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Aug 2, 2010 10:05 AM

Chow ideas for west of Detroit?

I'm overnighting soon in the Ypsilanti area and will have a dinner time or two available. I used to live in Ann Arbor and might well stop by there, but I'm actually thinking more of exploring some areas like Ypsi, Plymouth, Canton and even the Dearborn area, which I have had less exposure to. If you're itching to suggest a further destination, maybe indicate driving time from Ypsi area? (I don't really know where most suburbs actually are off the top of my head, or how far it is to get to them.)

Will have adventurous 10-year old son along--he'll eat anything, although toning down the real spicy stuff. We'd be interested in most any casual great food, ethnic (Mexi, Middle Eastern, Thai, etc.) or more mainstream fare (trip-worthy pizza, somewhere with amazing soups or sandwiches, etc.).

Thanks for any ideas!

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  1. If you go to Ann Arbor....I fully endorse Grange. 10 Minute drive...

    In Canton...there is a few places. 15 Minute Drive...

    For Thai food I am very fond of Thai Bistro.

    For Indian vegetarian street food...

    For Japanese Noodles

    As for Plymouth...20 Minutes...

    Great Steak...

    Great Pizza.

    8 Replies
    1. re: JanPrimus

      Terrific suggestions! Thanks. I'm especially intrigued by a Napolitano pizza and the Indian street food options. Neither of those is to be had in my home area of South Bend, IN.

      Grange is new to me--after my time in Ann Arbor. It looks great but a bit on the formal/fancy side for this trip (my son and I will arrive dusted with grit from the runways of an historic aircraft show).

      1. re: Bada Bing

        I'll give an *extremely* loud second to Neehee's, which JP kindly turned me on to. I've now been there at least 3-4 times, and I don't live anywhere *near* the place...unfortunately for me. This place is completely without pretence, but the flavors they get their food to sing with is enough to make even the most rigorously loyal carnivore (like, say, me) to welcome a completely meatless change of pace. Impressive as all-get-out.

      2. re: JanPrimus

        Grange is good but very upscale, and a ten-year-old might or might not go for it.

        In Ypsi itself: excellent burgers and sliders at the Sidetrack, a fine townie bar. Outdoor seating. Rated among the top 20 burgers in the U.S. by GQ or one of those magazines a few years ago.

        1. re: JanPrimus

          if you are into a country drive with dine in your car there is a to die for BBQ shack on Pontiac Trail heading towards South Lyon about 20 minutes out of AA. It is a white building on the east side of the road (impossible to miss because there isn't anything else around it or out there).

          1. re: ray73

            Is that the old Romanoffs Place?

            1. re: JanPrimus

              Call before going—it has had very erratic hours lately and may not be open at all.

              1. re: JanPrimus

                yeah it is Romanoffs.... and they have odd hours because once they sell out they shut the door and they sell out everyday.... but god is it worth the drive for me... it is 2 hours round trip and I never miss a stop when I am in AA.

              2. re: ray73

                Thanks for the suggestion. As it happens, I'm already back home in Indiana, but this thread will be a useful items for me next time I'm back in your area.

            2. May I also suggest a slightly further way out for some great Mexican. Affordable and non-pretentious.


              It is a "Hole in the wall" but they do it right!

              1. Okay, I've booked a hotel (in Plymouth) for Saturday overnight. We'll be at the air show in Ypsilanti Sunday until 5pm. I'm thinking of trying to stop by Neehee's Indian place for lunch on Saturday, try to fit in the Cellar 849 pizza place Saturday night, and maybe stop by Zingerman's Sunday for dinner after the airshow on the way back toward Indiana.

                I notice, however, that I'm leaving Detroit's vaunted Middle Eastern scene untouched. Is there another place that I should consider as a serious destination?

                Thanks in advance for any tips...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bada Bing

                  I would maybe suggest Al-Ameer over Cellar 849 since you have your son with you. 849 is a bit *fancy* and Al-Ameer is great food no matter who you are.


                  Your closer to this location...

                  27346 Ford Rd.
                  Dearborn Hts., MI 48127

                  May I even be so bold to order for you....
                  Get the Al-Ameer Platter

                  I think this is the best representation of Middle Eastern in the city. There are some higher end places (La Pita - Cue Boagman) that have great service and do some things great and there are some hole in the wall joints (Hamido - Cue JJSPW) that taste great, but I would pick Al-Ameer as a place to break my Lebanese food cherry at.

                2. We just got into our hotel after dinner at Neehees. It was absolutely terrific food. I think it's my best experience of eating Indian food ever. The freshness, intensity and novelty of the offerings is just great. Thanks for this tip.

                  We had, by the way, the Hara Dhaniya Masala Dosa (#80; Cilantro spice mix spread on crepe) and the Chole Bhature (55; Spicy tangy chick peas served with two bhaturas, onions & lime). The Chole was relatively spicy, significantly more so than the dosa. The dosa came with that soupy stuff (sambala?) and two great sauces on the side, one orangish and the other green, both very herby and tangy. Marvelous flavors.

                  The place was packed, too, and the clear majority of the customers were Indian. Very nice Indian grocery next door. The cashier there mentioned that they're moving into a bigger space, in the same strip mall, I think.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I have been working that menu over for months now and I just can not nail down a favorite. I almost would say the #2 Special Bhel because one day I had it and it was like the worlds best Heroin. That last four times it has not been prepared with the same I will forever be after that ultimate food high but always coming up just shy. I may end up selling my moms jewelry and spending my kids college money just for that Special Bhel possible high.

