Green dot stables (DTW, MI)
I believe opened around Memorial day weekend. New slider place Downtown.
Location: Interesting. A few blocks south of corktown, closer to the riveredge. There's nothing but empty industrial building around it. To be honest, kind of scary if you're going there after dark, don't have a CCW, or Y chromosome. Having said that the parking lot was packed on a Wednesday night with legitimate flow of people in and out. I don't know the history behind the building, but its a cool spot. Hipster chic with a cool bar area and foosball table.
Service: Everybody was super friendly, a touch slow. no major comments.
Food: 17 types of sliders, with one rotating "mystery meat" slider. all between 2-3 dollars. Fries prepared a bunch of ways (cajun, Poutine, Ranch, chili cheese, malt vinegar). some odd side salads, mac/cheese (which came recommended.. more on that later), and some soups. Clearly the sliders are the star of the show. As an example of our gluttony, between the me and two friends we covered most of them.
Corned beef: Corned beef. What can you say? A corned beef sandwhich in small format. Personally, I love mine with a 3:1 meat to bread ratio, so I say save some stomach room, and make a separate trip to Mudgies or Stage Deli.
Shredded pork: Pretty good. Good balance of flavors between the pork apple, and cabbage. Cabbage gives it a next textural crunch. A solid B
Lamb: Again. Lamb burger. Good, but nothing stupendous. B
BCT: My friend raved about it. light, crisp, flavorful. Do try
Korean: The star of the show. Its a very interesting cascade of flavors. Bite into it, and its beefy/bready of a typical hamburger. Then the acid, unmistakable crunch of Kim Chi comes in, and after that dies down this sweet rich depth of peanut butter. Very, Very interesting. Clearly a 4:20 induced combination but it surprisingly works out well. Do Try
Ham and swiss: This was ordered as an afterthought. Sound simple? But there's something to be said about simple things done to perfection. My personal favorite. Thick cuts of perfectly done ham, slightly heated with melted goops of harmonious swiss cheese on top. The best of the meat:cheese:bread ratio all day.
Mystery meat: Ours was a Vindaloo Lamb Neck with Fig Chutney. Yummy! But I'm a sucker for indian food. Moist, tender, fatty lamb neck done in a mild vindaloo sauce with a touch of sweet to round it out.
Au poivre: Meh. dry. Pepper overpowered everything. Pass.
Hot Brown: My friend enjoyed it. Bacon/cheese/chicken interplay works.
Bologna: Having never tried this detroit staple, I devoured mine. Deep fried processed nitrate infested meats? How can one go wrong. Maybe the Filipinos are on to something with thier SPAM friend rice. I can see how one might say this was a touch too salty or greasy. But to you, I don't care.
Fries Au Poutine: Good. Nick thick gravy in which the fries were swimming. They were a touch cheap on the cheese. SPeaking of, what does real cheese curds taste like? Different from other cheese? How does one well the difference? The other modifier is maybe thicker steak-style fries in the gravy would help sop up the fluids better. still good. would over again.
Mac/Cheese - umm.. I'm torn. I mean, the Mornay sauce was good. Sort of a more simple alfredo. The pasta was al dente. But I wasn't sold. I like my Mac and cheese with oompth and style. Check Slows, J Alexanders, or Cameron's for pointers.
Chicken Paprikash soup: Torn. Ive never had it before so I wasn't sure what to expect. But nice deep, rich broth jazzed up with sour cream and I think sauekraut? Some small bits of spatzle added something. I like my soups with STUFF IN IT! Lots of chicken, lots of spatzle. here was mostly broth. But the broth was sure tasty. I used the top bun of my sliders to soak it in.
Drinks: Excellent Beer selection (IPA lovers try the racer5) and CHEAP prices. I tried the "premium" summer soda. Pass. It needs to be reworked.
