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    • Tamed flames

        Feeding its Livonia neighborhood for more than 10 years, this is a busy little place, but the staff is friendly and attentive. Authenticity has been subjugated to American tastes; fiery Szechuan specialties are toned down and interspersed with milder Cantonese entrées. Best bets include the Mandarin crispy duck and that old standby, moo goo gai pan (slabs of chicken breast sautéed with snow peas, bamboo shoots and mushrooms in a simple white sauce).
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    • Indian artistry

        Entrées at Rangoli come in small copper bowls. Among our favorites: nargisi aloo (a saucy, scooped-out potato stuffed with nuts, vegetables and cheese); chicken tikka masala (roasted breast meat in a thick and luscious sauce); spicy-hot chettinadu pepper chicken (fiery peppers in a coconut curry. If you’re new to Indian food, there are several combination dishes you can try, or come for the lunch buffet. You can’t beat the $8 price.
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    • Sweet sophistication

        In the shadow of the Fisher Building, Cuisine is a fine place for a celebration, and also attracts a bustling theater crowd. Inside, the 1920s house is simple but elegant — there's a full bar and seating both upstairs and down. The French-American menu is ambitious and creative, sophisticated and memorable. Each entrée on the short list is classically presented and perfectly executed; desserts are also marvelous.
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    • Primo pasta

        These adjoining restaurants serve robust Italian food made of fine ingredients. The Cook’s Shop specializes in tableside cooking — anything that can be flambéed is, and this can be lots of fun to watch. The family-style salad is tossed with big croutons and a wondrous, better-than-Caesar dressing. The egg and semolina pasta is made in-house, which may explain why it tastes so good no matter what sauce is on it. Don't skip the pasta appetizers, and try the sublime cherries flambé (served with vanilla ice cream) for dessert.
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    • Primo pasta

        These adjoining restaurants serve robust Italian food made of fine ingredients. The Cook’s Shop specializes in tableside cooking — anything that can be flambéed is, and this can be lots of fun to watch. The family-style salad is tossed with big croutons and a wondrous, better-than-Caesar dressing. The egg and semolina pasta is made in-house, which may explain why it tastes so good no matter what sauce is on it. Don't skip the pasta appetizers, and try the sublime cherries flambé (served with vanilla ice cream) for dessert.
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    • Familiar friends

        Every neighborhood should have a Jennifer’s Café: good food and reasonable prices on anything from a salad or a sandwich to an elaborate dinner. Twenty varieties of sandwiches are offered, most wrapped in a thin pita. Chicken, veal and fish predominate on the menu (although the beef tenderloin tips are outstanding), and dinner comes with soup or salad. There are also several Middle Eastern selections and a reasonably priced dessert menu.
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    • Family fusion

        Head chef Michael Lum says it best: "The idea is Asian-based, new-American cooking. It's traditional American cooking with Asian spices to give it a new flavor." Lum's extended family help in the kitchen and elsewhere: an uncle makes fresh noodles and Lum's wife creates sushi and other appetizers. Spotlight dishes include the duck Macao (marinated in spices, deep-fried, then coated with a spicy Asian sauce) and tomato soup (a thick broth with crispy sizzling rice, Chinese veggies and big chunks of chicken and shrimp).
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    • Fresh finned fare

        The setting is posh, with beveled glass windows set into the mahogany paneling, and the service is accomodating. The food's the clincher, though – whether slip-sliding simple raw oysters or savoring the most fussy presentation, such as cashew-crusted mahi mahi sweetened with Jamaica rum butter and a salsa of mango and red bell peppers. The menu is printed twice daily, with an impressive list of more than 30 fresh-catch offerings. Desserts are all rich and classic; be sure to call for reservations.
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    • Classic cones

