We've been there
Restaurants Metro Times has recently reviewed
Published: August 8, 2012
One-Eyed Betty's Beer Bar & Kitchen 175 W. Troy St., Ferndale; 248-808-6633; $$: Owner Beth Hussey got serious about beer, putting together an impressive collection of 45 drafts and 85 bottled beers. Betty's food to soak up the beer with is luscious, filling, fattening and inexpensive. A gargantuan burger is gilded with garlic aioli, melting cheddar and lots of applewood-smoked bacon, gently charred without, tender and yielding within. Equally fine is a pork belly sandwich; the chewy pork is crisp and soft in layers, and its juices soak into the bread. Other sandwiches are brats, grilled cheese with tomato jam and, of course, a BLT. Note: This restaurant also serves "Bacon with a Side of Bacon." The most-ordered appetizer is a fresh-baked pretzel with three cheesy sauces. Hussey also sells cheese and charcuterie boards, mussels, three kinds of oysters and fire-roasted wings — three big meaty ones with a shiny red-black sambal-sriracha glaze, for $7.
The Root 340 Town Center Blvd., White Lake; 248-698-2400; therootrestaurant.com; $$$: Chef James Rigato wants you to know how much of a locavore he is. He lists his regional purveyors on the Root's website, up to and including his recycler and his glass guy (Libbey in Toledo). The tasting menu lists Michigan sources from Kalamazoo to Detroit (though coffee isn't grown in K'zoo — and R. Hirt Jr. didn't make those cheeses himself). If you order shrimp linguine, the server will tell you the critters spent their early days in salt-water tanks in Okemos. Rigato's imaginative food is hands-down splendid. There are only seven entrées (roast chicken, trout, pork shoulder, gnocchi, shrimp, beef and pumpkin pot pie), but you'll find 11 starters and seven $4 sides, including cheese grits and corn on the cob. All those entrées are first-class, or you could just dine on an assortment of starters: pork pasties, crab cakes, baked Michigan Brie, scallops, three salads. Wine is where Rigato declines to stick close to home, choosing mostly from terroirs way west or south of here.
Seva 66 E. Forest Ave., Detroit; 313-974-6661; sevarestaurant.com; $: More than most major cities, perhaps, Detroit has long lacked a core of restaurants with robust vegetarian and vegan menus. It's thus unsurprising that news of Seva, the decades-old Ann Arbor stalwart, setting up shop in Midtown generated a great deal of fervor and some sizable crowds. Appetizers include General Tso's cauliflower ($7), nachos, mac and cheese, yam fries and hummus among them — each with a vegetarian or vegan twist. Sandwiches include pesto pizza (on slices of Avalon bread) a red-pepper hummus wrap, a veggie Reuben and grilled tofurkey with Daiya vegan cheese. Naturally, there are also plenty of salads, including some well-made classics. Consider also the heartier butternut squash enchiladas, or such inventive specials as beet gnocchi. Drink options abound, including milkshakes, mango lassis, coffee, tea, wine, cocktails, beer and raw juice.
Shogun Chinese & Japanese Bistro 23195 Marter Rd., St. Clair Shores; 586-350-0927; $$: The Chinese menu repeats all the familiar, American-friendly dishes: chop suey, chow mein, fried rice, etc. But the restaurant has two separate sections based on menu, with a bar and a sushi bar in between. The Japanese side promises a teppanyaki show: 10 giant griddles with chairs on three sides to watch a chef theatrically prepare a meal. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Two other locations (Japanese menu only) are at 18411 Hall Rd., Macomb Township, 586-228-9186, and 37750 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights, 586-268-4882.
Smokin' BBQ 37310 Gratiot Ave., Clinton Twp.; 586-469-3000; smokinbarbq.com; $$: Smokin' BBQ is a smallish standalone restaurant that starts the strip of storefronts lining Gratiot just north of 16 Mile Road. Food ordered at the counter takes fewer than five minutes to arrive. All meals for dining-in are served on trays, in some cases quite literally. A full slab of ribs is placed uncut, for example, on a plastic platter, and combo platters, sandwiches and sides often get their own containers, a mix of sturdy reusable plastic trays and disposable take-out containers. The sandwiches include a burger, catfish or any of the smoked meats between bread. From the gentle application of breading atop the mac 'n' cheese to the chunks of shredded meat in the collard greens, the sides show a much appreciated hand-made touch. Smokin' BBQ offers both St. Louis-style spare ribs and baby backs in quantities of 3, 6 and 12. For a broad sampling of their offerings, try a Combo. Still, the food is up quick, and the meat has the undeniable flavor of real hardwood smoke.
Sterling's Bistro 13905 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights; 586-566-0627; $$: Opened in March 2011, the restaurant's goal was to offer fresh food, reasonable prices and a friendly, "neighborhood" feel, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The menu is "upscale American," with a few attempts at incorporating various world cuisines. In addition to steaks, seafood and a couple of token lamb and pork entrées, there is also a comfort food section with meatloaf, pot pie, mac 'n' cheese and the like. A variety of flatbread "pizzas" (the crust is more akin to a cracker) can be ordered as a starter or a light meal. The wine list carries several familiar names with nothing too exciting, but we did appreciate the choice of 3-, 6- or 9-ounce pours, allowing a lot of flexibility if you like to switch wines at each course. Beer drinkers can choose from the usual suspects — plus Bell's and Magic Hat.
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