Overall: Very Detroit. Its location makes it hard to reach, and a one stop place. you go there eat, get in your car, drive up the road to sugar house. Food was fun and novel. There's a few things I'd like to see them tinker with before I give them worship status. Sliders should have a super soft, light fluffy bun. I hate to say it but White Castle does that best. Having the component separated, the essential parts of a basic slider/hamburger, its average. The burger is dry in some, under spiced/salted in others. But when jazzed up with everything else, or the non-beef patty ones it is good. I DID enjoy the meal. I DID enjoy the experience. Would I drive 30min downtown JUST for it? Prob not at this point.
Here's the best single piece I've seen written about Green Dot, it's history (why Stables?) and its new owners. It was written pre-opening, or very early on. They did weeks and weeks of what might be considered soft opening, serving weekday lunch food only, back before their liquor license came through.
Note that Green Dot was (re) opened on a shoestring, really, realtive to typical restaurant opening costs.
BCT is Bacon, Cucumber, Tomato.
I've been going there for lunch off and on since they opened, and went again yesterday.
Their food was good, interesting and approachable/affordable to begin with. What's been impressive (and, I think, unusual) is how they've been able to improve continuously-- they rather methodically work on the little things, one thing at a time, and they absolutely listen to customers.
The sliders I had yesterday were vastly better than those I had 2 weeks ago. The difference? They changed the buns, going to a formulation their (local) supplier created for them. The bottoms especially are thicker now (but still very light), and the tops are no longer shriveled looking as in the past. I ate my sliders with a fork, and left the bun tops on the tray-- really enhanced my enjoyment of the contents!
One of the sliders I enjoyed yesterday was the catfish. I'd normally not go out of my way for catfish, and just got it because I've been working my way through the menu and it's the only fish. The portion was lightly coated, perfectly cooked and sparingly sauced-- absolutely the equal of nice fish I've eaten elsewhere at four times the entree price.
I'm not a fan of french fries, never order them and always leave them if they come with something else. I tried theirs once because I was interested in one of the toppings-- and became immediately addicted.
I tried their Chicken Paprikash soup one chilly day. I now consider it a comfort food staple, right up there with mac & cheese-- unless I get the occasional bowl that's a bit too heavy on the sour cream. The kitchen still (understandably) has missteps here and there.
They're still tweaking the beverage menu and tracking down suppliers for things customers have requested and they've liked-- yet another indication of their commitment to getting it right and making it better, one step at a time and within their very limited budget.
I'm predicting lines out the door and around the block any day now.
I worked in/by Corktown for many, many years. We used to go toe Green Dot for lunch. When I read the the news on it, I totally had a flashback, in a good way. It was an old style bar, but not totally for sloshing in the a.m. or afternoon and I can remember good food, but not what we ordered. It was a great break and close by and good chow. Glad they're still there.
This is fun. I went tonight (Monday night around 8PM), expecting an easy-for-them night because, I mean, it's Monday! Who goes out to eat on a Monday?
Answer: enough people to completely fill up the parking lot, and every single seat in the place. Want to sit at the bar? WRONG. You're just a single diner? BUZZ! No seats available! You will *wait* like a schnook, but it's no problem, because you're the first in line, and the people, both employees and clientele, are easy going and part of the fun experience. I didn't wait long at all, but be warned that there really isn't any place for a group of any size to wait around.
The hostess Christine was really nice. Genuine smile, good sense of humor, knowledgable, and a good introduction to the place. Actually, every person I interacted with was easy to deal with, and while the kitchen did get bogged down by what I can only imagine is the sheer magnitude of people/orders that were coming in fast and furious, service was still very good. They understood that things were running a bit slow, and they did give me a slight discount off my bill (without being asked or anything!) at the end of the night. A nice touch, but in a place like this, the affordability is already great, so I wouldn't really have been complaining.
For all of the great people and service, the place itself is pretty nice, too. It's been redone to where you're sure you're eating in a clean environment, but it's still pretty old school and cool. I really liked the table top where I was sitting, and the chair was pretty good. There's a foosball table and an antique dragline crane in there as well, in the very limited space that's not filled with tables and booths. It's not a huge place, but they've made efficient use of the space. Plus, while there certainly are televisions, they're not distractingly *everywhere*, which is a good thing in my book. Like Imperial in Ferndale, this seems to be a place which encourages conversation, though not to the same degree (no community tables, for example). If you're going here expecting a BW3 experience, you'll be greatly disappointed.
