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Jan 10, 2014 11:07 AM

Seeking car show dining guidance (round 2!)

Its time to buy a new car again and this year's show looks like there are going to be a million cool things I haven't seen before, so we're heading back to your fair city. Last visit ( ), we did a Coney taste-off and ended up with our fine dining night at Roast. This year I've got three days and nights and a rental car, so I've got more options open this time. We are staying at the hotel where Roast is located, but I'm not adverse to driving if it is worth the trip!

One thing I always like to do is to hit any real local specialties that I haven't had elsewhere. Clearly, I have to get a Detroit pizza. It seems that Supino is the most famous, although Buddy's has its advocates as well. Leaning towards Supino since its pretty close to downtown. Anything else uniquely Detroit I should look for? Paczkis? Any place that strikes you as a must-do even if the food isn't necessarily a regional thing?

It sounds like Roast is still going strong and I have very fond memories of my last trip there. Assuming my friend loses track of his credit card or I find the local poker players inferior to me, any other high end joints I should make an effort to check out in addition or instead?

I assume Detroit has also figured out that if they add an ingredient or two that I've never heard of to a cocktail, they can charge three times as much for it. Any can't-miss craft cocktail spots?

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  1. For cocktails, Sugar House (directly next to Slows BBQ in Corktown) is pretty much hands-down a winner. I have as of yet to hear anyone complain about anything, and the praises I've heard border on the ethereal. Not cheap, but the quality and (possibly more importantly) the *ability* is worth it.

    I haven't tried it yet, but if you're willing to drive a bit (not too far), Marais is new, and I hear it's outstanding. It's been put together by the former executive chef at Forest Grill, and under his watch, Forest Grill was amazing. This, again, is going to be your high end joint, but it sure looks terrific. I haven't been there myself yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

    I'd also suggest that you skip the coneys this time, since you've already done it, and since I just don't think they're worth the time. Instead, experience the best Middle Eastern food outside of the actual Middle East in the Dearborn area. Check this board for various threads on the subject. I don't want to influence you one way or the other.

    One more thing: Supino's Pizza may be great (haven't been there myself), but it IS NOT Detroit-style pizza. For that, I'd suggest Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park as the hallmark of Detroit-style pizza. It's better than Buddy's IMHO, but Buddy's can be just fine, too, on a good day. On a bad day? Buddy's isn't all that. Last time I had it, though? Quite good. Fair's fair.

    1. Fancy cocktails: Sugar Shack; downtown, take a cab from your hotel.

      If you are willing to get waaay out of the city; The Root in White Lake Township has yet to disappoint.

      I really like the breakfasts at:

      - The Flytrap in Ferndale
      - The Chocolate Gallery in Warren
      - Fritattas @ Fritatta in Clawson (plan on $20/head)
      - Everything @ Cafe Muse in Royal Oak

      I prefer to get my Coney and Italian Beef fixes @ Hippo's in Troy.

      Chicken Shawarma @ Budapest Grill (downtown)

      Pizza? Supinos (downtown) is probably the best in the
      area. Buddy's is fine. Some like Loui's better (Hazel Park)

      Do you like Polish food? Consider Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramck.

      We had a recent debate re: Italian subs ... considerable debate, little agreement. Well, we did agree that paying a bit extra for the hard roll is money well spent. At Ventimiglia, ask for the artisan roll.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rainsux

        That's Bucharest Grill, not Budapest Grill. Supino is New York-style pizza and very good, and inexpensive. I'm not sure you can get a Detroit-style pizza downtown—the big places in Greektown are Chicago style.

        1. re: Jim M

          Jim M. Is correct regarding Bu* Grill... Sadly, auto-correct on this tablet will not let me enter the correct city/restaurant name... Grrrr

          1. re: rainsux

            I hate to say this, but I'm pretty sure that it's Sugar *House*, not Sugar "Shack", too. But I'm not that picky. ;)

      2. Not sure what you're really looking for at the higher end, but I might suggest Torino, in Ferndale. It's just up Woodard on Nine Mile. The tasting menu changes each week...not for the hearty eater...more for the adventurous. The menu is unique and each bite is truly an adventure for your tastebuds. They also serve craft cocktails.

        1. I like Sugar House but rather than having two drinks there, I urge you to have one, and then drive just down the street (westwardly) and have one at Two James Distillery as well. Great vibe in there, and the (craft) homemade taste is a unique experience. Why not try whiskey that DIDN'T come out of the back end of a factory? I really liked the gin, too, though I would encourage them to go more "experimental" with the spices and botanicals. I exchanged some emails with one of the partners, Andrew, and these guys really just seem cool. I can't wait for them to release their calvados and wormwood absinthe! (My brain was fried long ago, anyways)

          PS-- for food, definitely don't miss middle eastern. .. a tour of Warren Ave would be great. Shatila, Al-Ameer, Cedarland, New Yasmeen, Hamido?

          1. I'm wandering completely off the grid, and going to suggest a breakfast at the Plaka Cafe on Monroe Street. The place features impatient wait staff, cops, gamblers, hipsters, occasional street people; a montage of humanity calling metro Detroit home.

            The food: forgettable. The experience: memorable.

            4 Replies
            1. re: RedTop

              I'll do you one better and say the food is terrible. But you're spot on about the ambience. I find it best enjoyed at 2:30 am after the bar crawl.

              1. re: charlesbois

                Wow, that sounds...awful. In every way. ;)

              2. re: RedTop

                I've only ever been to Plakas while hung over, and it was perfect for that!

                1. re: RedTop

                  I'm a semi-professional poker player, so someplace to eat at 3 or 4 am with surly wait staff is likely to be on the agenda. Duly noted.