The west-side way
A handy shortlist of restaurants in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights
Published: February 16, 2011
L.A. Express Mediterranean Bistro 22018 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-277-5999; $$: Lunch options include "philly bello" sandwiches and shrimp burgers, while the dinner menu offers dishes such as chicken scallopini and pasta aioli.
La Pita 22681 Newman St., Dearborn; 313-565-7482; $: Dependable Middle Eastern food with cozy private booths and good service.
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 a mix of American and a smattering of Lebanese choices: hamburgers, chef salad and turkey sandwiches, kafta, hummus and laban. A clever cook, Maurice Lteif does equally well whatever continent he's cooking from. The grilled shrimp is divine; just as good is a garlicky, buttery lemon chicken topped with thinly sliced mushrooms and served with rice pilaf. For dessert, try the rice pudding: lemony and very large.
Miller's Bar 23700 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-565-2577; $: Do people come for the burgers, or the novelty of eating them from baskets and wax paper? None other than Gentleman's Quarterly rated Miller's hamburgers No. 8 among the top 20 burgers in America. Metro Times readers consistently rate them as the best in Dearborn. Don't let the spartan setting and limited menu options fool you, the choices are few, but they're finely tuned classics. Table service has been paperless for years — all on the honor system. Unless you want to be known as an outsider, don't ask for a menu or a tab. Just order the burger and a beer. When you're done, tell the bartender what you got. The system works, in part, because the prices are so reasonable, there's hardly any reason to lie.
New Yasmeen Bakery 13900 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-6035; $: If you don't mind eating with a plastic fork, you'll find some exceptional and unusual Lebanese dishes at this deli and bakery (the bakery offers more than 30 kinds of sweets). Co-owner Hussain Siblini says that's because he employs old ladies who make traditional, really old, old handmade dishes. However traditional it may be, you'll always be sure to find something new next to the chicken shwarma and shish tawook.
The Pool at the Henry Ford Estate, 4901 Evergreen Rd., Dearborn; 313-436-9196; $: If you're one of the ladies who lunch, have I found the place for you. The Pool's food is far better than many ladies who lunch seem to expect. Take the enormous Nuts about Spinach salad. The baby spinach leaves are covered with fresh melon, strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges and dried cherries, along with almonds, walnuts and soy nuts.
Red Star Restaurant 13944 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-581-1451; $$: American-Chinese fare that is especially vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. They'll even make standard meat classics, such as kung pao, with seitan instead of meat.
Richter's Chalet 23920 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-565-0484; $$: Richter's Chalet is a throwback to those days before the Food Network, celebrity chefs, Neiman Ranch and Maytag blue cheese allegedly transformed American gourmands into gourmets. And its price structure also recalls another era when two people could enjoy dinner and drinks for $40. German-born Roland Richter Sr. founded his half-timbered restaurant a generation ago, the chalet seats 150 and serves a dozen German dinners, supplemented by several daily specials, both of which include soup or salad, averaging around $12. The desserts, none of which cost more than $3, are another one of Richter's strengths. Chocolate cheesecake, hazelnut raspberry torte, and the classic schwarzwaelder kirsch torte (Black Forest cherry) are executed well.
Roman Village 9924 Dix Rd., Dearborn; 313-842-2100; $$: Despite a few jarring notes, this is the real deal — house-made pasta, fresh sauces, traditional dishes at reasonable prices; you can imagine somebody's mama in the kitchen. The menu is much too long to do justice to — there are calzone, panini and pizza as well as 53 entrées, including veal, stuffed pastas and seafood. Highest praise must go to spaghetti carbonara "alla Bocelli," osso buco and gnocchi Rita. Other possibilities range from linguine arrabbiata to linguine with shrimp, scallops and whitefish through veal chops, veal piccata and sautéed cod (baccala). And yes, you can add meatballs to any of the pasta dishes. The other special deal is a free cannoli on your birthday.
Shatila Bakery & Café 14300 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-1952; $: Don't be confused by the fruit names — these are not sherbets. They combine fruit purees with butterfat to produce that rich taste and velvety texture that only cream can bestow. Nonfruit ice creams are equally inspired. The array of Mediterranean and European pastries is vast and changes daily. Shatila has a few nonsweet offerings, and they are quite tasty, not also-rans at all: sausage rolls, a tangy and flaky spinach pie and tiny star-shaped cheese pastries. Shatila's high-ceilinged space is filled with customers sipping coffee or raw fruit juices, busting their diets, and enjoying the air-conditioning.
Ten Eyck Tavern at the Dearborn Inn, 20301 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-271-2700; $$: American home-style fare in a charming, casual and relaxing atmosphere. Open for breakfast and lunch.
Tuhamas 10613 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn; 313-581-0714; $: Tiny little eatery that serves a very good, large chicken shawarma.
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