v

VTB's Profile

Title Last Reply

Dinner at El Asador, drinks at Sugar House (SW Detroit)

Thank you to Alpoe and HoB for encouraging me to try El Asador. If this joint was up in my burb, I’d probably hit it at least once per month, even though I don’t get out that much these days. This isn’t to say my meal was deeply memorable, but it is to say that it was solid and that I enjoy Mexican food and there unfortunately isn’t much competition in the Metro area.

Here was my experience: I went on Saturday night at 8:30pm. I figured out that the parking lot is accessed from the back alley. Cool. Went in to find that all 11(?) small tables were occupied (by suburbanites), but there was nobody in front of me on the waiting list. So, I was seated within eight to ten minutes. While I was waiting, I admired the guacamole cart activity. Nothing fancy. Just real fun.

Once seated, the service was swift. I wanted to try HoB’s scallop and swiss chard tacos. Sold out. I pivoted to the char grilled pork with adobo sauce. Sold out. I resorted to the mahi mahi Veracruz. Sold out, too! Still, I don’t have a problem with this, given the lateness of my arrival. And, hey, ACROSS THE BOARD the menu looks good, I can appreciate them not wanting to carry buffer inventory (which would just have to later get sold, less fresh). The waitress then offered* to have the salmon prepared for me Veracruz (mahi mahi) style. Sounded like a good compromise, so I got it with beans and red rice, preceded by HoB’s poblano soup.

*Okay, actually I’m a cheapskate, and when I said, “if you don’t have the mahi mahi, then I’ll have the salmon in banana leaf,” the waitress (reading my personality) warned me that often on Saturday nights (including this one) they charge $5 extra for that salmon for reason of having added a mandatory chile cream sauce, called the “Saturday Special.” My gently indignant reaction to this scheme resulted in the hybrid ‘salmon Veracruz’ solution. ;-) Did I mention that it is amazing these adorable young waitresses from the ‘hood outwardly show no contempt for the suburbanite Yelp foodies who have overrun the place? Let’s just say that these youngsters/moms don’t yet have iPhone 6s, designer riding boots and intercontinental boyfriends, yet they still can perform empathetically for their with-it customers’ ‘big night ethnic adventure experiences,’ in the down-draft of a graffiti-ridden refinery, aka ‘Home,’ to them.

Speaking of down, I took Mouseman’s advice and walked the nominally scant seventy meters to the liquor store “across the street.” There was enough light, in the night, for me to see that the route was probably clear as I set off, but there was no guarantee that some rascals wouldn’t be wandering along by the time I got cashed out and had to thirstily make the glory dash back to the restaurant. Regardless, I’m the type who would unequivocally risk life and limb, for booze. While at the counter, I received an admonition from the clerk about how the bullet proof glass was “not just there for decoration.” Of course, this place is surely far from the most dangerous area of Detroit, and it may show much nicer in daylight. Still, don’t forget to lock your car, if you come after sundown.

Back to El Asador at serving time (much later, due to overrun kitchen). The poblano soup was simple and inspiring. I will definitely try to recreate this six-ingredient puree at home within the next few weeks. Yum. The fish was enjoyable. Nice sauce of serrano peppers, olives, cilantro, citrus, capers, onions, garlic and a bit of tomato sauce, along with some other things, perhaps avocado tree leaves or something...maybe bay leaves but I don’t think so? Probably unique for the Metro area. Same topping as the pictured snapper on the Wiki website “Cuisine of Veracruz” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_.... The salmon filet section was just 3”x3”x0.75”, but that was fine with me given all the goodies there were to eat in the topping. It was not overcooked, but may have been just a minute or two beyond peak.

The rice and beans both were of tiny portion and no better than Don Pablo’s (which I actually find somewhat enjoyable), at best. Also included were good chips and three tablespoons of interesting homemade salsa. For $15 before drinks, tax or tip, I felt that they provided good value, even if not a kick-ass great deal.

Good enough that I ordered a takeout chicken mole meal for my wife who was arriving at the airport 17 minutes away. This meat and the sauce also were good like the fish dish, but not quite as so (maybe the mole sauce actually ranks very good and I just am not knowledgeable enough to fully appreciate it?). The pan roasted zucchini side was fresh and fine. The white rice I ordered turned out to be refried beans. The chicken noodle soup was a bit disappointing, though maybe my expectations were unreasonably high.

Next time I’m doing a pick up at the airport, I’ll hit this place again. I want to try the homemade salad dressing and check out those borracho beans that come with the kabobs; but as a substitution, because I’m going to give a try to the grilled sirloin with mixed chile butter sauce…double yum! It is an asador (grill/rotisserie) after all. Thanks again for the tips, you all.

Oct 20, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Coming back to Detroit from Grand Rapids...

