A selection of diners, restaurants and bars just down the river
Published: November 14, 2012
Hunan Hunan 4327 Allen Rd., Allen Park; 313-389-0939; $: Offering traditional Chinese fare, plus Cantonese and Mandarin dishes that are done particularly well.
Hungarian-American Cultural Center 26257 Goddard Rd., Taylor; 734-946-6261; hungariandetroit.com; $: Good, solid meals, mostly in the $7 range. Portions are generous. Made-from-scratch dishes, open only on Friday 5- 9 p.m., Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Hungarian Rhapsody 14315 Northline Rd, Southgate; 734-283-9622; therhapsodyrestaurant.com; $$: Authentic Hungarian cuisine like chicken paprikas with dumplings, stuffed cabbage, and Hungarian goulash satisfy a yearning for the old country, while handmade Kalocsa linens adorn each table and Hungarian artifacts line the walls.
Hurry Back Bar 3764 W. Jefferson Ave., Ecorse; 313-382-8730; $$: In the old days, it was called the "Hurry Back Inn." (Get it?) The bar still exists, although without the euphonious wordplay, in all its shot-and-beer glory. No food.
Joey's Famous Philly Cheesesteaks 14625 Northline Rd., Southgate; 734-281-4444; joeysfamousphilly.com; $: Welcome to hoagie heaven. Sherri Abbulone, from South Philly, and husband Joey, from Woodhaven, have taken on the challenge of creating authentic Philly cheesesteaks Downriver. In their eight-seat storefront they display a testimonial from a retired Ford employee who moved here 44 years ago; he spent that time vainly searching for a real cheesesteak — until Joey's opened in August 2005. The term "cheesesteak" is misleading, since the sandwich is mostly meat. Three cheese choices are traditionally offered: the Whiz, American or provolone. At Joey's, it's made like this: Thinly slice rib-eye steak and fry a heap of it on the griddle. Grill sweet Vidalias at the same time. If you're using American or provolone, lay the cheese over the frying steak, to melt it. Turn the whole thing onto a roll flown in from Amoroso's Bakery in Philadelphia. If you're a Cheez Whiz traditionalist, that's dolloped directly onto the roll. The result should be juicy — the life is not cooked out of the steak.
Magdaleno Italiano 962 Dix Hwy., Lincoln Park; 313-386-0260; $$: Chef-owner Ernesto Magdaleno, born in Puebla, Mexico, has worked in New York's Little Italy, and for seven years was a chef at top-flight Bacco Ristorante in Southfield. Now he's intent on replicating the elegance of the dishes he practiced there, at half the price. The result is a disconnect: You just don't expect such quality ingredients — house-made pastas, for instance — and such from-scratch attention to detail in a place with no liquor license. Besides embarrassingly low prices and excellent tastes, the other thing to know about Magdaleno is that you'll end up with plenty of food. Both the meat and the pasta entrées come with soup or salad, and the soups are large and thick, full of goodies cut with a generous hand. Of Magdaleno's 13 pasta dishes, 11 cost $10 or less. They are gems of fresh flavors. Take a simple ricotta ravioli — the little pillows are bathed in a tomato sauce that's not bright red but mellowed with cream. Gemelli Norcina, the signature dish, is twisted pasta with a sauce made of house-made sausage, truffle oil and tomato cream sauce — a disconcerting orange color but sublime. Cavatelli funghi is for mushroom lovers, with wild ones and porcini in a strong, winy sauce. There's also a seafood soup with salmon, calamari and a lot more; veal Marsala, Parmesan and Milanese (the latter topped with arugula); and, if you must, a New York strip. Hell, there's even an American section with ribs, wings and an $8 half-pound ground sirloin burger. What's more, diners should be able to figure out an easy way around the lack of a liquor license — ask about bringing your own, perhaps.
Mallie's Sports Bar & Grill 19400 Northline Rd., Southgate; 734-287-0800; malliesbar.com; $$: Maybe you saw Mallie's on an episode of Man vs. Food, the one where they cook up a 190-pound burger as big as a car tire. Not only does Mallie's regularly serve 10-pounders, they recently broke their own Guinness World Record, creating a 338.6-pound hamburger. Well done!
Michelangelo's Italian Bistro 152 Elm St., Wyandotte; 734-283-8200; michelangelositalianbistro.com; $$: Lunch and dinner menus; serves "true Italian cuisine."
Moro's Dining 6535 Allen Rd., Allen Park; 313-382-7152; morosdining.com; $$: Time warp! Old-fashioned (tuxedoed) professional service. Most entrées cost around $12 and include everything from soup to nuts. Owner Thomas Moro butchers his own veal, the house specialty.
Oak Café 1167 Oak St., Wyandotte; 734-283-8380; oakcafe.com; $: A quasi-dive bar that compensates not accepting credit cards with reasonable pricing. The minimal lighting and tightly-packed seating arrangement might be off-putting for some patrons; but a look at their extensive beer selection on tap, including favorites like Moose Drool and Founder's Oatmeal Stout, and the seasonal Great Lakes Christmas Ale will surely lighten those woes. The Oak doesn't put all its eggs in a laundry list of booze though. There are enough greasy, palette-pleasing plates to choose from, including the peculiar mac 'n' cheese bites, crispy, beer-battered pub pickles, pulled pork sandwiches, half-pound burgers and more.
O'Samurai Japanese Steakhouse 23471 Eureka Rd., Taylor; 734-720-4768; osamurairestaurant.com; $$: The full sushi bar serves traditional rolls as well as the chef's own creations. If you're in the mood for something cooked, the teppanyaki chefs grill hibachi-style, flinging shrimp into their hats and setting steak ablaze.
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