Our staff suggests what they think's best
Published: November 10, 2010
Every so often, we'll ask our Metro Times staff to sound off on their favorite restaurants. The result is a decidedly unscientific mélange of restaurants that seem to span every gamut known to modern dining. We love Middle Eastern and Midwestern, fine-dining and finer diners, flapjacks and pho, even tender chicken and chicken tenders. Feel there's someplace you'd like to recommend? No angry letters necessary: Feel free to post it at the end of the online version of this story. And then it could well end up on our list of personal faves too.
Athenian Shish-Ka-Bob 23010 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-777-1430: "Fuck the overpriced restaurants on the Nautical Mile," one staff member says, "the Athenian has the best Greek food. Their Greek dressing (which much of their meat is marinated in) blows others out of the water. It's also available for sale by the bottle. The Pasta Athena (pasta tossed with grilled chicken, feta and olive oil) is mighty tasty. They also have kick-ass chili and a rice pudding."
Anita's Kitchen 22561 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-0680: Though their Troy location closed in the spring of 2010, this Ferndale-based restaurant is working in full swing. If meat is your thing, you can easily fill up with kebabs or shawarma. Lamb is prominent in the form of chops, shanks and kibbeh, a mixture of ground lamb and cracked wheat that can be ordered baked or raw. The bar serves beer, wine, juice and smoothies. For the harder stuff, examine the small but diverse wine selection and three Michigan craft brews.
Auburn Café 3520 W. Jefferson Ave., Ecorse; 313-381-8133: Great Greek cuisine in a casual, bar-type atmosphere is available Downriver at Auburn Café. Featuring such Greek classics as Greek salad, tzatziki, calamari, gyro sandwiches, shish kebab, lamb and pork chops, as well as the old favorite, stuffed grape leaves. Make sure to try the fun, appetizing saganaki, a quarter-inch-thick piece of cheese hand-fried and flamed at your table. Happy hour is 3-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and means half off all drinks and select appetizers. There's heavy traffic at lunchtime and on the weekends, but Auburn Cafe is big enough to make room for everybody. Daily soups and specials announced on the Facebook page.
Café Muse 418 S Washington St., Royal Oak, 248-544-4749: This breakfast-and-lunch place offers hearty (and odd) dishes like pea-meal bacon, alongside classics like grilled cheese and tomato soup (their grilled cheese is the talk of the town). Their morning menu has some experimental dishes, like a Humboldt Fog scramble, with a big slab of the creamy, tangy California goat cheese atop a generous mound of firmed-up scrambled eggs, mixed with pine nuts. Breakfast sweets are also prominent. While their whole-wheat pancakes and braised apples are tasty, what's even more delectable are their crumpets, orange rum raisin pancakes, stuffed french toast with mascarpone and pears, and waffles with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
CK Diggs 2010 Auburn Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-853-6600: The selection of 102 different beers is definitely a draw for this restaurant, especially since they host a decent supply of Michigan microbrews. For a sports bar, the food is several notches better than what you'd expect. It's not too smart to order pasta or anything bordering on exotic. Stick with what the cook knows best, which means fried. The traditional bar food — Buffalo wings, chicken tenders, ribs and potato skins — is ready and in supply.
Clarkston Union 52 S. Main St., Clarkston, 248-620-6100: Clarkston Union has fine-tuned big food and beers served in a communal, beer hall setting in a former church. They serve hearty, rustic, provincial fare with thirty-five beers on tap, a full bar, and a martini and single-malt scotch menu. Hunker down at their communal seating and dig into a family-size tray of mac 'n' cheese. Gift cards are available and are good up and down the block at the Clarkston Union, the Union General Store, the Clarkston Cafe and Pizza Coco.
Frittata 236 Main St., Clawson; 248-280-2552: The name of the restaurant suggests it: the frittatas are one of a kind. Take the $7 house frittata for instance: a blend of three eggs, caramelized shallots and white wine topped with Asiago cheese and roasted potatoes — simply delicious. But it's not all gourmet frittatas. For instance, char-grilled beef fillet with scrambled eggs and herb-roasted potatoes is a nice meat-and-potatoes contrast.
Fuego Grill 37040 Schaefer Rd., Dearborn 313-581-9800: The only halal Mexican restaurant in the state, Fuego attracts both Muslims and others to their porkless menu. A classic yet distinct dish, their tortilla chips are dusted with house-made spice mix, starring chipotle and ancho chili powders, but it's not too spicy for the palate. They also have a "California-style" Baja burrito that has some excellent steak. But if you're not interested in what they offer, you can design your own taco, burrito, tostada or enchilada by choosing the filling and two toppings.
Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes 15 E. Kirby St., Detroit, 313-964-2023: With 50 kinds of crepes to choose from, there is not one overlooked. Each takes about two minutes or less, from first careful pouring to the moment it's handed to the customer. Biggest seller so far among the savories is the "Sarah." Another favorite is the "Rose" which combines fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinaigrette. Their sweet crepes make up the majority, ranging from the heart-healthy "Snyder" with all fruit (bananas, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries) to the sugar-infused "Fay" mixing brown sugar, caramel, pecans, salted butter and banana.
Gramma's House of Pancakes 17275 E. Nine Mile Rd., Eastpointe; 586-445-6100: One staff member says "Yummy omelets, awesome crepes and blintzes! Killer French toast! Gourmet breakfast, at diner prices." If you happen to be there after the morning hours, their menu offers a section dubbed "melted delights." Their San Francisco melt combines roast beef, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, sautéed peppers on sourdough bread. Another reason to be there after 3 p.m.: You'll get a free cup of ice cream after your meal.
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