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DTW: least sucky restaurant in RO

Bistro 82 just opened literally right next door to the theater, and might be one to look at as well. The chef used to be down at Iridescence and originally cooked under Takashi at both Tribute (before it closed) and in Chicago.

Cafe Muse is a good option, too, though. Some things are better than others there, but the menu is always interesting.

Mar 10, 2014
phamburg in Great Lakes

Stella Trattoria Traverse City MI

It's good, but I've long contended it's a little overrated. The reviews you'll see on Yelp are almost universally glowing (minus mine), but in my mind the execution doesn't live up to the high-minded concept.

With that said, everything's hyper-local, the menu is very interesting, and it all changes seasonally. It's just that not everything is done well, and I think some corners are cut sometimes (e.g. using the same sauce on a number of different dishes, which is a huge no-no in my mind). But you can still have a great meal there, you just have to get a little lucky with your selections.

Perhaps it's just overshadowed in my mind by the Cook's House, which IMO is truly the best restaurant in Michigan.

Mar 03, 2014
phamburg in Great Lakes

Detroit report

Great selections, with a ton of variety. Not sure I could've designed a better first tour through Detroit.

Glad you enjoyed Torino. Fantastic change of pace from the great selection of cheaper fare that comprises most of the Metro Detroit food scene. Out of interest, how did you find out about it? I've been trying to get the word out, but few people I know have heard about the tasting menu.

Anyway, thanks for the great report...

Jul 25, 2013
phamburg in Great Lakes

Guns + Butter Pop-Ups, Possible Permanent Location (DTW)

I was lucky enough to attend one earlier this year (got shut out of the most recent one). Given what I tasted, "decently good locavore chef" is underselling him just a little bit.

Everything is relative in Detroit, and I'm probably a bit biased because of my desire to have a local place put on the national map, but his food was some of the best I've had in years. The menu is kept intentionally vague and undescriptive to provide more of a surprise factor to each dish, so I wouldn't try to judge it based on that alone.

I say this as someone who's been very fortunate to have dined at a handful of three star Michelin places (not on my own dime). But a couple of Craig's dishes really blew my mind - awesome stuff.

And, yes, he did confirm to our group that a permanent location is almost certain for 2014, which is something to be very, very excited about. Aside from possibly Torino in Ferndale, no one's doing anything close to this in Metro Detroit right now. It's the kind of thing that (along with Torino, hopefully) could draw some national attention to the area that's been lacking since Takashi left town.

EDIT: BTW, the dinner was $80, but included drink pairings with each course. That's something that should be considered. The one I attended was $50 without pairings, so that's probably a good guide for the food-only price. That's not outrageous for a world-class tasting menu.

EDIT 2: Dave Gilbert (formerly of The Forest Grill) and Andy Hollyday (formerly of Roast) are also opening their own places either later this year or early in '14. They might also be in the same ballpark in terms of possible national recognition. Add in the possibility of Craft Work in the Village and Frontera next to Eastern Market and it's a fairly exciting time for Detroit dining - for the first time in a while.

Jul 11, 2013
phamburg in Great Lakes

Detroit, Ann Arbor foodie sites

Definitely Eat It Detroit as a first stop. Nicole's blog is:

Another great one for Detroit is The Detroit Foodie:

A2GastroBoy is the best I've seen for Ann Arbor:

Also, and conduct pretty decent food tours (I've heard) in the Metro area.

May 24, 2013
phamburg in Great Lakes

Farm-to-Table in Metro Detroit

Tallulah, Forest Grill and Toast in Birmingham, Grange and Logan in Ann Arbor.

Apr 26, 2013
phamburg in Great Lakes

Recommendations for Greektown Eats? Good Gyros a Plus [Detroit, MI]

Glad you enjoyed it! GF's gyros are something that more people should know about...

Dec 06, 2012
phamburg in Great Lakes

Recommendations for Greektown Eats? Good Gyros a Plus [Detroit, MI]

I still stand by the fact that Golden Fleece has the best gyros in metro Detroit. The sandwiches are huge and cheap (GF is the diviest place in Greektown), but the meat is what sets them apart. Very thick, juicy hunks of meat with a wonderful charred crunchiness to the exterior.

I wouldn't recommend everything else as highly, but the gyros are spectacular.

Nov 30, 2012
phamburg in Great Lakes

Filipino in Metro Detroit

I might be the last to know this, but with New Lutong Pinoy now closed and Royal Kubo already gone, is there anywhere in Metro Detroit to find filipino cuisine? And does anyone know the story behind New Lutong Pinoy closing, and if they're relocating somewhere else?

FYI: A place called Satay House appears to be opening in its place, with a listed grand opening of November 19th. It'll supposedly feature (I believe) Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine, which would be a gain for Detroit, since I don't believe you can find Malay/Singaporean food anywhere else. Assuming the place is decent, of course.

Nov 16, 2012
phamburg in Great Lakes