With the auto show hitting Detroit, here's a sampling of some worthy restaurants in and around downtown
Published: January 12, 2011
Niki's Pizza 735 Beaubien St.; 313-961-4303; nikispizza.com; $: Just outside of Greektown, Niki's Pizza offers a full menu of Greek foods and square pizzas; patio seating in good weather.
Opus One 565 E. Larned St.; 313-961-7766; opus-one.com; $$$$: Etched glass and marble are lavished on downtown's handsomest restaurant. The kitchen makes virtually everything from scratch, and the menu changes seasonally, typified by such dishes as medallions of veal with Madeira sauce, rack of lamb and seafood en croute. The pastry cart is hard to resist.
Orchid Thai 115 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-962-0225; $$: How to choose among the chef's 59 entrées? Actually, there are 337, since most are available with chicken, beef, pork, tofu, shrimp, scallops or squid as the anchor ingredient. Many offer "vegetables" as well. Soups are great, including the citrusy gai tom ka ($2.50).
Oslo 1456 Woodward Ave.; 313-962-7200; oslodetroit.com; $$$: Expect superior Thai dishes, fresh sushi, a creamy and salty tom kha with generous chunks of chicken and peppery yet luscious drunken noodles. Closed Sundays.
Pizza Papalis Taverna 553 Monroe St.; 313-879-0038; pizzapapalis.com; $$: When Pizza Papalis first opened in Greektown in the 1980s, Chicago-style pizza was a gamble. Having now outlasted several neighbors, Papalis' several locations are a sure thing.
Plaka 535 Monroe St.; 313-962-4687; $: Who knew that a tiny 24-hour diner in Greektown would have not only the best French toast in the city, but in the entire universe? Lively at 2:30 a.m.
Rattlesnake Club 300 River Place Dr.; 313-567-4400; rattlesnakeclub.com; $$$: The name was chosen to denote energy and this place hums with it. Fresh, seasonal, simple menu: grilled fish, steaks and chops as well as imaginative dishes. Airy and sophisticated riverfront setting. Closed Sundays.
Roast 1128 Washington Blvd.; 313-961-2500; roastdetroit.com; $$$$: No ordinary steakhouse or barbecue joint, with all meat naturally raised and dry-aged for a minimum of 21 days. The same amount of gastronomic attention is paid to the poultry and seafood dishes.
Roostertail 100 Marquette Dr.; 313-822-1234; roostertail.com; $$$: For almost a half-century, the Roostertail has been synonymous with the sort of snazzy, riverfront fine dining and entertainment.
Russell Street Deli 2465 Russell St.; 313-567-2900; russellstreetdeli.com; $: This chattery Eastern Market deli serves lunch on weekdays and lunch and breakfast on Saturdays to a loyal crowd. Closed Sundays.
Sala Thai 3400 Russell St.; 313-831-1302; salathai.us; $: Curries, fried rice, Thai salads and noodles all done in authentic Thai style. Extensive appetizer selections, sushi service and tasty soups. Vegetarian entrées too. Lively setting.
Shangri-La 4710-12 Cass Ave.; 313-974-7669; midtownshangri-la.com; $$: Quirky interior, extremely attentive servers, and excellent dim sum, those small plates that are something like Chinese tapas. Most dim-sum are $2.95 to $3.50, and most offer a bite or so for at least three diners.
Sindbad's 100 Saint Clair St.; 313-822-7817; sindbads.com; $$: Roadhouse fare with an emphasis on steaks, chops and fish. The all-you-can-eat brunch buffet makes a great Sunday morning.
Slows Bar-BQ 2138 Michigan Ave.; 313-962-9828; slowsbarbq.com; $$: In a meticulously revamped 1880s building, Slows caters to a mix of hipsters, folks from area businesses, and suburban brew lovers. Excellent barbecue and amazing beer selection. Often a wait.
Small Plates 1521 Broadway; 313-963-0497; smallplates.com; $: The diminutive dishes here run the gamut from hand-cut fries to pan-seared scallops. And they make almost everything in-house, including their own mayo and ketchup!
Supino Pizzeria 2457 Russell St.; 313-567-7879; supinopizza.com; $$: Brilliant thin-crust pizza with imaginative fresh ingredients and a delectable thin crust that's not too chewy. Also excellent is the housemade manicotti.
Tom's Oyster Bar 519 E. Jefferson Ave.; 313-964-4010; tomsoysterbar.com; $$: Right across from the RenCen, noisy and cheerful at lunchtime and after work, Tom's gives a very convincing impression of a well-preserved 19th century pub.
Traffic Jam & Snug 511 W. Canfield St.; 313-831-9470; trafficjamdetroit.com; $$: Serves interesting food, much of it is made in-house, brewing their own beers, baking their own bread, even making their own ice cream.
Union Street 4145 Woodward Ave.; 313-831-3965; unionstreetdetroit.com; $$: Art Deco decor, eclectic crowd. Menu ranges from chicken wings to homemade pastas to filet mignon. More than 100 beers; excellent wine list. Sunday brunch is noon-7 p.m.
Vicente's Cuban Cuisine 1250 Library St.; 313-962-8800; vicente.us; $$: Familiar elements from the Caribbean are here — plantains, yuca, papas rellenas, thin beefsteak and lots of black beans and rice. Come for dinner, stay for dancing lessons.
Vivio's 2460 Market St.; 313-393-1711; viviosbloodymary.com; $$: Decked out in historic ads and posters, Vivio's is the place to get a 20-ounce porterhouse, a full pound of crab legs, "pub style" mussels or a great Bloody Mary.
Wasabi Korean & Japanese Cuisine 15 E. Kirby St., Suite E; 313-638-1272; wasabidetroit.com; $$: Wasabi's bibimbab is best served in a heated stone bowl; it's huge and infinitely satisfying on a cold night. Sushi in all the usual varieties is offered, artfully done and of excellent quality.
The Whitney 4421 Woodward Ave.; 313-832-5700; thewhitney.com; $$$$: With its 52 rooms, 10 bathrooms and 20 fireplaces, the three-story pink-granite edifice built for a lumber baron in 1894 has been one of Detroit's most celebrated restaurants since 1986.
Woodbridge Pub 5169 Trumbull St.; 313-833-2701; woodbridgepub.com; $$: Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, inventive burgers include a half-pound certified Angus and a vegan black-bean patty. Hip setting, friendly service.
Wolfgang Puck Grille 1777 Third St., (inside MGM Grand Detroit); 313-465-1648, $$$: Open, spacious, with a gazillion accent lights playing upon its clever interior design, Puck's restaurant serves the innovative, seasonal, organic cuisine he helped popularize.
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