West Texas BBQ Co ?
http://www.westexbbq.com/

Oct 17, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Ann Arbor Michigan

Love the sour beer at Jolly Pumpkin! Great area for a stroll / window shopping, too.

Oct 13, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Ann Arbor Michigan

Aventura is quite good if you can afford to go a little bit trendy and upper scale.
I don't feel that their suckling pig is what they do best, though, despite their touting of it. Cool bar and some genuine talent in the kitchen.
http://aventuraannarbor.com/#about

Oct 12, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Dinner at El Asador, drinks at Sugar House (SW Detroit)

Wow, great write up HoB! Thanks for sharing. I'm now kind of wondering how I might put together a cream of poblano soup. Love the thought of swiss chard on a taco.
Good luck at work...

Oct 12, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

So if you were going to lunch in Birmingham, MI where would you go

Even if Social isn't the single optimal answer (can't be significantly from it), you still are going to need to hit this place to check it off on your list. So, you can't really lose.
If it is a cocktail lunch, I recommend the white sangria. Yum!

Sep 22, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Trip Report - Traverse City, Kalkaska, Leland, Fenton, Ann Arbor, Port Clinton

Ron's Cajun Connection ;-)
Their ettouffee and jambalaya recipes are on their website, but not their gumbo.

Sep 18, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

A Personal Announcement

Thank you for facilitating my years of enjoyment on the board. Kick butt in Law School. :-)

Sep 09, 2014
VTB in Site Talk
2

Lunch between Detroit and Frankenmuth, Michigan

Flint is more half way. But, if you are considering to stop around Clarkston, then go to the Clarkston Union or to the Woodshop. Not Andiamo's please...

Aug 31, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Detroit suggestions for lunch and dinner in the Motown Museum /Institute of Arts area

+1on Byblos and Shangrila. Woodbridge holds a fond place in many people's hearts, but would seem a little dicey of a place to take kids. BTW, even though Slows To Go doesn't officially have tables, my kid and I have always been able to manage with the counter....just wish they had beer so that I could drowned out my guilt while eating their fatty, carb-y fare.

Aug 21, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Detroit suggestions for lunch and dinner in the Motown Museum /Institute of Arts area

Like the suggestions. Seva would not be a memorable dinner experience, but would be good on some (maybe not all) lunch dishes. Very comfortable for kids (has good kids menu), as long as you don't mind your kids seeing tattoos and body piercing. Healthy, clean, pleasant. Mostly vegetarian. Decent bar.

Aug 20, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Holiday Market's The Smoke House: Just Say "No." [Detroit area]

Well, I guess I won't try to pile on, regarding ROHM. But, I did get a smile over the Kirk's reference. Memories! Hey, since other bbq places are being mentioned, let me throw out a compliment for the Detroit Barbecue Company. They work out of a luxury trailer at Kuhnhenn's brewpub Tuesdays through Fridays until September 11. After, it will be Wednesdays through Saturdays. I got the two meat combo and chips for $12 including tax. No tip seemingly required. The brisket and pulled pork were HUGE. More than enough for two people. The brisket was very good. The pulled pork was good, especially the edges having some bark. Sauce actually was good. I have a vague memory of having had tough brisket from some guest server at Kuhnhenn in the past. Can't recall whether it was Detroit Barbecue Co (Kuhnhenn affects memory). Regardless, last eve was way worth it.
https://m.facebook.com/Detbbqco?_rdr
ps- some dude on Yawn is really pissed at Detroit Barbecue Co for them having not shown up to cater his big party. Not sure about the real story, but I think I'll just limit my enjoyment to their trailer stops.

Aug 20, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

premium farm raised meats-muskegon

If I lived in your area, I'd check out Creswick Farms to see whether they have anything good going.
http://www.creswickfarms.com/home.html

Aug 19, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Ethnic (Thai, Filipino + more) in Corktown [Detroit]

I really can't wait to try Katoi (and I'm referring to the foodtruck meaning).
Thanks so much for the info!

Aug 19, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Mayonnaise safety: A question about salmonella on the shell of the egg (from a skeptic)

Thanks! That was a very interesting read.

Aug 16, 2014
VTB in General Topics

"Jen Rou Fen" (prepared rice powder for steaming meats)??

PS-- 'poppy seed size' may be a bit small of a descriptor. A better gauge would be that each rice piece should be broken to about 1/3 to 1/4 of its original size. A mortar and pestle can be used, too.

Aug 16, 2014
VTB in General Topics
1

"Jen Rou Fen" (prepared rice powder for steaming meats)??

