Bistro in Detroit

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    Balkan Bistro
    Highlighting Turkish fare, diners should find plenty of new choices in this underrepresented cuisine. Try the “mixed Turkish plate,” which includes kadinbudu köfte, hunkar begendi, eggplant kebab and chicken shish. Hunkar begendi is described as “veal stew on a bed of mashed grilled eggplant with béchamel sauce and mozzarella” is smoky and creamy. Kadinbudu köfte, a beef and rice meatball in a soft shell of beaten eggs, is drier by comparison, but the eggplant kebab, which is ground beef wrapped in eggplant, and chicken shish are both appropriately succulent. Even the sole kebabs burst with their flavor.
    Bath City Bistro
    A recently completed renovation has brought the Bath City Bistro back to its original turn-of-the-century glory. The walls are decorated with historical photographs of Mt. Clemens from its heyday as "Bath City, USA" The Bistro's main attraction is its three lanes of trough bowling, a traditional Belgian sport that could be described as a cross between boccie ball and shuffleboard. You can enjoy your favorite beverage while trough bowling with new friends, or sit back and watch others play from the main dining room. The Bistro is open for lunch and dinner, with a menu that includes a wide variety of appetizers, steaks, calzones and seafood (the mussels are a Belgian favorite).
    Bistro 222
    Mediterranean-inspired menu including: main course salads, gourmet pizzas, pastas, gourmet signature sandwiches and Bistro Favorites.
    Executive chef Kipp Bourdeau cooks up innovative bistro-style cuisine, including dishes such as crab-and Asiago-crusted whitefish with sautéed spinach and grain mustard vinaigrette as well as maple-and-pecan-cured salmon. The decor is inviting, and the circle-in-a-square dining room offers many opportunities for privacy. No smoking.
    Bon Vie
    Bon Vie certainly scores with its crispy Tomato Provencal Flatbread appetizer ($9), which surpasses most of the thin designer pizzas offered for firsts elsewhere. And the roasted beets, accompanied by green beans, cheese and almonds ($7) compete easily with many of the recently trendy beet salads I have had. I wish I could say the same about the immense but just OK Salad Nicoise ($13), where the seemingly unmarinated potato and tuna cubes and minuscule egg bits were slightly off-key. Although a few of the 15 entrées soar into the 20s, most fall comfortably within the mid-to high-teens, such as, for example, Atlantic salmon, presented somewhat unusually with mushrooms and capers in a lemon sauce. It was a tad salty, perhaps because of the caper brine, but French cuisine often is a tad salty for some American tastes. Bon Vie’s hefty portions of deftly seasoned, marbled beef easily meet the authenticity test, although those with tender palates should steer clear of the incendiary pepper steak. Steak plates come with a choice of one of the bistro’s several outstanding side salads. As befits a respectable bistro, Bon Vie has an interesting global wine list with one-third of the two dozen bottles under $30. Deserts ($5-$6) are French traditional with the dreamy lemon tart a fine choice among the crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, profiteroles, and cherry clafouti.
    Boodles
    Steak dominates the fare and there’s nothing on the menu that would make a meat-and-potatoes lover squirm. Six dishes under the heading “VIP” are flambéed at two stations in the dining room. All of the entrées we tried were very good: seafood strudel ($16.95), fettuccine carbonara (prepared with chicken), veal Marsala, seafood marinara ($17.95). Sides are predictable, such as green beans. Soup or salad comes with entrees; the clam chowder, which we had in both the New England and Manhattan variations, is terrific. Service is a serious issue that needs attention from management.

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