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Soup, Chili and other great bowls of joy in SE Michigan

My dear friends, posters and moderators. I sit here this morning at home thanks to the good wise people at my kids school district that have decided that the snow made it a good good day to take off. I have whipped up Sausage and Gravy and dropped it into my big Soup/Chili bowl. Now I am thinking...winter is here and it is my favorite time to hover my face above a aromatic steamy bowl of goodness. I know mt favorite restaurant bowl of soup is at Mudgie's over in Corktown. I know I have a standing invitation to hit up Modern Food and Spirits for some soup from one of my very trusted food sources. What I don't know is where I will find my next great bowl.

Help me Obi-Wan....your my only hope.

Where are the great bowls of Phở, Ramen, Chili, Stew, Gaspatcho, Goulash, Ginataan, Krentjebrij, Bisque , Gumbo, Chowder, Yukgaejang, Vichyssoise, Philadelphia pepper pot and just plain old bowls of Tomato soup?

1300 Porter St, Detroit, MI 48226

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  1. > Modern ...

    Caution: They have shifted to their "winter" hours. Call before making the trip.

    1. I haven't had this in years because it's too much with the burger, but I remember Red Coat's seafood bisque being completely made of awesomeness (that and a prodigious amount of cream!)

      1. Pho- Que Huong in Madison Heights.
        Ramen- Matsuchan in Canton
        Yukgaejang- Hmmmmm, I'll go with Hana in Ypsi.
        Gumbo- ? Good luck with that,

        Que Huong Restaurant
        30820 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

        1 Reply
        1. re: moose734

          Gumbo - Louisiana Creole Gumbo, 2051 Gratiot Ave, Detroit right outside Eastern Market. Red Beans and Rice are great there too. Although there's a couple tables, this is definitely a take out place.

          Louisiana Creole Gumbo
          2051 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48207

        2. Recently tried Matsuchan for the first time, and am on the bandwagon of praise about that place. Very good ramen, especially the miso, pork, and miso-pork varieties.

          For any of the Korean soups, check out the little cafe inside E-Mart Grocery (on 16 Mile and Dequindre in Troy). That's about as close to the homey little hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Korea, as you'll find here.

          For the more "basic" soups, I've really taken a liking to the soups at Ventimiglia. Their chicken noodle is excellent -- never any mushy noodles. They usually have four soups available at any given time -- typically chicken noodle, tomato basil, and a couple of veggie or minestrone type options.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jjspw

            Does E-Mart make their own kimchi? I am always up for trying a Korean market's kimchi and panchan.

            1. re: moose734

              I believe E-Mart does, in fact, make their own kimchi. They have some banchan items (made there, I presume) in a cooler-type thing next to the restaurant -- usually kimbap, seaweed salad, omelet, etc. Haven't tried any of the banchan.

            2. re: jjspw

              Tomato Bisque at Forest Grill and Dill Pickle Soup at Polonia - YUM!

              Polonia Restaurant
              2934 Yemans St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

              Forest Grill Restaurant
              735 Forest Ave Ste 100, Birmingham, MI 48009

            3. Let me guess, your kids got stir crazy, you tried to escape to the computer, and afterwards both your wife and your office boss lamented that they'd hoped you'd "got something done" while around the house the "entire" day? :-)

              I have a fond soup memory, but it is 15yrs old, and may not be right or worthy. But, I once sure enjoyed the lobster bisque at Rochester Chop House. Came with a shot of sherry, if memory serves.

              Oddly, I also had an awesome(!) Lamb "Chili" at Oasis Middle Eastern Restaurant in Warren. Better than I possibly could make at home, and that's meant to be a compliment. (Though, some might not see it that way.)

              Warren is a crap eggs-and-coney wasteland. AARP members can't even eat here, coupon in hand. But, there's been a sudden surge in Middle Eastern restaurant construction starts, so I am hopeful.

              4 Replies
              1. re: vtombrown

                Two questions, VTB:

                1. Did said chili have (::shudder::) kidney beans in it? What else, besides the lamb, constituted the chili?

                2. Where, exactly, is this Oasis in Warren?

                And yes, I realize that I technically asked three questions there, but too bad: I don't care. ;)


                1. re: boagman

                  Hi Bro'. Sorry. Although I had it just a few days ago, I can't recall for sure, about the beans. All I know is that it had a nice little kick*---maybe it was the bright red oil floating in it---and some quality ground lamb. Balance, thoughtfulness and quality. *granted, JP would laugh at my application of the term "kick," and be embarrassed for me.
                  Oasis is right next to Pei Wei, in the Meijer complex at 12 Mile and Mound. This place is genuinely respectable (maybe not great) across the whole menu.

                  1. re: vtombrown

                    "Kick" is melt your face off Thai Chili Peppers with a hint of noodles and veggies.

                    At least that was lunch today.

