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Mae's, Pleasant Ridge, MI - Revisited [DTW]

I'm either extremely picky or there are truly very few excellent breakfast spots in Metro Detroit. I stopped by Mae's for the third time and again....eh. I love that the place is retro and fun, the fact that they rely heavily on local ingredients is a definite plus, I would love to give it a great review but I just cannot.

The concept is excellent, the location great, the owners super nice and the menu is inspired and sounds like it will be fantastic. The problem: everything comes up just short of excellent. The omelets are not seasoned well, the pancakes don't have a lot of flavor (a little vanilla, cinammon or nutmeg would cure that) and the bread and baked goods are fine but nothing spectacular. I love that they make their own jam, which is great, if it were really jam. It's fruit and sugar, there is obviously no pectin in the jam and ends up being soggy and too wet.

I have mentioned this before, I know my wife and I perhaps more critical than the average diner ..but I have found that to be true of many Chowhounders. Am I alone here? I know they are getting a lot of attention and feel horrible that once again I am left wanting after trying a place that is supposed to be fantastic.

I'm thinking maybe we should just stay home and make our own breakfast. We do have a few go to spots that are always pretty good. Breakfast Club (Farmington location) and Chocolate Gallery have never let us down. Any other suggestions?

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  1. I've heard that Toast is good, but I haven't been there myself. Then again, the only real recommendation I can make for breakfast is Frittata in Clawson, unless you're just wanting eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast.

    What can I say? I guess I'm just not a big breakfast guy.

    1. I agree with your other favs. Boagman's recommendations are also good. I prefer Fly Trap to Toast ... and will add that we like Recipe's (Troy), Rendezous (FH) and LA Cafe (Waterford).

      WRT to Mae's; I have not yet visited. I did visit the same location when it was Anna's, and
      found the breakfast to be below average.

      -----
      Fly Trap Restaurant
      22950 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220

      1. Just as good as Breakfast Club but with more seating is Uptown Grille on Maple between M5 and Haggerty. They don't have as many super sweet items like stuffed French Toast etc, but they do have a crab/avocado omlette similar to BC. Last time I was there for breakfast I had a savory crepe and I would order it again.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Wooderson

          I thought they only did Sunday brunch.

          1. re: Fibber McGee

            You may be right, I usually go after my Sunday morning soccer game and never gave it a second thought. They do list their hours as

            6am to 2am M-F
            8am to 2am S-S

            Ok, I just confirmed on their website, they do serve breakfast 7 days a week:

            http://www.uptowngrille.com/menu/upto...

            1. re: Wooderson

              That's good to know. I'd like a breakfast option that's more than just the coney places or Breakfast Club and Gest. Next time my family wants to head to Siegel's, I'll mention it.

              1. re: Fibber McGee

                Recipes at Grand River and Haggerty isn't bad either. Moe's on 10 (10 and Haggerty) is slightly better than a Coney Island for breakfast.

                1. re: Wooderson

                  I do like Recipes, but have only had lunch there. I did like it for breakfast when it was Amy's.

        2. I find the atmosphere in Mae's to be very cosmopolitan which is part of the resto theatre. You can also get the prime counter seats in front of la plancha and watch Charles make the play unfold as the orders come in and the communication and prep. Betty Ross II in Madison Heights has a similar lurking perch. I find the breakfast food at Mae's to be satisfying and fulfilling if not inspiring. Having a meaningful conversation about a NYT article that both you and the Gay/Lesbian counter mate both read this morning adds a little spice to your life, Mae's is the place. BTW, the owner is a freak for NYT crossword puzzles so you can slip her one (or 10) the next time you go. Damn good coffee too. I give the lunch sandwiches a pass. Try the biscuits and gravy with two poached eggs. You won't need to eat again until bedtime.

          3 Replies
          1. re: goatgolfer

            I truly have nothing against Mae's, the owners are very nice people and as I mentioned I really like the feel of the place. The guests are definitely an eclectic crowd, which is fantastic! We have been a total of three times and on our second visit I ordered the biscuits and gravy, the poached eggs were overcooked. It's a food issue with me..otherwise I really like the place. I agree, the coffee is very good. I simply wish they would take that one more step that would make their food excellent! Thanks for the breakfast suggestions!

            1. re: Jack Freeman

              I was totally agreeing with you and just adding another colorful element to the experience. You were spot on and I was giving a backstage appreciation of your encounter. That's what's cool about CH. I get fun out of interaction with a Sunday morning eclectic crowd and the food is pretty good and the atmosphere is cooooool,.

              1. re: Jack Freeman

                Hey Jack,

                I have a similar issue with a restaurant a few blocks away. I love the location (obvioulsy) and the feel of place, but not the food.

                When we moved into our house, we were blessed that we could walk to "The Fonte", the Fonte de Amore, for authentic Italian food and superior service. (And being able to walk to dinner allowed me to briefy pretend I lived in Manhattan. * if only *)

                The Fonte broke my heart and went out of business. I had hope again when the restaurant across the street, DePalma's, burned down and Guilo's Cucina Italiana opened. Sadly, they too only to need to take one more step to make their food excellent, but they just don't do it.

                -----
                Cucina
                725 Woodlake Rd Ste E, Kohler, WI 53044

            2. Couldn't agree more with the Breakfast Club recommendations.

              Some other suggestions:

              Russell Street Deli at Eastern Market is my ultimate breakfast favorite. I had an amazing veggie omelette with swiss chard and cremini mushrooms there last Saturday, fresh squeezed OJ and cherry walnut toast from Avalon Bakery. My husband loves the corned beef hash. He has no interest in Eastern Market, but is happy to join me any time as long as we stop at Russell Street for breakfast. Order the organic eggs for an extra buck if they're available, so worth it.

              If you're feeling adventerous when you're done, there is usually a mushroom guy in the southernmost shed. Last week we bought Morels, black garlic, fiddleheads and ramps. The mushroom guy tried to talk me into truffles, but I told him I had to have something to look forward to in my old age. : )

              Another favorite Saturday routine is yoga at the Yoga Shelter in Royal Oak followed by breakfast at Cafe Muse. Try the orange rum raisin pancakes or any of the egg dishes with fingerling potatoes.

              In West Bloomfield on Orchard Lake north of Maple, Zoe's House of Pancakes has a wide variety of pancakes - I particulary enjoy the pumpkin. I haven't tried them, but when the eggs and skillets go by, they look great too.

              Finally, you can't fail with a farmer's omelette at any of the Senate Coney locations. They're fast, cheap and a tad bit greasy. Perfect for a Sunday morning.

              -----
              Russell Street Deli
              2465 Russell St, Detroit, MI 48207

              Cafe Muse
              418 S Washington Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067

              2 Replies
              1. re: Rosedale

                > Zoe's House of Pancakes

                I concur. Their pancakes are tasty enough that I can enjoy them without butter or syrup ... and
                their skillets are indeed tasty.

                On Sunday mornings, if you arrive after 9AM, be prepared for a 15-20 minute wait. It's also quite noisy.

                1. re: rainsux

                  15-20 minutes? Not bad at all compared to some places for breakfast. I've been wondering about Zoe's. Definitely sounds good and worth trying.