If you're going here for great food and cocktails, though? On the money. Oh yes.
"Wait...Boag drinks?" He does here! Believe it or not, they have $3 cocktails, and I had *two* of them, because...because they're $3! And they're stinking *good*! I initially tried the Moscow Mule, which is ginger beer, vodka, and fresh lime, and I liked it. I happen to like ginger beer, and that's the primary taste here, but with a kick, and at $3, it was certainly good enough to justify its existence and its price. I might get one again in the future, should I be so inclined. At $3 even a cheapskate like me can choose to imbibe.
For my *second* (GASP!) cocktail, I had the Summer Soda, again $3, and I stinking *loved* this one, especially once I stirred it up a bit to recombinate the sweet syrup that had settled on the bottom. This really easy-to-love cocktail *tastes* like summer, with lemon, basil, cucumber, vodka, and soda. I will *definitely* be having one of these the next time I go. Maybe two.
As a side note, I'd like to once again remind restaurants that having some cheapie cocktails like this is a very nice way to boost your bottom lines. If they can get *me* to crack my wallet and be *happy* about it, surely you can, too! Yes, yes, you can still charge the extra $1 for premium liquors (GDS offers this option, too), which I won't go for, because I just don't care about alcohol that much, but look at it this way: I spent $6 more than I would have normally, *and* I have good things to say!
On to the food, which is the real deal, here. I'll start with the absolute Home Run they had tonight:
Mystery Meat ($3): pork belly with hoisin glaze. Nothing shy of *solid* "A" territory, here! This, in a word: amazing. It may very well be the best pork belly of any kind I've ever had. Perfectly cooked, wonderfully sauced, it spoke quite boldly for itself. It's an absolute freaking STEAL at $3, and if I'd been smart, I'd have ordered 2 more of them immediately. They ran out of them while I was there, and I couldn't get more. Neither could anyone else...and this was a supply that was supposed to last them 3 days! They had already sold 41 of them by 1PM! I'm begging on my hands and knees for them to put this on the full time menu at $4. If this is available, GET IT. The *only* reason I can see for me not having a plate of 5 of these is sheer guilt, gluttony, or the fact that they ran out. They are the bee's knees...and even if you don't know that you want one, trust me: you do.
Second place: catifish ($3). Little. Yellow. Different. Better. Yes, that may be the slogan for an old OTC medication, but it also proves true here. Simply delicious, and quite simple. Lightly battered catfish served piping hot with a pretty runny (yet still good) tartar sauce on top. Solid B+ territory. Very, very tasty, with perfectly cooked fish. It doesn't take much to overcook catfish, and they didn't. It was very enjoyable, and I can see myself having a few of these.
Third place: BBQ Bacon ($3). Has a beef patty, some bacon, some sweet potato, and home housemade BBQ sauce, and it comes together quite well! It can be a bit drippy, but I really liked this one, too. Very much a B...good flavors. I could eat more than one of these quite easily.
Fourth place: curry chicken ($3). An impressively sized piece of chicken breast that is good, but the other flavors that I were hoping would be stronger really didn't come through as much as needed. Not that I didn't like it! It's still good, it's just not *as good* as the others...would that the curry, onions, and orange were stronger in it. C or C+ here. It's still nothing objectionable at all, but I so, so wanted the flavors to set off the chicken a bit more.
Fifth place: shredded pork ($2). The only real disappointment, and I have to say that based on the given ingredients (pork butt, red cabbage, Granny Smith apples), I was genuinely surprised at how dull it was. The flavors just don't make themselves known on this particular slider as compared to the others (though the curry chicken is kind of muted as well), and I just wasn't all that impressed. It got eaten, and at $2, it's absolutely fine, but I'm certainly not craving any more of them. I guess this one just needs something more, or more of something that's already there. D+ or C-, but I could eat one again. I just wouldn't want to order this *instead of* one of the others.