                  2. re: boagman

                    > Did said chili have (::shudder::) kidney beans in it? What else, besides the lamb, constituted the chili?

                    Anybody that knows beans about chili, knows that that beans do not belong in chili.

                2. i like the gumbo at louisiana crele gumbo, too.

                  i have had good chili at beau jack's on maple in bloomfield http://beaujacks.com/bjSoups.htm

                  my favorite is lobster bisque at the d.a.c. (going to have a cup tomorrow for lunch)

                  1. Cashew Chili with home made bread at Inn Season :)

                    Inn Season Cafe
                    500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: interplanetjanet

                      I am holding my tongue about Vegans naming anything Chili..... :)

                      1. re: JanPrimus

                        ...or *anything* from ISC being worth it, much less a Tinker's #&$%...

                      2. re: interplanetjanet

                        wow JP and boagman, angry much? I will agree that most things there are not so good or exciting but this soup is good, as is their bread, as are their desserts.

                        1. re: interplanetjanet

                          He is the angry one....I am just a carnivore.

                        2. re: interplanetjanet

                          I'm with you on this one ipjanet! I love Inn Season's chili and bread. Not sure what the anger issue is about the place. My wife and I eat there regularly and have never had a bad meal. The staff is pleasant and the food is unique and tasty. Their desserts are great!

                          Inn Season Cafe
                          500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

                        3. Pho--Dalat in Ypsilanti; Saigon Garden in Ann Arbor.
                          For all types of fine fine Asian noodle soups--Tomukon in Ann Arbor.

                          Let's think south of the border:
                          Pozole--El Barzon.
                          Carne en su Jugo--Taqueria Mexico (on Vernor)

                          Saigon Garden
                          1220 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: trapani

                            I HIGHLY urge you to try Matsuchan in Canton for your ramen. Don't get me wrong, I like Tomukun and it's easier for me to dine there but the ramen at Matsuchan is head and shoulders above it. I would also urge you to take a trip to Madison Heights for Pho comparison, once again no contest when put up against any Pho place in Washtenaw County.

                          2. Tomato Basil Soup - Pepperoni Grill on Greater Mack in St Clair Shores.

                            Pho - Blue Star, Gratiot, just north of 14 Mile Road.

                            Blue Star Restaurant
                            33133 S Gratiot Ave, Clinton Township, MI 48035

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: RedTop

                              Blue Star? Never heard of it. Is it a "must try?" Is it reasonably clean? (wife is picky about where the toddler goes)

                              Blue Star Restaurant
                              33133 S Gratiot Ave, Clinton Township, MI 48035

                              1. re: vtombrown

                                Yes, it is reasonably clean, vtb. (although I've never had a tour of the kitchen). Large, dining room, lit dimly. Several different Pho offerings.

                                Although I love the sheer selection of asian restaurants in Madison Heights, Blue Star is far more convenient for me.

                                Blue Star Restaurant
                                33133 S Gratiot Ave, Clinton Township, MI 48035

                            2. I'm pretty picky about clam chowder, and was happy to enjoy a really good bowl at Wheat and Rye (Allen Park location) recently. Nothing fancy; just a simple chowder with more clams and clam flavor than what you find in most places.
                              Also, I think Elmhurst's French onion beats all.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: amandaqtpie

                                Was the chowder New England style or Manhattan style? I don''t really like New England clam chowder, but I love the tomato-based Manhattan stuff. Is there anywhere in the Detroit area where I can get a good bowl of Manhattan clam chowder?

                                  1. re: amandaqtpie

                                    Nice to see you back on (the) board, Q T π, and thanks for the tip. I also know what New England clam chowder is supposed to taste like, and I rarely order it here. To the topic at hand: third on Matsuchan, but I'm glad to have Tomukun around. Other good soups in the Ann Arbor area: Zingerman's Bakehouse on Plaza Dr. (Google Map it or you won't find it) has rotating soups for $4.95 on weekdays—not all great, but all good. And I love the variety of lentil soups at the MIddle Eastern places. The one at Pita Pita on Washtenaw is a standout, with a strong curry flavor.

                                    Pita Pita
                                    2649 Washtenaw Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

                                    Zingerman's Bakehouse
                                    3711 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

                              2. Le Dog, a takeout window on E. Liberty in Ann Arbor, is a well-known local institution with great soups. The chef is Hungarian, and his central European soups are IMO the best. Try things like Tiroler Linsensuppe (Tyrol Lentil Soup) , goulash, Alsatian bean and cabbage soup, and, when he has occasionally has it, cassoulet. Lobster bisque on Thursday and Friday is great, and his pozole is among the best I've ever had. Root vegetable soups are always good. The chef is notoriously brusque and has been likened to the "Seinfeld" Soup Nazi, but the place offers terrific value for the money. Second location on Main St. indoors between Liberty and William, but no seating there, either.

                                Le Dog
                                410 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104