        You can go to Guernsey Farms just for an ice cream cone, or to buy dairy products from a little convenience store, or you can go for a meal. In the restaurant, broasted chicken is the special. It comes with a tasty coleslaw and potato, as well as a scoop of ice cream. Also worth trying is the meat loaf or a broasted pork chop. And you're saving room for dessert, right? How about the Black and White sundae — a combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with marshmallow and hot fudge, sprinkled with nuts, piled with whipped cream, and a cherry? Wow!
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    • Family tradition

        Situated in Detroit's historic West Village, Misha's has a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Chef/owner Lillie Howard serves most of the entrées fried, grilled or sautéed — your choice. If you've never seen up close what "falling-off-the-bones tender" looks like, you'll see it in Misha's ribs. Portions are generous, and the barbecue sauce is nice and spicy. But the key to soul food is the sides, and there are all the standards here, and then some.
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    • Labor of love

        This isn't just a commercial enterprise — "It's a labor of love," says Stanley Grot, the Polish-American Cultural Center's president. You can get most of your Polish favorites here, beginning with czarnina (duck) soup, which alternates with flaczki (tripe) every other Friday. Pierogi come in potato, cheese or kraut (five for $5.75). Kielbasa is tasty and fresh and is served with sauerkraut. Two kinds of Polish beer are offered, along with the usual American varieties.
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    • Unpolished gem

        At Giorgio's you can get a grilled cheese sandwich or steak Diane. You can also order from the separate pasta menu. It looks like a retro lunch counter, but choose from the "Counterside Gourmet" section of the menu, and you might well be in a little Italian trattoria. This is a tiny eatery, so takeout is very popular — dinner at Giorgio's is a deal, and plenty of loyal customers know it.
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    • Gastronomic dream

        Chef and co-owner Kipp Bourdeau has opened his own dream restaurant, but we diners are the lucky ones. Starter courses are elegant and creative (don't skip the onion soup). Pork chops with Calvados cream sauce, jambalaya pasta, maple-cured salmon ... none of the entrées disappointed, and the prices are quite reasonable. It's not easy to make room for dessert, but you should definitely make an effort.
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    • Japan unmasked

        Kabuki serves a variety of Japanese and Korean specialties, including shabu-shabu (a classic Japanese fondue-type dish with meat and vegetables self-cooked in boiling water, served with dipping sauces) and bibimbap (a Korean dish served in a stone bowl, with rice, meat, vegetables and egg). A wide assortment of sushi and sashimi is also offered – many of the sushi rolls are the inventions of chef and owner K.J. Lee.
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    • Oyster wonderland

        The latest outpost of Tom's Oyster Bar, located right in downtown Detroit, right across from the RenCen (hear that, restaurateurs?), and always crowded (they said it couldn't be done), is a worthy addition to the ever-expanding chain. Noisy and cheerful at lunchtime and after work, Tom's gives a very convincing impression of a well-preserved 19th century pub. A variety of oysters is offered, the appetizer selection is extensive, and the main courses are mostly delicious.
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    • Eating with the fishes

        Dinner at Sindbad's is roadhouse fare, with an emphasis on steaks, chops and fish. Seafood appetizers include Snug Harbor mussels or Campeche Bay shrimp, and the clam chowder was the thick New England variety. The all-you-can-eat brunch buffet is a great way to spend Sunday morning.
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    • Essential elegance

        With a menu pared down to 14 entrées, Essence has a spare but lavish approach to dining. Fresh seasonal ingredients are used, and executive chef Mike Trombley prefers to do things "the old way, producing just about everything in-house." The dining room is simple but nicely appointed with white linens, and a fireplace makes it a cozy place to sit on a winter night. There's an impressive wine list, as well as 41 martini varieties.
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    • Delicately stuffed squid

        Our reviewer, Elissa Karg, was impressed that the waitstaff at Hong Hua writes orders in Chinese characters. You can't get much more authentic than that. "Fine Chinese Dining" reads the menu, and in many respects, that promise is fulfilled. The well-spaced tables are covered with white linen and set with white china. If you like quiet, this is a setting that will please.
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