I didn't bother trying the fries tonight, but that's something that could easily be done in the future. The truffle/herb fries at $3 sound tempting, and I'm a bit tempted to try the chicken paprikash soup. In fact, there are *lots* of things I want to try, and try again. I want to give the lamb slider a try, and the Korean, the BCT, perhaps even the corned beef or the au poivre (though I've been duly warned on the last one). And maybe venison chili fries (no cheese!), or Almond and Roasted Garlic soup, or sorbet! There's more than enough to keep me coming back here.
In the end, though? What made the biggest impression on me was that Mystery Meat slider, the Summer Soda, the catfish slider, and the staff. All came together to make it a great first time experience, and I'm *really* looking forward to going back there. My total bill (with tax and tip) was $21 (down from $24 due to the slight discount they'd taken away for the slowness issue), and I definitely enjoyed my experience for that amount of money. The sliders are about 4-4.5 bites each, making them what I consider to be a "correctly-sized" slider.
You who haven't been should call *tomorrow* and find out if they have the pork belly slider, and if they do, GO. And be smarter than me! Get yourself more than one! I promise you won't be sorry you did.
P.S. One more thing: yes, the kitchen's open until 1AM, but from 10PM to 1AM, it's only a *limited menu*, so you can't go in late night expecting to have all access to everything. There are about 6 or so sliders offered on the limited menu (1/3 of the normal offerings), so keep this in mind. Don't keep it from letting you go, though...have a Summer Soda or two, and soon you'll forget *all about* the fact that you can't order everything on the menu. And you just won't care. ;)
I should note that I went back this Monday, and while the initial "Whoa, Nellie!" response is somewhat tempered with the absence of the pork belly with hoisin sauce slider that I had the first time, GDS is still a great place to go to.
The Summer Soda still ranks really high, and at $3, you simply have to try it. You *have* to. And I hardly ever drink!
Gotta say it up top: the Catfish, of all the regular sliders I've tried, reigns supreme. It's just the head of the collective class. Yes, I'd put the pork belly Mystery Meat slider ahead of it, but that was only available the one time (no word on when/if it's ever coming back, either). Having gone through at least ten of the sliders, this one is, for sure, a front-runner.
I also tried the following this time:
Lamb (with rosemary hummus and pickles) at $3. Pretty good. Another that comes across with a somewhat muted flavor, and that could be attributed to the fact that the lamb is ground, and that the hummus is rather spartan (or at least it was on mine), but it's still pretty good. I'd have another if I was in the mood.
Au Poivre (with peppercorns and cognac aioli) at $3: Better than expected. The pepper is the strongest flavor, yes, but the other flavors and textures stood up for themselves as well. A pleasant surprise.
Korean (with peanut butter and kimchi) at $3: I so badly wanted to dismiss this one as a gimmick, and I would say that, to a degree it is...but darned if I didn't finish every bite of it. It's certainly weird, but not bad. Not my favorite, but not bad. It should at least be tried, quite frankly.
I also tried the truffle and herb fries, which were merely okay. They were $3, overly salty, piping hot, and really didn't strike me as being either truffle-ey or herby. 'Twas probably the over salting that did it, but if I wanted fries again, I'd probably just go with the $2 standard version. It's a rather meager serving size, but for $2, I wouldn't complain.
Service was once again very good. The staff was about 50% recognizable to me from the last time I was there, and they're quite easy to get along with.
No issues this time, and no discounts on the bill. I walked out the door at $24 or $25 (can't remember which), having had five sliders (2 being catfish), fries, and a Summer Soda. I must say that it's easier to tip higher when the sales tax is already built into the price on the menu.
I'm still taken with the place, but I must admit: a good bit of the draw has to do with either trying new sliders, or the allure of that day's Mystery Meat. On this past Monday, it was a duck slider, but it came with a cream cheese that I didn't want any part of, and I thought that the slider would be too dry without it. That's one minor quibble about the place if you really need to find one: they really don't do substitutions at all on any of their sliders, so they tend to be "What you see is what you get." They are open to deleting items, but not subbing them out.
It's still a winner in my book so far. I keep trying new sliders (still want to try the BCT, Corned Beef, and other Mystery Meat ideas), and the soups and such. It's fun being able to pick and choose without being unkind to one's wallet.