The key ingredient is raw (uncooked) rice, which has been toasted (you could do in a dry skillet) and then ground to maybe poppy seed size (you could use a clean coffee grinder). The rest of the ingredients are optional, such as MSG and five spice, particularly star anise...but these adders may be redundant with your other recipe ingredients. Note that the star anise in the jen rou fen will be inferior to that which you have or should have as one of the other disctrete ingredients. Yum, enjoy!!!!

Aug 15, 2014
VTB in General Topics

Moo Shu, Thai Taco, Curry Dishes & Bubble Tea YIPPEE [Yum Yum Express. Lincoln Park, MI]

Thanks for read! Good pics and interesting food. I don't often make it to Lincoln Park but if I do, I'll check it out for some fun.

Aug 12, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Chadd's Bistro - Rochester

Went to Chadd's "Bistro" today. Thanks for the tip on the place and on the Auburn Rd traffic.  I took M59 to Dequindre, which was much nicer.

 

Okay, I will be back to this place. I had the Highlander and the Skinny John. But, I can't in good conscience recommend these sandwiches to fit girls, like I would Zingermann's, which relies mostly on plain house bread and a big stack of lean quality meat.

 

These Chadd's sandwiches were funky, greasy and messy. Thick bread (good stuff from local bakery - Breadwinner on Main north of Univ.) grilled with lots of oil, modest amounts of meat (source not yet known to me), and lots of dressing and cheese and sauces and gosh knows what other sins. An intense fix for a self-hating binge.

 

The pickles were good, even if not notable. The slaw was very fresh and homemade, though one has to be accepting of heavy caraway, which I am. The sweet potato fries were very naturally intense, but greasy, too. They usually come with cinnamon and sugar or syrup (yikes!), but I asked for ketchup, instead. It turned out to be homemade, apparently from cooked down crushed tomatoes and pureed caramelized onions or something. I don't know, but it was yummy!

 

All the people working there take great ownership over the customer experience. Tip of the hat to them all. I don't know if they are all partners, or maybe just well managed. This isn't to say, if you get a little snippy there, that they won't come over the second hand counter and kick the crap out of you. Too, the clientele seemed to appreciate this rough-around-the-edges vibe.  As you guys said, this place is far off the quaint main strip of Downtown Rochester; rather, it is way out on Auburn Rd.

Aug 10, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Birmingham/Ferndale MI for 6-7 quiet table and tasty

There are a lot of places in Birmingham and Ferndale. But, my comment simply is that I don't remember Streetside Seafood EVER being quiet. Social, yes. Quiet, no.

Aug 09, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Cerviche

Sorry. Not on the East side. As mentioned, Mexicantown (not the main strip) has some options such as Mi Pueblo (http://www.mipueblorestaurant.com/) , which is pretty good, though it is a style having tomato juice. There probably are some even better ones. You may want to look thru the "best Mexican" archive in GL CH and then do some online menu surfing on some of the places favorably reviewed by this board.

Most places seem to not want to deal with the quality ingredients and handling involved in preparing non-temperature-sterilized seafood.

If you want to stay somewhat East, I would just recommend you pick up some sashimi grade mixed seafood from Noble Fish in Clawson. With simply some peppers, citrus, scallion, garlic and cilantro (plus staples such as sugar/salt/oil) you'll be just fifteen minutes away from really good ceviche.

Aug 09, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Doufuhua (tofu fa) in Cincinnati

Doufuhua (Mandarin; Cantonese would say fa instead of hua) is watery silken tofu. It can come with a sweet syrup or with a clear brown salty liquid on it.
Just trying to prompt others in Cincy who may have enjoyed this at a restaurant and just not realized what it was called. It's often served at dim sum places.

Aug 05, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Chadd's Bistro - Rochester

Interesting, thanks!

Aug 05, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Did Pars in Farmington Hills actually reopen as scheduled?

Shoot, since it was off menu, I don't know. But, I would guess with high certainty that it is $12.99 or less, including rice.

Aug 02, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Did Pars in Farmington Hills actually reopen as scheduled?

I’ll try (may not be able to resist) to spare you guys my typical pompous, amateurish “analysis.” But, I can report that I’ve now tried both of the new Persian restos in town--- Pars and nearby Rumi --- for a head to head ghormeh sabzi taste-off. How nice it is to have some Persian food in the area…

Although Pars’ building obviously had been home to some other less fancy tenants, it now is elegantly dressed up. Glad I didn’t wear tennis shoes, even though I’m sure I’d have been welcome either way. Big crowd this eve, bless their hearts. Mostly Iranian Americans and Iranian born USA residents, with many of the women being dressed in full length chadors(?) or at least in big loose fitting clothes with head scarfs. Somewhat ironically, yet still anticipated, the hostesses were very slender, attractive, young blondes who were less modestly attired…not to be a complainer.

