Fall into the season
A quick guide to seasonal dining — and beer
Published: October 26, 2011
Modern Food & Spirits 1535 Cass Lake Rd., Keego Harbor; 248-681-4231: To be sure, Keego Harbor is a schlep for most of us, but it is well worth the time and gas to dine at Modern Food and Spirits, across from Cass Lake. The Modern is an informal little spot with generous portions and reasonable prices — most dinners are under $20, including an unusually imaginative array of comes-with soups and salads — and a menu full of little culinary surprises from around the world. That said, this time of year their menus often feature meaty mains that should fit well with the weather.
The RAW Café 4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-778-9774: After three years as a gourmet raw food delivery service, RAW Café recently set up shop at the corner of Willis and Woodward. Their menu has an array of options including pizza, burgers, wraps, raw juices, pasta dishes and desserts. Besides the "guilt-free" dining, the Café has classes and books to help educate the healthy-nutrition bound individual.
Red Pepper Deli 116 W. Main St., Northville; 248-773-7672: Before she opened the Red Pepper Deli a few years ago, Carolyn Simon had no idea there were so many raw food enthusiasts around. There are. They make up three-quarters of her clientele, and they instruct her on everything from recipes to the science of raw-foodism. But the way Simon does it, raw dishes are scrumptious. Your own cooking — excuse me, dish preparation — might be improved too if you distributed cashews as generously as she does, in everything from salads to pie crust.
SaltWater inside the MGM Grand Casino, 1777 Third St., Detroit; 1-877-888-2121: The opulent interior, themes with the washing of waves, the rippling of water and the blue of the sea, helps set the stage for the contemporary seafood of Michael Mina's SaltWater. The quality ingredients include seasonal produce, giving a taste of autumn to the selections.
Toast Birmingham 203 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-258-6278: The menu is a mix of such firm favorites as burgers and mac-and-cheese (with Gruyére, of course) and less-common options, such as duck pie and venison sausage. The menu is mostly American, with a few ringers such as carnitas and forbidden rice, originally Chinese. Top of the line are a pair of over-the-top burgers. "The Joint" is Piedmontese beef stuffed with blue cheese and topped with basil aioli, tomato jam and skinny crisp onions. It's pungent and mellow at the same time. "Burger Madame" comprises smoked Gouda, romesco (a Catalan sauce) and a fried egg, served on toast. Open 7-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 8-2 a.m. Saturday, and 8-4 p.m. Sunday.
Wolfgang Puck Grille inside the MGM Grand Casino, 1777 Third St., Detroit; 1-877-888-2121: Lest we forget amid the glitz and overpowering design of this casino restaurant, Puck was one of the celebrity chefs who helped popularize a modern American bar-and-grill cuisine that used fresh, seasonal, all-natural and organic ingredients. How seasonal and comforting is the fare? Fall-time ingredients have included wild field mushrooms, zucchini puree, honey-glazed carrots, garlic potato puree, and even a veal wienerschnitzel with warm potato salad, arugula and pumpkin seed oil.
Woodbridge Pub 5169 Trumbull St., Detroit; 313-833-2701: It has only been about a year since the already-successful Woodbridge Pub announced its kitchen was going seasonal. With their new fall menu, introduced a few weeks ago, the seasonal cycle has come full circle. And the selections sound rich and creative. The lunch menu includes seasonal salsa & chips, a mushroom scampi that bathes autumnal wild mushrooms in a rich beurre blanc sauce with melted Parmesan and baguette-style bread crumbs. The dinner menu offers a filling pasta, orecchiette, little ear-shaped discs served with sun-dried tomatoes and spices, and "Trumbull pie," a meat pastry of Black Forest ham, roasted potato, peas, apple, onion and Pinconning cheddar. Of course, the cucurbita family makes appearances on both menus: Lunch has with a butternut squash soup, and dinner has an "autumn strata," a comfort food-type casserole in which pumpkin polenta is mixed with kidney beans, red onion, pepitas and jicama slaw. Seasonal sides include fresh brussels sprouts hearty roasted yams and assimilable wilted kale. And for those who love Woodbridge's burgers, including their vegan black-bean version, rejoice: They're all still available.
Special thanks to editorial intern Ryan Felton for his assistance compiling this column.
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