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Zayeqa Farmington Hills MI [Detroit area]

Following a lead from Janelle I dined at Zayeqa (Halal Indo Pak & Chinese) 29298 Orchard Lake Rd. Farmington Hills.

The place has about 16 seats and is very intimate (all the condiments, drinks, cutlery are help yourself).

I'm far from expert on Mughlai cuisine but the Achar Gosht (mutton) dish is outstanding. Cumin, cardamom, tomatoes and peppers in a curry pickle sauce. With nahn bread it's only $5.99 for lunch and I nearly got a second order it was that good.

Many of the classic tikkas, and kabobs on the menu but enough new stuff for 5 more visits at least.

No alcohol and as mentioned very cozy but this one goes on the best of list.

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  1. Mutton as in lamb/sheep? For $6? Really? Certainly sounds interesting...

    10 Replies
    1. re: boagman

      Never mind...it's goat. How do I know this? Because I'm here now, taking your recommendation on good faith. Remind me to trust you more often: this is *great*.

      I *will* be back.

      1. re: boagman

        Oh, man... Are they open on Easter Sunday for dinner???!!!

        1. re: VTB

          Well, according to their menu, they're open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30AM-9:30PM. Now, whether they'll be open on Easter Sunday proper, or not, is a good question, and worth a phone call early tomorrow. If any "normal" restaurant were to be open on Easter, this would be the one.

          The place has a *very* similar feeling to the original location of Neehee's: very small (two years ago, it was a carryout only KFC...I kid you not!), very ethnic (you'll be the only Caucasian there, I'll bet), very proud of their fare, very friendly, and very yummy. I had the aforementioned goat dish (absolutely delicious), which came with great naan (which I ordered more of at 99¢, a total bargain, and a stinking *great* method for sopping up the lovely sauce the goat dish had), and a small 99¢ lamb samosa, which was also great, especially the dipping sauce that came with it. Again, cue the naan. Out the door for under $8. Wonderful.

          One quick warning/caveat: the goat dish I had wasn't completely bone-free, and while most of the bones are pretty obvious, it pays to be careful. Look at it another way: if you're careful to eat it slowly to watch for small bone pieces, it'll last longer, and that's a nice thing. My goat was perfectly cooked, and *super* tender, with great flavor. The whole dish just rocked.

          1. re: VTB

            Easter in Farmington for Pakistani/border food? Did you go?

            Edit: the place has exactly 25 seats. ( 6x4) + 1 =25 For my GMI friend.

          2. re: boagman

            Goat!! Hard to believe that mutton has gone so far. VTB: I think they will be open on the holiday. Be prepared to be interactive and young vTB and Mrs. VtB will have to play too. Seriously, more rice, less rice hotter,..... These are fun people.
            The Boagman got the vibe. If they have it . Eat it.

            Also, Janelle's noodle reco's may need to be discovered.

            1. re: goatgolfer

              Went back for lunch today. Open on Easter until 10pm.

              Chili Chicken and Chicken Hakka Noodles today. I ordered medium and both should have been hot but they were outstanding.

              The take out orders i witnessed while there were heavy on biryani (rice stew of many different styles) but all the Indian/asians were ordering them. I think that's my next go.

              Fun people. And they read chowhound. Based on my comment above and the dish I ordered she asked me today if I was the "goat writer". Pretty funny.

              1. re: goatgolfer

                Well, I know it’s embarrassingly silly to read a post and then just HAVE to rush straight to the place. But, it’s a holiday weekend so I’m entitled to a little indulgence.

                When we arrived at Zayeqa, they asked us, “did P*** (Goat Golfer) send you?” I said yes, and got quite a kick out of that. Is my family THAT easy to pick out of a crowd?

                Anyway, this is very good food for the price. Better than many area places charging much more. If one were to compare the dishes I had today to the BEST (not median) dishes at the BEST places in Troy, it would be “a draw,” as far as my novice taste goes. That’s a compliment!

                I don’t think they have dosas, which are like delicious fermented Cream of Wheat crepes. But quite a lot is on offer. May be a regional thing. One scary item they have is curried goat feet. I’m going to let someone else test drive that first, and I’m not even challenging JanPrimus. Someone surely is going to take the dare, and I hope they report back.

                I had Goat Golfer’s mentioned Achar Gosht, as well as Kadhai Chicken, and Chicken Biryani. All were extremely rich. One could not eat these every day. But, every one of these dishes was a winner and a great value. I do appreciate Boagman’s warning about bone fragments.

                Zayeqa was out of a couple things we ordered. This actually impresses me, because I infer it to mean that the place serves FRESH items while cutting inventory close so that those fresh items aren’t thrown away in large quantities, for which guests must indirectly pay.

                I’m not a dessert person, but I did also get tempted by the Gajar Halwa, which is grated carrots cooked in “milk, butter and cream,” topped with nuts and dried fruits. It was wonderful, but very sweet. If you enjoy sweets you should try it, as it is better than it may sound (with the carrots goin’ on).

                Because my pre-K kid was misbehaving and because my wife was contemplating a print ad sales pitch, related to the Chinese newspaper for which she works, I had to drag the family out of there before the good vibe got doused. So, I didn’t get to chat with the hospitable people working there.

