Neehee's in Farmington Hills
On a thread below boagman asked vtb which Neehee's he went to , FH or Canton. I checked to see where in Farmington Hills it was. Lo and behold it's around the corner from my house! But I don't recall seeing it. There is a Suraj Indian Grocery in that strip mall. Is it in the Suraj space? There is no Neehee's sign.
Talk about Double Trouble! I have both Boagman AND Rheta asking about my Neehee’s meal.
Well, based on the good reviews, and on the concept, I had to check out this place (read: Trick my wife in to going for the distant boondoggle.) We finally found Neehee’s inside “Suraj grocery,” back in the corner of a fading F.H. strip mall. The business card of Suraj says R. Patel & V. Patel. Are these the famous Patel Bros., the Indian grocery titans? Anyway, who cares. There is absolutely nothing to Suraj. It seems somewhat like just a front for a restaurant named Neehee’s. Whatever the reasons for this structure (taxes? permits?), I pay no mind.
Neehee’s deems themselves an “Indian vegetarian street food” place. I’m a global street food aficionado and a mild vegetarian enthusiast, but no expert on Indian food. Been to a few Indian expat homes, read a book and been to thirty different Indian restaurants OUTSIDE of India, but I admit to not knowing jack.
Anyway, I ordered #1. Bhel (crispy puffed rice mixed with chutney, tomatoes, onions and potatoes. Also, #8. Dahi Samosa Chaat (samosas squished and topped with chutneys, yogurt, onions & “sev” --crunchy dry ramen noodles?). Also, #30. Batata Vada / Aloo Bonda (spicy potato dumplings deep fried with a besan—chickpea flour—covering, and a mint chutney dipping sauce), and #55. Chloe Bhature (chickpeas in reddish spicy gravy, along side fresh fry bread with a side of onions and lime)…my favorite.
Perhaps you’ve noticed two trends? A) I have onions coming out my ears. My gosh. B) There are too many menu selections. It doesn’t end just at “#55.” It goes up to “#96.”
No human can eat 2/3 of a raw or nearly raw onion, and feel good. So, one must pay close attention to the menu disclosures, when mixing/matching. Moreover, street food vendors gain fame by SPECIALIZING in one or two items. I really think Neehee’s stretches itself too far….Offering Mexican Fusion? Offering American Chopsuey? Come on guys.
Granted, I only tried the categories of Chatpati Chaat, Pakoda, and a Bhature Thali. I have not yet sampled from the Uttappam or Dosa categories on the menu. Unfortunately, I’ll have to sneak there alone to get those, because my wife appraised Neehee’s food as being “the Indian version of Bennigan’s six layer refritos nachos, with triple onions.”
In some respects I agree with her. Primarily, Neehee’s serves oily mashed legumes, on top of fried ground grains, with a layer of creamy stuff and a layer of chilies, a thick layer of raw onions and a layer of (bottled?) sauce. It’s a real body blow, but it is meat-free, gorge-a-lish’, cheap ($6/meal avg, incld tax, and no tip necessary…i.e., complete feed, out-the-door) and horribly filling (not to be redundant). The ultimate joint for a liberal college town, such as AA or Madison?
The dishes I ordered were not as complex, delicate or cerebral as those about which I had fantasized. But, Neehee’s was unique (to me: the only gringo around), adventuresome and great casual fun. And, for the price, a person can afford to do hit-and-miss until each finds just the right dish for him/herself; with 96 choices, there SURELY is something for everyone. Based on the interesting, fresh, sourdoughish flavor of the Bhature bread I got, I’m looking forward to next trying a topped Uttappam pancake (bearing pistachios and peas?) and a stuffed Dosa crepe (maybe with whey cheese or rubbed with ghee and roasted ‘til crisp?). Mmmmm.
Anyway, I know you guys get a big kick out of this place. Next time you go there, if you see me, and I hope you do, please help drag me out to my car after I finish cramming myself from that rich, noxious, colorful, low-cholesterol feedbag. Thanks, again, for the tip. Genuinely!
Next time it will be a #2 for you...the Special Bhel!
Also the Dosa's are pretty damn good.
As for the onion or oily mashed legumes issue...most of the things I have ordered have never had anything close to those issues. I am not sure if it is a issue of what I am ordering or if it is a issue of inconsistency between locations.
Also...while they may have almost a hundred items on the menu...you have to remember most are a slight variation on other dishes. Kind of like a pizzeria can easily have 100 items after you take into account all the variations on the menu.
Will do JP-- Special Bhel, and a Dosa. Given that I'm also going to re-order my bright red, spicy thin gravy on chickpeas (#55. Chloe Bhature), I guess I've now got my whole order set. And, my lunches for the two days that follow! Maybe I'll get there well before sunset, so as to legitimize my wearing of sunglasses, which then will enable me to sit and discretely(?) take-in the sights of the many young (relative to me), hip Indian clientele. *just kidding...I'm not quite that creepy.