly chewy but @$3.95 a big crock was okay. The broth is on par with Luxe but not the cheese. On a different note they serve Prime Rib (on Saturday) and have leftovers they serve on a caeser salad as blackened prime rib (slices). It was very tasty and a masssive salad. The place was full of airmen so you can get a chance to thank them for their service. Friendly bunch. Not sure it's a travel destination for west siders. But, if you are heading up 94 to Sarnia and need refreshment you may want to give it a try.

                                          Sugarbush Tavern
                                          27900 21 Mile Road
                                          Chesterfield, MI 48047-4908
                                          (586) 949-5260

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: goatgolfer
                                            RedTop RE: goatgolfer Feb 14, 2011 02:36 PM

                                            Very cool review, gg. Thank you.

                                          2. g
                                            goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Feb 15, 2011 03:24 PM

                                            Today's version was not exacty French Onion soup but rather Beer Onion soup from CJ's Brewing Co. in Commerce (8115 Richardson rd.) The place has a brewery inside and it's very cool. The soup was some medieval stale beer grog with onions (no salt that would be too good for it) and a provolone, swiss, parm raft. Suffice to say, half was uneaten and surprisingly no questions from the server.

                                            On the positive side the beer list (made on site) was very impressive.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: goatgolfer
                                              JanPrimus RE: goatgolfer Feb 15, 2011 04:28 PM

                                              Their website looks like they are serving up low level microbrews?!?! What are they offering past the traditional Pale Ales, Porters, Stouts, Ambers and IPA's?

                                            2. g
                                              goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Feb 16, 2011 12:31 PM

                                              Today's FO soup test was at Alibi - 6700 Rochester Rd. Troy. The broth was very unctuous with great mouth feel and salted just right. Their version ( I am getting more tolerant of adaptations) is with salad bar croutons (not the rough ones - a kind of thumb sized crunchy bread) and mozzarella cheese. They are well known for their pizza but the mozz was way too salty for the soup, unfortunately. The croutons on the other hand have possibilities. They held up for the whole duration and the semi-crunch was an interesting flavor/texture. I haven't seen such croutons commercially before but were in all the salads nearby and people were wolfing them down. Classic FO soup = no. Pretty good adaptation = yes. If you were to have pizza afterwards with the same cheese you would need an infusion to reduce your sodium levels. But, it may be worth it.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: goatgolfer
                                                xman887 RE: goatgolfer Feb 16, 2011 04:57 PM

                                                what are you doing, goat? 40 f.o. soup's in 40 days?

                                                i admire your mission.

                                                1. re: xman887
                                                  goatgolfer RE: xman887 Feb 16, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                  Xman: We all contribute in our own way.

                                                  Win Schuler's on the way to Milwaukee tomorrow. I have been advised it's Swiss Onion - but my options are open with adaptations...

                                                  BTW: French Onion Soup in France is called Soupe a l'oignon. NO - It's not Soupe ROYALE!! - quote from Pulp Fiction.

                                                  Win Schuler's
                                                  115 S Eagle St, Marshall, MI 49068

                                                2. re: goatgolfer
                                                  coney with everything RE: goatgolfer Feb 17, 2011 04:58 AM

                                                  I didn't think it was possible to go to Alibi and NOT get pizza!

                                                3. g
                                                  goatgolfer RE: JanPrimus Feb 17, 2011 05:55 PM

                                                  So, I used my passport and went to Swiss Onion Soup today in Marshall, MI at Win Schulers. The place is very cool to begin with. Served in the bar (Winstons) and ordered the onion soup. They have done this a few times and the faux pewter serving bowl was perfect for the atmosphere. I didn't expect onion gravy/pudding but really didn't know what was coming. I reminded me of the gravy of an English meat pie. Very unctuous, very filling, well balanced the swiss/parm on top was just stringy enough (very thin slice but appropriate for the dish). I may stop back on my way to soup dumplings on Saturday because it was that good.

                                                  Found a Schuler's reference that seems to be in the style of the heavy flour style soup. The Schuler's ref = http://www.schulersrestaurant.com/doc.... The Jan 2011 Freep Schulers Onion soup recipe is not the one that was served today.

                                                  I didn't look at the restaurant menu but I think this may be a soup/destination/ambiance worth a crisp spring day top-down drive from DTW to Marshall. It just kind of feels good that way. Whether this weekend or not, I am going back for a broader graze.

                                                  Thanks to all the +1s above that invited me to stop at Schulers on my way to MKE today. Unfortunately, no time to sample the FO in Milwaukee. Memory tells me it's very prevalent here. BTW I was at a Roundy's grocery tonight in Germantown and all the section headings were in german. Got to love this place.

                                                  Win Schuler's
                                                  115 S Eagle St, Marshall, MI 49068

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: goatgolfer
                                                    luckytobeme RE: goatgolfer Feb 17, 2011 07:19 PM

                                                    you made my day, goatgolfer ~ glad schulers is still worthy of the ride !

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