600 Vester Ave., Ferndale; 248-658-4990; voyagerferndale.com
Let’s face it — metro Detroit is not known for its oysters. Our proximity from the coasts makes importing the fresh stuff a challenge, so much so that few have dared try. Enter Voyager, the ambitious Ferndale upstart that has managed to crack the code and rise to best seafood restaurant within a year of opening (and also make some slightly more prestigious best-of lists along the way). The small restaurant relies on a combination of dry ice and overnight shipping to ensure the freshness of its product, and sources from a variety of oyster farmers who can make it happen. The smallest of its suppliers is said to pack the molluscks in an Igloo cooler, along with reused two liters filled with ice, then wrap it in duct tape and send it off for next-day delivery (at least one oyster farmer is so small-time he apparently asks for the cooler to be shipped back). The menu features a rotating selection of oysters from the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf, which can come raw, fried, or grilled. Price points vary at the raw bar — from as low as a dollar during happy hour, all the way up to $3.25 per Olympia oyster (worth shelling out every penny). But the seafood selection extends beyond the shell fish for which it's best known. Voyager offers a range of classic and creative must-try plates, from standard-issue peel n’ eat shrimp with Old Bay, to crab chili spaghetti and hake tikka, a white fish with an Indian twist. Though MT readers voted Voyager best seafood, it could also be a contender for “best ambiance” — the vibe in the 30-something-seat garage-turned-eatery is charming and intimate, though not invasive, and its lighting is just right. —Violet Ikonomova
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.