East meets West
Part one of a roundup of selected Asian restaurants in metro Detroit
Published: January 9, 2013
Inyo Restaurant & Lounge 22871 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-543-9500; inyorestaurant.com; $$$: With a wide-ranging menu, striking presentations and quality cocktails, Inyo has sparked a buzz in Ferndale's dining scene. The dishes have not just flavor, but pleasing texture contrasts within a dish. The sushi menu is the standard makimono (rolls), sashimi and nigiri ranges from ordinary maki to specialties, such as the Inyo roll, which is a marriage of king crab, strawberry, Japanese cucumber and mango sauce all topped with caviar. The space sports oversized, wraparound booths and a granite horseshoe bar, with a soundtrack of easygoing nu-disco and downbeat lounge tunes. Excellent specialty cocktails.
Kabuki 28972 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-538-0664; $$: Kabuki serves a variety of Japanese and Korean specialties, including and bibimbap (a Korean dish served in a stone bowl, with rice, meat, vegetables and egg). A wide assortment of sushi and sashimi is also offered — many of the sushi rolls are the inventions of chef and owner K.J. Lee.
Kai Garden 116 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-995-1785; kaigarden.com: Kai Garden features a menu of more than 180 items. They include the standards — pork fried rice, sweet and sour chicken — as well as more interesting dishes such as catfish hot pot, rose scallops, and spicy pig ears. The steamed sole, a large flat fish, is worth the half-hour wait just to watch the show: Your waitress removes the flesh from the bones with a butter knife. It's steamed first, then sprinkled with matchsticks of ginger and scallions, and served with a rich brown special soy sauce.
Katana Nu-Asian Steakhouse 111 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-591-9900; $$$: Though its menu is Japanese — or perhaps "Japanese-inspired" — there's nothing subtle about Katana Steakhouse. For teppanyaki — "hibachi table cooking" — diners are seated around big cooking surfaces, each manned by an aproned and toqued Chinese chef. Each diner's selection is quickly sautéed, arranged on a plate with the vegetables and presented with three dipping sauces. In addition to the main-attraction grills, diners can also sit at regular tables and order from the small plates menu, which has more of a fusion bent.
Kitchen Hanzo 6073 Haggerty Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-624-8666; $$: This is the type of place where Japanese salarymen go out after work — and there's a large enough clientele to keep this izakaya (pub) thriving. It serves five Japanese beers, sake and hot sochu. Expect small plates of seafood, noodles, sashimi and more. Most of Hanzo's food follows the Japanese model of graceful arrangements, complementary tastes and colors, and light but satisfying food.
Kona Grill 30 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-619-9060; konagrill.com; $$: For a taste of Hawaiian cuisine, which, as on the Big Island itself, is more accurately described as pan-Asian, Kona offers moderately priced fare in an attractive dining environment. Choices range from sushi, noodles and pizza to beef and seafood, featuring ahi, Maui onions, and macadamia nuts as a genuflection to the islands' culinary culture. Most of their mains cost less than $20. The small and versatile wine list has some decent buys in the 20s and 30s.
Korea Palace 34744 Dequindre Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-978-0500; $$: Situated in a modest strip mall, Korea Palace's wood-trimmed, simple, warm decor is similar to plenty of Asian restaurants around town. The staff promptly greets all of the customers, most of whom are Korean, and presents them with the exhaustive, four-page menus. Once they've ordered, guests are given banchan, an assortment of small plates of vegetable-based bites. Most of the appetizers are actually commonly found as street food in South Korea, all generally prepared as one would find them across the Pacific. There are about 50 main dishes from which to choose, each generous with regard to portion size. Broths and noodles encompass a significant portion of the menu at Korea Palace. Other entrées focus on fish and protein: breaded chicken or beef, roasted mackerel, steamed pork belly, braised fish head and daikon radish. The combinations are seemingly endless. Korea Palace also offers barbecue options for the grill-loving carnivore, all around $15. They also have hot pots for two or more people, available for $30-$35 each.
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