A selection of diners, restaurants and bars just down the river
Published: December 7, 2011
Fort Street Brewery 1660 Fort St., Lincoln Park; 313-389-9620; fortstreetbeer.com; $$: Brewpub and restaurant with a friendly atmosphere, games, and a large beer list, including house-brewed suds like “Doug’s Turbo Sarsaparilla,” a root beer flavored beer. Look out for daily specials, such as $4 pepperoni pizzas during Monday Night Football.
Hunan Hunan 4327 Allen Rd., Allen Park; 313-389-0939; $: Offering traditional Chinese fare, plus Cantonese and Mandarin dishes that are done particularly well.
Hungarian-American Cultural Center 26257 Goddard Rd., Taylor; 734-946-6261; hungariandetroit.com; $: Good, solid meals, mostly in the $7 range. Portions are generous. Made-from-scratch dishes, open only on Friday 5- 9 p.m., Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Hungarian Rhapsody 14315 Northline Rd, Southgate; 734-283-9622; therhapsodyrestaurant.com; $$: 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; $$: In the old days, it was called the “Hurry Back Inn.” (Get it?) The bar still exists, although without the euphonious wordplay, in all its shot-and-beer glory. No food.
Joey’s Famous Philly Cheesesteaks 14625 Northline Rd., Southgate; 734-281-4444; joeysfamousphilly.com; $: Welcome to hoagie heaven. Sherri Abbulone, from South Philly, and husband Joey, from Woodhaven, have taken on the challenge of creating authentic Philly cheesesteaks Downriver. In their eight-seat storefront they display a testimonial from a retired Ford employee who moved here 44 years ago; he spent that time vainly searching for a real cheesesteak — until Joey’s opened in August 2005. The term “cheesesteak” is misleading, since the sandwich is mostly meat. Three cheese choices are traditionally offered: the Whiz, American or provolone. At Joey’s, it’s made like this: Thinly slice rib-eye steak and fry a heap of it on the griddle. Grill sweet Vidalias at the same time. If you’re using American or provolone, lay the cheese over the frying steak, to melt it. Turn the whole thing onto a roll flown in from Amoroso’s Bakery in Philadelphia. If you’re a Cheez Whiz traditionalist, that’s dolloped directly onto the roll. The result should be juicy — the life is not cooked out of the steak.
Lions & Tigers & Beers 2929 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte; 734-282-1200; lionstigersbeers.com; $: Downriver sports bar has “award-winning food, excellent service, the coldest beer around, and great drink and dinner specials.” The bar also sports 20 — count ’em, 20 — 40-inch plasma televisions and Wi-Fi.
Mallie’s Sports Bar & Grill 19400 Northline Rd., Southgate; 734-287-0800; malliesbar.com; $$: 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; 734-287-8868; osamurairestaurant.com; $$: The full sushi bar serves traditional rolls as well as the chef’s own creations. If you’re in the mood for something cooked, the teppanyaki chefs grill hibachi-style, flinging shrimp into their hats and setting steak ablaze.
Pier 500 507 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-281-0530; pier500.com; $$: Relax alongside the river by day; by night, put on your dancing shoes. Look for weekly dance party events and special cruises. Special in some folks’ hearts for its reunion shows by George Young & the Youngsters.
Portofino 3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-281-6700; $$$; portofinoontheriver.com: Panoramic water views, Italian cuisine like chicken carbonara and veal marsala, an extensive wine list, and monthly events make this upscale restaurant the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. If you have a boat, the best way to come in is off the water, tie up and enjoy the sunset.
> Email Michael Jackman