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SE Michigan: Have we talked French Onion Soup?

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. re: charlesbois

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

      1. re: JanPrimus

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: RedTop

        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: RedTop

          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.

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

            1. 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

                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


                  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

                    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

                  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

                    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

                      best onion soup in michigan ?

                      win schulers in marshall ~~

                        1. re: rainsux

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

                    1. re: berkleybabe

                      Really? Recipe, please. No teasing on here.

                      1. re: amandaqtpie

                        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

                          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

                            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

                            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.

                            1. re: JanPrimus

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

                                1. The best french onion soup ever!!!

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

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Yodieann

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

                                  2. 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

                                      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

                                        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. 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. 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. 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. 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

                                              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. 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

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

                                                i admire your mission.

                                                1. re: xman887

                                                  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

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

                                                3. 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

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