The employees were very attentive, conscientious and plentiful. I would only comment that it was painfully obvious they were inexperienced. I don’t much care, other than that I was a bit embarrassed for them while they struggled. I should also correct a bit of info I previously passed along: though the person answering the phone informed me beer and wine are served, it turns out that Pars will not be able to serve at least until sometime next week.

Anyway, I ordered the ghormeh sabzi, a surprisingly dark dull green monochromatic puree of parsley, green onions, cilantro, fenugreek, dried lime, etc.. with a small amount of kidney beans and browned beef cubes added after the pureeing. This underwhelming sight comes in a medium sized bowl along with a plate of basmati rice. I found it to be delicious. Clearly the work of a real chef. It probably should have been accompanied by something. Anything. A little bread and feta/mint, or some pickles, or just something to make the meal appear more three dimensional. Regardless, I went there for a unique and special taste, and I got what I came for. The $14.99 price seemed very reasonable. Though, with the more downscale, but flavorful Zayeqa Pakistani joint approximately at the same intersection, I anticipate some will say they’d prefer the latter. There’s room for both.

For kicks, I also ordered the fesenjan for takeout. It was comprised of a small portion of chicken cubes, sautéed with a walnut and pomegranate puree. $17.99. Not much to say, other than everyone should try this famous Persian dish at least once, whether it bores you or tickles your fancy. Delicate, sour and rich. Note that the point of the dish is the gravy and rice. The chicken is not the central feature. To wrap up, I feel that the classy (however tasteful you find the fancy decorations to be) and affordable Pars is a valuable new part of the metro area dining scene.

Next, I stopped by Rumi in downtown Farmington (kinda nice area for an evening stroll!). Rumi is more of a stark, short order joint. This being said, the cook (this eve) was Iranian and he has a lot of experience working in California at Persian restaurants. Okay, Rumi is not high cuisine, but that isn’t to say it is inauthentic, and simple authenticity is what you want, right? The ghormeh sabzi was a larger portion, at $2 lower in price, versus Pars. Bigger chunks of meat, too, if that is what you are in to. I liked it and will be back. But, next time I may try their khoresht gheimeh, made of beef chunks, tomatoes, yellow split peas, onion, lime and spices, along with eggplant. Hmmmm?! These are the two Persian off-menu ‘stews du jour’ usually offered, along the Lebanese standard kabobs, etc. On weekends they sometimes also offer a ‘bagheli polo’ which I think is basmati rice baked with fava or lima beans, saffron and fresh dill, etc.. Would like to try that, too.

Whatever caricatures you may have seen of Iranians, I would at least like to contend that the people are leaders in the education of women, they are friendly to modern Germany (i.e., some liberal Westerners), and they possess a classical culinary tradition. FWIW. Cheers

Aug 01, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Michigan Food Tour Musts?

Unfortunately, I don't have anything to add to your trip. But, that Pinterest page was awesome.

Aug 01, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Has anyone tried the persian food at Rumi's Farmington Hills?

Something tells me that you know more about this place than you are letting on. Looks to me like Rumi's is a Persian owned restaurant selling Lebanese food, along with only a couple Persian dishes. That being said, the pics I've found on the web look pretty darn good. If I swing by there and try the Persian stew of the day, I'll let you know how it (or your's) is. Thanks for bringing this place to my attention, in any case!
http://www.rumisflame.com/#!menu/c11ip

Jul 31, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Did Pars in Farmington Hills actually reopen as scheduled?

Yup. Opened Tuesday. Apparently they unlock the doors at 4pm on weekdays, and at 11am on weekends (closing at 11pm). I've not yet made it over there. The host on the phone said their wine/beer license still is good.
PS--the hubbub is more of a personal fondness for Persian food, rather than a universal appeal thing, I think. In any event, I'm really looking forward to it.
Interesting interview regarding Persian food: http://www.splendidtable.org/episode/558

Jul 31, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Dragonmeade + Lazybones Menu (Dragonbones) - Detroit Suburbs

I've ordered LB delivery into Dragonmeade a couple few times and thought it was really cool. The LB phone (counter) folks reported growing weary of buzzed callers. (Not me ;-) )

I can't imagine Dragonmeade having good food of their own. Guess I'll just have to go with beer only. Thanks for the heads up.

That being said, Lazybones can be pretty inconsistent, which drives me crazy. Went there the night before last and the sides such as beans (maybe too meaty), greens and mac & cheese were all solid (much better than a few years ago), and the pulled pork was excellent. But, my fave burnt ends were tough and forgettable, and the ribs were inedible dry rubber. I go once per quarter and never know what to expect from visit to visit.

Jul 26, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Addictive Eclectic Ribeye with Poblano Pepper La Crema Sauce, MONEY [El Asador Steakhouse, Detroit]

Wow, good looking pics!

Jul 26, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes