Best of Detroit 2013
Nutritional Value - Reader's Choice
Reader's choice for dining in Metro Detroit
Published: March 20, 2013
Best New Restaurant (open less than 2 years)
Best Restaurant for Desserts
27799 Woodward Ave., Berkley
No question about it: Vinsetta Garage was the runaway success of the last year. Not only did it open to universally positive reviews, it was so mobbed for months that diners sometimes faced a two-hour wait on a weekday night. What was the winning formula? Co-owner Curt Catallo brought to Vinsetta’s kitchen the same attention to quality as at his famed Union Woodshop and Clarkston Union. The repurposed building, quirky interior and extensive beer selection borrowed a page from Detroit’s ferociously successful Slows Bar-B-Q. The menu creatively takes classic fare and gussies it up (think hot dogs with bacon jam and sriracha mayo, or a “duck burger” with cherry compote), all while being sensitive to dietary restrictions (especially vegan and gluten-free options). The inventive desserts include a whimsical “s’more trio” and Faygo-flavored ice cream. Taken together, it’s no wonder our readers chose Vinsetta Garage as the best new place to park and fill up.
Best Romantic Restaurant in Wayne County
Best Wine Selection in a Restaurant
Best Casino Restaurant
555 E. Lafayette St., Detroit
Detroit’s casino restaurants are known for lacquering on the decadence, and the newest entry, Greektown Casino’s Brizola, is no exception. Everything gets kicked up a notch: Mac ‘n’ cheese becomes lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes become roasted garlic mashed potatoes, a baked potato becomes a sea-salt-roasted baked potato or, grander still, a twice-baked potato loaded and wrapped with bacon. The menu’s focus, though, is surf and turf, including a lobster ceviche appetizer, Colorado double lamb chops, orange honey barbecued wild salmon, as well as cuts of beef ranging from chipotle-dry-rubbed 10-ounce filet mignon to a 24-ounce T-bone steak. The restaurant also boasts a stylish interior that affords city views, an extensive wine list comprising Old World and New World pours, and an atmospheric bar area. Brizola pulls out all the stops — yes, with prices to match — but who’s counting when you’ve hit the jackpot?
Best Romantic Restaurant in Oakland County
Best Italian Cuisine in Oakland County
Maria’s Front Room
215 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale
It’s interesting that in affluent Oakland County, which brims with Italian restaurants of solid acclaim, year after year our readers award romantic honors to Maria’s Front Room, a cozy trattoria less than a mile from the Detroit city line. Discounting a brief closing five years ago that saw the joint bounce back with a bright redesign, Maria’s has been a stalwart presence in the Ferndale dining scene since the mid-1990s. Though it’s not the candle-in-a-bottle place it once was, the kitchen churns out earthy, hearty, comforting Italian fare that doesn’t pretend to any Batali-like grandeur. Instead, expect the classics — pizza, pasta, chicken, fish and veal — to taste as good as grandma ever made them.
Best Romantic Restaurant in Macomb County
Best Steak in Macomb County
Mr. Paul’s Chophouse
29850 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville
More than 40 years old, Mr. Paul’s is a charmed place lost in time somewhere back in the early postwar era. Here you can have one of the area’s best Caesar salads, prepared with a theatrical flair tableside, often by the owner himself. The chateaubriand steak for two and the cherries jubilee for dessert also involve a tableside show. Liveried waitstaff and an impressive French red-dominated wine list complete the picture.
Best Romantic Restaurant in Washtenaw County
121 W. Washington, Ann Arbor
The Melting Pot
309 S. Main St., Ann Arbor;
26425 Novi Rd., Novi; 248-347-6358
888 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy;
Our readers split on romance. On one hand is the ambience of the Earle, which makes it a perfect spot for a candlelit dinner for two. On the weekends, expect live jazz to accompany a meal that can include such French- and Italian-inspired entrées as escargot vol-au-vent, salmon paté with cognac, baked goat cheese and duck, complemented by an extensive, award-winning wine list. On the other hand, what’s more sensual than easing morsels into each others’ mouths? At the Melting Pot, you can fulfill all of your fondue fantasies. After all, dipping an assortment of breads, vegetables and fruits in your choice of cheese or chocolate fondue can be suggestive indeed.
Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 in Wayne County
Green Dot Stables
2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit
Here’s something hopeful: A taste for quality over quantity among our readers? Instead of choosing a restaurant that will bring you a plate piled high with food-service fare for less than $15, our readers chose Green Dot Stables, where you can get small but tasty “sliders” whose flavors dance all over the map. One could order shoestring fries and four of the joint’s exotic sandwich creations — ranging from corned beef to catfish to a Korean-inspired peanut butter-and-kimchi burger — for $15 plus tax. But with the full bar and the hip and attractive crowd, chances are you’ll have a drink or two and end up busting that budget.
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