Notable eateries in Birmingham, Troy and the Bloomfields
Published: January 25, 2012
Northern Lakes Seafood Company 39495 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-646-7900: This sprawling establishment, which can seat 275 in its main dining areas, tavern and cozy private dining room, does not seem as large as it is because of the artful manner in which the space is broken up, and also because of the generous spacing between the New England-style bare wooden tables. Every night, the establishment offers about 10 fresh catches of the day that may range from Lake Superior whitefish to Idaho rainbow trout to Key West black grouper.
Original Pancake House 33703 S. Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-642-5775: The quintessential breakfast, served all day, with the titular pancake still supreme and the omelet a close second. Do not confuse this with a chain pancake house. This one makes everything from scratch, and adheres to truth-in-menu honesty. No mixes or ersatz ingredients. Real cream, real butter, real maple syrup. Often a wait, but worth it.
P.F. Chang's China Bistro 2801 W. Big Beaver, Troy; 248-816-8000: P.F. Chang's is part of chain, located in a posh mall and the menu strays from authentic. But it is a very good restaurant nonetheless. Entrées are excellent, and drinks include a variety of wine, beer and specialty drinks traversing many cultures.
Parrot Cove Yacht Club 33475 Dequindre, Troy; 248-585-6080: The Parrot Cove Yacht Club has huge servings of solid bar food in its raffish but homey clubhouse. The Cove Platter, at $9.99, is a steal. The substantial sampler overflows with deep-fried chunks of crisp and tender chicken fingers, comparably crisp onion rings, breaded mozzarella sticks and, least crisp of the four, somewhat soggy stuffed potato skins. These irresistible artery-cloggers come with three dipping sauces. Parrot Cove flaunts seven burger variations that can also be constructed with Piedmontese beef — for less fat and cholesterol, fewer calories, and a shorter cooking time. The Cove Burger ($8.99), a made-to-order patty topped with provolone cheese, sautéed mushrooms and lettuce and tomatoes, and accompanied by fries and slaw, is an attractive combination.
Phoenicia Restaurant 588 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham; 248-644-3122: Proprietor Sameer Eid has been serving meticulously prepared Middle Eastern food to the locals since the mid-1980s. He knows his way around the market and the kitchen, and gives a more sophisticated spin to the well-known litany of shish kebab, shish kafta, baked kibbeh and lamb chops. Seafood dishes are also specialties.
Priya 72 W. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-269-0100: Priya's dishes from southern India, such as rice-lentil crepes, or dosas, are found nowhere else in Michigan. The extensive menu of traditional Indian food sprawls across the subcontinent, featuring sophisticated dishes from the north and spicier fare from the south, including pulaos and biryanis from Hyderabad. Herbivores and carnivores will feel equally at home.
Recipes 2919 Crooks Rd., Troy; 248-614-5390: Described as an upscale place for breakfast, the atmosphere is relaxed. The flawlessly served fare runs the gamut from the traditional (pancakes, eggs in every variation imaginable) to the adventurous (California roll omelets with crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese and bits of seaweed). Stay long enough and you'll have the chance to sample one of the delightful lunch dishes such as chicken scaloppini with angel hair pasta or pan-Asian pasta garnished with sprouts and a spring roll.
Steve's Deli 6646 Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-932-0800: Everyone has their own yardstick for measuring the quality of a deli. For me it is a pastrami sandwich. Like corned beef, pastrami starts as a brisket pickled in brine, but then the two meats part company. Pastrami is coated with cracked peppercorns, garlic and other spices, then smoked. Steve's makes a great pastrami sandwich on hand-cut rye bread with a crunchy crust. It's piled high with meat, but not so high that you can't get your mouth around it.
Sy Thai 315 Hamilton Row, Birmingham; 248-258-9830: This is one restaurant where you ought to take the hot pepper rating seriously; even the mild spice level will prickle your taste buds. The little storefront eatery is a busy, noisy, friendly place, also doing a brisk take-out business. Each of the traditional entrées is offered with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, tofu, vegetables, shrimp, squid or imitation crab — noodles, curries, fried rice and other dishes load up the menu. The tom kha soup is a sure winner, a coconut milk broth enlivened with lime, with little straw mushrooms, scallions and fresh basil floating within.
Toast Birmingham 203 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-258-6278: The hype is true: Toast serves great food and wine "with humor in a fun, casual environment." There's a lounge called the Blue Room that's full of candles and sports a stark white deer's head over the fireplace. The menu is a mix of such firm favorites as burgers and mac & cheese (with goat cheese and gouda, of course) and less-common options, such as duck pie and venison sausage. The menu is mostly American, and changes with the seasons every few months. Past ringers have included carnitas and forbidden rice. And Toast shines in the bakery department.
Tokyo Sushi & Grill 30 W. Square Lake Rd., Troy; 248-828-0090: There is a spare simplicity to Japanese food that makes it possible to savor each component of a dish. But if the thought of raw fish strikes fear in your heart, order tempura or teriyaki. Or go for the big bowls of udon and soba noodle soups.
Tre Monti Ristorante 1695 Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-680-1100: For a mini-state with fewer than 30,000 inhabitants, San Marino has made a lot of history. Founded in 301, it is the oldest republic in the world; its 400-year-old written constitution claims another longevity record, and its citizens once elected a government dominated by their Communist Party. With the opening three years ago of the Tre Monti Ristorante behind the San Marino Club on Big Beaver just west of John R, Detroiters will have an opportunity to sample its venerable culture and cuisine.
Whistle Stop 501 S. Eton, Birmingham; 248-647-5588: Cheese and meat omelets, pancakes with fruit, "cinnamon roll French toast" — sounds like a breakfast winner. Equally traditional lunch items like tuna melts and Maurice salads. Weekend breakfast specials, served all day, are a tad more adventurous, and everything is made fresh on the premises, including the breads and bumpy cakes.
Special thanks to editorial intern Sharon Jacobs for her assistance researching and compiling this column.
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