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      All the credit for that recommendation should go to JP, since he's the one who actually turned me on to it, and challenged me to get over my anti-vegetarian food stance. He's the one who, straight-faced, told me that he *never* missed meat when he'd been there, and he's an unabashedly unashamed carnivore like I am. He threw down the gauntlet, and I picked it up. I'm so glad he did.

                      You're right about the move, though exactly when it's supposed to happen is a bit of a question. I do know that, when it does go through, they'll have 4X the space, which will be welcomed by everyone, both customer and worker alike, I'd say. For such an unpretentious spot, the food is just fantastic. I can totally understand anyone getting there, seeing the place in all of its "glory", and saying, "Uh-oh...", but once you start eating, you just don't care anymore. For this, I can fetch my own water, yes, thank you.

                      You can easily see why the place is packed. In fact, I winced a bit on Saturday, as I physically drove by the place (you were probably there at that moment!) and couldn't stop to eat or get carryout. I'm a solid hour from there...and knowing that I was just *that* close to it, it hurt. ;)

                      So glad you could enjoy it as we do.

                      1. re: boagman

                        Speaking as a devoted but not obsessive carnivore, I agree that vegetarian Neehee's should satisfy most anyone's desires for heartiness or "substance." The place is marvelous. I'm almost exclusively a home cook, but I would go to this place AT LEAST every week if I could.

                    2. I'm the OP for this old thread, and am reviving it because I am headed in a month to Ypsilanti/WIllow Run Airport for exactly the same air show and with the same questions in mind.

                      From my first visit and the previous discussion, I have these thoughts:

                      1. Hell or high water, I'm going back to Nehee's at least once.

                      2. My original query netted many suggestions that I was not able to try, notably Middle-Eastern. If we set some time aside to go to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, should I prioritze Al-Ameer?

                      3. Any further ideas? For example, I will go out of my way for distinctive pizza. I've tried all kinds, make it myself at a high level, and am always on the lookout for great takes on the form, artisanal or plebeian.

                      Also, let me know if any of you are game to join up for a Chow meeting. I've never done that before, but why not? My 12-year-old son is along, but he's already a budding foodie. We're likely to be in the area Friday, August 3 into Saturday or Sunday,

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        Welcome back, prematurely. You'll like returning to Neehee's, but they're currently closed for renovations because some poor soul ran their SUV into the storefront of the new location (don't's just a few storefronts down from the old one) and they're currently closed, but they should be open by late July at the latest. It's still great, it's just bigger, cleaner, and shinier...and *just as* popular. The extra seating they have now is so very, very welcome, and the service is still endearing.

                        I've never been to Al-Ameer, but it's pretty well-liked on this board.

                        Distinctive pizza, to me, belongs to Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park, but that's a solid 45-60 minute drive from Ypsi, depending upon the traffic. It's the definitive Detroit-style pizza, and it's still my favorite, ever. Pizzeria Biga in Southfield is a completely different, although still very tasty, place.

                        Wurst Bar in Ypsi and Biercamp in Ann Arbor are also getting some rave reviews around here, though I haven't been to either (I just don't get out that far west very often, really).

                        Hope you enjoy yourself on your trip back!

                        1. re: boagman

                          If Neehee's is still closed, try Hut-K Chaats on Packard in Ann Arbor for something in a similar vein. I would give the slight edge to Neehee's (bigger menu for one thing), but Hut-K is doing good business around here. Biercamp is mostly a store with a few sandwiches—if you're going to grill out at the air show, it's a must. To eat in for wurst, yes yes, Wurst Bar.

                        2. re: Bada Bing

                          Are you only into "foodie" food, or do you like lowbrow food served with a side of quirky nostalgia? If so, Ypsilanti has a wealth of places. I love Chick Inn, an old 50s drive-in. Also Bill's Drive-In has good coneys and homemade rootbeer (and that's IT, we're talking a very limited menu). Other places are Roy's Squeeze Inn and Gabriel's Cheesesteak. All are on Michigan Ave, except Chick Inn, which is on Prospect @ Holmes. I always endorse these places, so I'm sure regular readers are rolling their eyes with boredom by now, but the places are GOOD.

                          I love La Fiesta Mexicana on Cross for delicious Jalisco-area Mexican food. Sidetrack in Ypsi is a good bar, as is Aubree's (they're across the street from each other on Cross in Depot Town). Red Rock bbq is new and gooood. Haab's has the best fried chicken in town. Those are both on Michigan right downtown Ypsi.

                          You really should try to get some Middle Eastern food, even if you have to drive to Dearborn to get it.

                          1. re: charlesbois

                            For me, "foodie" absolutely includes good humble grub. But I know what you mean.

                            Mexican sounds great, too. Even though I lived in Ann Arbor for several years, I never got around to trying La Fiesta Mexicana in nearby Ypsi. Sounds as if it's maintained a great rep for a long time.

                            1. re: charlesbois

                              also in Ypsilanti-
                              Michigan Ave area

                              Hana Korean
                              1346 E Michigan Ave
                              Ypsilanti, MI 48198
                              (734) 483-2455
                              Cuppy's Soulfood
                              1396 E Michigan Ave
                              Ypsilanti, MI 48198
                              (734) 320-2577

                              1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

                                MM, can you give me the scoop on Cuppy's? I've been wanting to try it out as it''s not far from where I live and I even got some coupons in the mail. What can you recommend?