                It seemed like a family run place—husband, wife, father in law, etc.. That’s just a guess. However, I can wager without wildly guessing, that there were more advanced university degrees behind the counter than there were spoons. I surmise that this enterprise is a moonlighting gig, done by professionals currently in other fields. The food was lovingly spot-on, so if they want to slave during weekends and eves in the quicksand restaurant business, then their sacrifice is my belly’s gain.

                Thx GG for the post and Boagman for the seconding tips.

                1. re: VTB

                  I'm down for the curried hoof!

                  1. re: JanPrimus

                    Welp, I went for lunch and was informed they were out of both Cows foot and goats foot. I tried but nada! So she sent me toward a mutton chop that was spectacular and another dish that I forget the name of right now (Left the menu at work) that was beef in a soupy mess of good flavor. I took both of those and three naan's on. The Naan was good, but no options for garlic or onion.

                    I WILL be back and I will get the foot dishes! Good find!

          3. Where exactly on Orchard Lake? Is that just South of 13 Mile?
            I am so there the next time I am in town.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Fibber McGee

              0.5 miles s of 13 east side on Orchard Lake. In a Shopping mall.

              1. re: goatgolfer

                GG..it seems you should be getting a discount, when we stopped in for lunch they asked if you sent us. lol

                Delicious and reasonable! Thanks to you and boagman for the recommendation!

                1. re: Jack Freeman

                  I was told that the only "American" guests they have are from CH and Y*** reviews. That was why VTB was so recognizable. Since you give your name (like Panerra) as your order holder they then can link it. If it's not true you go *what*. Next time I'm Jason Bourne.

                  My discount was the same as all CH memebers: Free drinks from the pitcher(aqua) and all the styrofoam and plastic cutlery you can use with plenty of serviettes.

                  Original props definitely go to Janelle.

                2. re: goatgolfer

                  Thanks, that's pretty much where I thought.

              2. Anyone know their hours? (Nothing is posted on the door)

                Went today at 11:30. Lights out, doors locked.

                5 Replies
                1. re: rainsux

                  Normally they are open now....we just told them you were coming. They did what they could to skip town as fast as possible.

                  1. re: JanPrimus

                    Drat. Foiled again. I'll try again. I was able to enjoy a burger at Jaws.

                    -doug

                    1. re: rainsux

                      Last time I was at Jaws I asked for a "Hypocrite" burger. A Veggie Burger with bacon on it. The Irony was lost on my waitress.

                  2. re: rainsux

                    According to their menu, they open at 11:30AM daily (closed Monday). Perhaps you were a bit early for them? Sorry about that!

                    1. re: rainsux

                      I was there today at 1pm and it was full blast. I didn't see your post until I got home so couldn't ask.

                      JP: They have cow hoof on the menu today.

                      I will post the hoof update on the companion thread.

                    2. Wow, I'm thrilled to see you found my YEEP recommendation, and that so many people are going here and loving the food. This place truly is a gem in Detroit.

                      Their Hakka dishes are great, but I'm really starting to take more of a liking to the Pakistani dishes. In particular, their kabobs are fantastic--any meat, any preparation style, they've all been excellent. And hell, even if they charged twice as much, I still think it'd be well worth the pricetag.

                      They have a facebook page with menu there; no web site yet.

                      Also, someone mentioned that they don't have dosa... Dosa is very specifically South Indian. Zayeqa is specifically Pakistani and Chinese-Pak. The Pakistani dishes are a sort of hybrid of North Indian and Middle Eastern food--the curries from North India, and the kabobs from the Middle Eastern influence.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jjspw

                        How is Offal treated in these cultures? I know I have been on a Offal kick lately, but it really is the better tasting parts if the chef has experience.

                        1. re: JanPrimus

                          Can't say as I've ever heard much about offal being used in Indian cooking. Especially since a large fraction of the population is vegetarian. But I'm sure offal, or stuff like chicken feet (that's not technically considered "offal", right?) are used to some extent in areas/communities where food is scarce.

                          Pakistanis use it more, because of their Arabic influence. Arabs use a lot of tongue, brain, etc. in kabobs or sandwiches, so that carries into Pakistani food. As long as it's Halal, I think most Pakistanis will eat it. As far as Pakistani food you'll see in the US, the trotters (paya or paaye) curry is about the extent of the "offal" you'll see.

                          Kababish Indo-Pak Cuisine in Canton has paya on the regular menu... that's a place I'd highly recommend, whether you like offal or not!

                          1. re: jjspw

                            I stopped by there (Kababish) for lunch today. Shared the Paya, Haleem,Chappli Kebab, and Shammi Kebab. Wonderful meal.

                      2. Following Boagman's indirect trail in other posts I went Zayeqa hunting and had my fave Kadahi Gosht with nan but because it was Ramadan the nan wasn't quite fully cooked (ironically better for sopping sauce) so another replacement is offered from the window. Needed a takeaway for dinner and was offered Beef Nihari (with an intentionally underdone nan) in a soup container as compared to the foil platter. Dinner and lunch $14 - no tip required but you just have to with this positive attitude.

                        Although hoof fest wasn't as popular as I thought it would be I'm considering a "rent the empty building next door " catered event for the cooler months.

                        BTW: these guys can cook and they don't sell from the menu what isn't ready. A lady walked in asking for tandoori chicken at 13:30 and she was reminded that Ramadan shifts the fragile chicken to just before dark. While disappointing if I were hungry for tandoori chicken I agree with VTB that the difference between good and great at these prices is efficiency. This is darn good food at market prices. The intimacy is just an added bonus.