Stack 'em high!
A shortlist of places where sandwiches are an art form
Published: April 13, 2011
Joey's Famous Philly Cheesesteaks 14625 Northline Rd., Southgate, 734- 281-4444; 16125 West Rd., Woodhaven, 734-692-1111; 5926 Middlebelt Rd., Garden City, 734-266-2626; joeysfamousphilly.com; $: Thinly sliced rib-eye is fried on the griddle, while sweet Vidalias are grilled. The cheese (American or provolone) is placed on top of the frying steak, so it melts into the meat and strengthens the flavor. This is the way transplanted Philadelphian Sherii Abbulone and her husband Joey make a perfectly authentic cheesesteak, all on bread from a Philadelphia bakery. If the bovine selection is too much for you (and some hold as much as two pounds of beef), there's always the Italian Hoagie, with its generous helping of hot peppers.
La Feast 315 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-545-7100; $: This relatively new restaurant in downtown Royal Oak serves up Middle Eastern rare fare. Aside from the common falafel sandwiches, La Feast's customers are also drawn to rolled (not wrapped) pita sandwiches, including the shish tawook (white chicken kabob meat with garlic spread and pickles) and the shish kafta (ground lamb, tomato, onion, lettuce and tahini sauce). But we think the chicken sajji tops them all, with thinly sliced grilled chicken with pickles and tomatoes rolled in pita bread. The elusive sajji sauce is what makes this sandwich. It's like a peppery Middle Eastern barbecue sauce with heavy notes of Worcestershire, vinegar, coriander, brown sugar and possibly a hint of cayenne.
Lily's Seafood 410 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-591-5459; lilysseafood.com; $: In Royal Oak's vibrant downtown, find delicious micro-brews and a cozy, family friendly atmosphere all in one place at Lily's Seafood. Sandwich lovers approve of the popular smoked-salmon Rueben, which includes brown sugar-cured, hickory-smoked Atlantic salmon rubbed with pastrami spices and then lightly grilled. This baby gets stacked on grilled marbled rye with coleslaw, aged Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.
Louie's Ham & Corned Beef 3570 Riopelle St., Detroit; 313-831-1800; louiseasternmarket.com; $: This boxy diner on Mack and Orleans (near Eastern Market) has a giant pig on its sign. With a hog as a mascot, it's hardly a surprise they have a lot of pork on the menu. And you'll pay full freight for that pastrami on rye or Canadian bacon. But the breakfasts are a little cheaper. Another bonus: You can dodge that tip with their drive-through window.
M&M Cafe 13714 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, 313-581-5775; $: Tender loving care, dished up along with great food, and served in spacious and attractive digs. The menu is mostly American with a few Lebanese dishes: hamburgers, chef salad and turkey sandwiches, kafta, hommous and laban. The grilled shrimp is divine; just as good is a garlicky, buttery lemon chicken topped with thinly sliced mushrooms and served with rice pilaf.
Mati's Deli 1842 Monroe St., Dearborn, 313-277-3253; matisdeli.com; $: A strong, solid selection of food is available here, with a sublimely retro atmosphere. Imagine a 1930s lunch counter. A reproduction of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" hangs on the wall, and Mati's is fully worthy of it. The service is both knowledgeable and friendly. The chicken salad is sharp and tasty, and they make one mean corned beef sandwich. The food won't empty your wallet, which is a bonus. There isn't much in the way of seating, but a 20-minute wait is easily justified by cream cheese brownies and Detroit-made pickles.
Mudgie's 1300 Porter St., Detroit; 313-961-2000; mudgiesdeli.com; $: This Corktown spot used to be the old Eph's, and they carry on the sandwich tradition with a slew of sandwich options including the award-winning "Madill." Composed of turkey, apple-wood-smoked bacon, avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce and melted pepper jack cheese layered on an 8-inch-sub spread with Mudgie-made garlic mayo, you'll understand the award-winning part when you chomp on this open-faced sub.
Noah's Deli 14500 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, 313-582-8361; $: Though the spot opened as a deli back in 1936, it was only reincorporated as Noah's in 1977. But the offerings are timeless, and Noah's built its reputation on corned beef that's fresh-cut, lean and made on-site. This is your stop in east Dearborn for deli-style sandwiches. In addition to the specialty corned beef, there's also ham, salami, roast beef, pastrami and turkey, as well as soups, meatloaf and hot plates, as well as dessert.
Omega Hawg & Dawg Deli 2100 Hilton Rd., Ferndale, 248-548-5700; $: This narrow, rectangular building on the northeast corner of Hilton and Cambourne has minimalist diner decor. Coney fare predominates, including burgers, triple-decker sandwiches, salads and a large omelet menu. But expect inventive twists, such as a bag of sliders, "chilly dilly" (chili with all the fixings) and all-day breakfast. With 13 years on the block, this puckishly named eatery has solid fare, reasonable prices and staying power.
Panini Press 28983 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-547-7377; thepaninipress.com; $: Panini Press takes pride in the fact that virtually every product utilized in the creation of its meals is of local origin. In Italy, a panini originally referred to a small bread roll. In the United States, our panini are much larger sandwiches whose foundation is often ciabatta or country Italian bread, the two most popular options here. In addition, Panini Press offers panini with white or multi-grain bread, roll-up wraps and even, somewhat incongruously, lettuce wraps for patrons concerned about the calories. For a slight extra charge, those with celiac disease and related afflictions can order a gluten-free panini. A budget-balancing special features a panini, soft drink, and chips or coleslaw or ciabatta bread sticks and dipping oil for $7.99. You can also order those soft bread sticks for $1 a la carte.
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