More than kielbasa
A quick and dirty guide to eating Hamtramck
Published: March 2, 2011
Under the Eagle 9000 Joseph Campau St., Hamtramck; 313-875-5905; $: Located at the south end of Hamtramck, Under the Eagle completes the Polish cuisine triangle. Solid Polish fare is served by a staff in native Polish dress, in a room filled with colorful folk art. Amenities are extremely modest, from plastic tablecloths to paper napkins, but the value is outstanding for plates brimming with kielbasa and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, stuffed cabbage, pierogi and blintzes. It's impossible to leave hungry after the giant portions, including a huge bowl of the famous dill pickle soup.
Yemen Café 8735 Joseph Campau; 313-871-4349; $$: Despite the small diner atmosphere, you'll notice this is no hot dog stand right away: Flashes of fire from the kitchen signal high-heat fresh cooking, and Al Jazeera Arabic chatters on the flat-screen TV adds to the ethnic flair. The menu's long list of unusual Yemeni fare can challenge the Western diner, but we often order the gallaba, meat or vegetable, a stir-fry of ingredients that comes with bread or laid over a bed of rice. Ask for it spicy and it comes with a sort of relish with peppers in it. More unusual choices, such as lamb soup, may be worth a try as well. A few blocks south of the Painted Lady and New Dodge Lounge.
ZamZam 11917 Conant St.; 313-893-9902; $$: Situated north of Caniff on Conant in a building previously occupied by another Indian restaurant, ZamZam offers a full menu of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian cuisine from lunch through the late evening. Value is a term that gets tossed about often, but ZamZam could easily find itself pictured next to the word in an illustrated dictionary. You will likely leave with bags full of leftovers from meals that cost under $10 and bellies bursting with discomfort joyfully obtained. Beginning with an appetizer (or two) is an easy choice given that the change found between two sofa cushions may well cover the expense. The bulk of the menu, though, consists of a lengthy list of entrées covering the breadth of the region. Interestingly, ZamZam serves halal food, but they also serve a much higher percentage of meat dishes than do most area Indian restaurants. Herbivorous folks shouldn't be too disappointed though: The vegetable entrées are as delicious and inexpensive as everything else. For $6, one may sample common favorites like mutter paneer, fried peas with homemade cheese cubes, and saag paneer, which substitutes spinach for peas, each with pleasant spicing and firm cheese that hasn't succumbed to a tendency to fall apart. Each meal comes with either rice or naan, though given the low cost and large portions, it's easy enough to enjoy both in a sitting, especially if those at the table share. Open 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
Special thanks to editorial interns Patrick Higgins and Alia Raheem for their assistance compiling these listings.
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