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Restaurants recently reviewed in Metro Times
Published: November 3, 2010
Bucharest Grill inside the Park Bar, 2040 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-965-3111; $: Park Bar and Bucharest Grill simply make a fine place to grab a glass of draft Michigan beer and eat pork. The minimal and inexpensive menu is a loose blend of Eastern European and Middle Eastern, with an emphasis on ground pork dishes. In fact, more than half of the menu items contain ground pork in some form or another. It's not exactly the lightest fare in town, but if you're looking to set a substantial base to pour drinks over or fill your belly before a game, it will do quite well. For $7.75, you can get about 12 inches of house-specialty charred and pepper-spiced Romanian sausage with a side of refreshing cabbage salad in a mild vinegar dressing. Other house specialties include stuffed green peppers that look to be a larger version of the grape leaves. Grilled and marinated pork steak and pan-fried chicken schnitzel are served beside fries and a small salad.
Cotswold Café 1100 Lakeshore Rd., Grosse Pointe Shores; 313-884-4222; $$: The Tearoom at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford estate at Gaukler Point on Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores is now the Cotswold Café. The informal café's airy, solarium-like space is an attractive dining venue. Chef Erik Ziegenbein, who works for Continental Services, the outfit that handles the food at the estate, offers the same menu for lunch and dinner, at cafeteria — not café — prices. Among the substantial sandwiches are a Portabella mushroom melt with roasted vegetables, hummus, Swiss cheese and aioli served on a Kaiser roll; a Monte Cristo, egg-battered grilled turkey, ham and Swiss cheese with a raspberry dipping sauce; a Reuben; and a ground Angus beef burger. Several half sandwiches are available with a cup of soup or small salad for $7. Redolent of an earlier day are the mini tea sandwiches (chicken, tuna or egg salad) accompanied by a scone and fresh fruit. Dinner on Friday and Saturday is served from 5 to 8 p.m. only, while lunch is available from Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with brunch on Sunday.
D'Pauli's Gourmet Diner 6215 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-737-3636; $$: For more than 20 years, in two locations and under two owners and two names, D'Pauli's (formerly Giorgio's) has thrived on its reputation as a diner with upscale surprises: steak Diane, veal Marsala, a burger with chutney and Bordelaise sauce. Today, though, the burgers have taken a way-back seat on the dinner menu; only three are offered, plus five sandwiches. The rest of the long menu is a mix of items like those you'd find at Big Boy (such as "Light Delight," tuna and cottage cheese) and such higher-falutin ones as steak au poivre and veal piccata. (Lunch tends more to the bacon cheeseburger side, while breakfast will bring you anything from house-made hash browns to Belgian waffle jubilee, with flaming Kirsch.) One of the dishes D'Pauli's is famous for is tomato basil bisque. It's salmon-colored, with one big piece of basil in it, rather sweet, and served with Krispy saltines in cellophane packets. Another nice touch is the little plate of olive oil with a dab of basil pesto, brought at the outset with warm rolls. Veal Marsala also delivers a big punch of sweetness. Portion sizes are truly enormous; that's where the value comes in, especially if you take advantage of the 2-6 p.m. 20 percent off Early Bird Special.
Joe Bologna Trattoria 2135 17 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-939-5700; $$: Joe Bologna and his wife Adele opened their place in 1985, and ever since have served cuisine that scores well on the cost-benefit scale, with none of their substantial main courses costing more than $16, while the appetizers average around $8. Pizza is available in a variety of formats, including often-inventive thin-crusted individual pies, such as Red's with red clam sauce, red pepper and red onion. Even better, the reasonably priced wine list is buttressed by periodic specials that feature a handful of intriguing varietals from boutique vineyards at $20.
Lockhart's BBQ 202 E. Third St., Royal Oak; 248-584-2227; $$: Lockhart's, named after a town reputed to be the barbecue capital of Texas, opened a few months ago in Royal Oak opposite City Hall. Handsomely retrofitted on the high-ceilinged first floor of an old bank building, with distressed brick framing huge picture windows that look out at the street traffic at the corner of Third and Williams streets, it can handle as many as 150 at its bare wooden tables. Owners Drew Ciora and Rick Ghersi also are owners of the Detroit Beer Company and Royal Oak Brewery, where executive chef Reuben Sanchez worked for them. Pit boss Steve Coddington, aka "Bubba," previously smoked meats at Bad Brad's BBQ in New Baltimore. His "Detroit-style" barbecue is an amalgam of Texas brisket, Memphis pulled pork, and Kansas City ribs. In his stainless-steel open kitchen, Bubba turns out reasonably priced, hefty portions, with appetizers averaging around $8, sandwiches with one side around $9 and barbecue plates with two sides around $13. Among those appetizers, it is difficult to resist burnt ends, little brisket cubes that have been double-rubbed and double-smoked. As for greenery, perhaps for vegetarians who mistakenly wandered in, there is a pleasant house salad that contains no meat. All 15 beers on tap ($6.50 a pint) are from Michigan.
Loon River Café 34911 Van Dyke Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-979-1420; $$: For almost two decades, the Loon River Café has been offering an Up North dining experience in Sterling Heights, with a lodge-like interior. Chef Ray Hollingsworth, who has been there since the start, took home gold medals at a National Restaurant Association cooking competition in Chicago and at the International Culinary Olympics in Germany, and won a Michigan chef-of-the-year award as well. He promises some retro changes this fall, reinstalling old favorites such as duck and elk that are no longer on the menu. The gently seasoned, thick whitetail chili, featuring venison chunks, is a pleasing mélange one might encounter at a bar in Leelanau County. You can sample a mini-sirloin steak, one large pork chop and a half portion of one of the fish specialties in the Midwest mixed grill, which is quite reasonably priced at $16.99.
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