Al-Ameer in Dearborn (Warren Ave.), MI
Finally got it it my head that I was going to try this place tonight, and of course, I chose the "wrong" one. Didn't remember that there was a difference between the two locations, and this one was closer to where my final destination was tonight.
Long story short: quite good. I tried the Lamb Ghallaba with "brown rice" (it's not actually brown rice) and a fattoush salad. While I wish the lamb had had a bit more of its own flavor, the dish itself was quite yummy. The lamb was thankfully *not* overcooked at all, and the veggies present were nicely prepared in the slurry (they call it a salsa, which I find odd, but whatever). I had enough to take home a decent portion of it for later.
The fattoush salad was good, but not great. A bit too heavy-handed with the parsley (not to the point of it being bad, though), but to almost make up for it, I *really liked* the fattoush itself! Usually the dried bread in a fattoush salad is something that I don't really like, but in this case? Good stuff, Maynard! Certainly not my favorite fattoush in the area, but I ate every last bit of it, so it certainly was good.
I asked for, and received, a small amount of garlic sauce to go with the fresh, light bread pieces they brought out. Bread was good, but not as good as, say, La Pita. The garlic sauce itself was decent, but far more runny than I was expecting, and I've had several versions that were better elsewhere. Still: it worked well and served its purpose with the bread, and I wouldn't refuse it. It's just not as good as others have been.
A note about the service: my server's name was Diana, and she was really good. Knew her menu, answered questions, was able to *differentiate* between dishes being asked about with quality answers, and did little things well. She even brought me a sample of their lentil soup to see if it was something I'd like (functional, but there are better out there for sure). There isn't one thing I wanted that I didn't receive from her, and I tipped her well. She was working hard, and her knowledge and offers of help and recommendations were well-received. She's good at her job, for certain.
So then, for being at the "wrong" Al-Ameer, I walked out for a shave under $20 (tax/tip included), quite happy with my experience. I can go here again without any issue, and now I want to try the next dish Diana recommended, as well as the chicken shawarma sandwich. Somehow I have the feeling that the sandwich might disappoint me a bit based on the garlic sauce I had, but it wouldn't be terrible, either.
Pleased I was able to try this place out.
Ah. Sorry I didn't include that, Gan911. Here's the lowdown:
The "wrong" one, which is the one I went to:
12710 W. Warren Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
The "right" one, which is *not* the one I went to:
27346 Ford Rd.
Dearborn Hts., MI 48127
I want to note again that even though I went to the "wrong" one, it was still plenty good. No issues at all, and I enjoyed myself. Sure, some things could have been a bit better (the bread, the garlic sauce, the lentil soup, the too-heavy-on-the-parsley fattoush...), but even so, every one of those things were still at least good, so it's just kind of comparing them to the best I've had elsewhere. Were I to be near there again, I'd go again without hesitation. The service, too, was great.
I'm not understanding how Ford Rd, the new-kid location, got to be the "right" one. The original Al Ameer, the one that's gotten the national publicity and the one Bourdain visited, etc. is the W Warren location along the "Little Beirut" strip.
I'm not particularly fond of it, though, and haven't been for a while. I think Hamido (the W Warren location, not *their* Ford Rd outpost) does the classic basics better. For more homestyle dishes I've come to really appreciate Cedarland. IMO they have the best crushed lentil soup, too.
Intriguing post. I come to the general area of Detroit maybe once or twice a year. Last Summer I tried Al Ameer, and the Ford Rd. one, as it happens. I thought it was fantastic. Great grilled flavor in the lamb and various kebabs and veggies. Nice garnishments. But from how you describe the food at your visit, it isn't clear to me what makes your location the wrong one. If you ever try the other location, I hope you'll post with your comparative assessment. It might well be that both places fall short of your highest hopes.
For me, living in northern Indiana, I don't take places like this one for granted!
re: Bada Bing
Well, heh, the "wrong" label only applies so far as to other threads I've been reading on Al-Ameer, which almost universally say that the Ford Road location is superior to the Warren Ave. location. I didn't realize it at the time I was traveling to get there, so I'm not honestly sure that there will be an actual difference from one place to the next. I would hope that the lentil soup would be better at the Ford Road location, and possibly the garlic sauce.
You're right, though: I enjoyed what I had (though again, I wish the lamb's flavor had been stronger in the ghallaba), and the service was very good. It's absolutely going to be better than what one might get in Indiana, yes. I daresay the Middle Eastern food we Detroit area folks enjoy is *the* best outside of the Middle East itself, simply because the area's concentration of Middle Eastern folk is second only to the Middle East itself.
I enjoy several places, some more than others, and yes, some for certain dishes and others for other dishes.