See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Food Stuff 

A flurry of restaurant openings made it under the wire for Super Bowl week, and may the strong survive after the big game’s gone. One of the most interesting is the meticulous restoration and reopening of Cliff Bell’s, a posh downtown supper club at the corner of Park Avenue and Elizabeth Street. Designed by prolific Detroit architect Charles N. Agree — he also did the Vanity Ballroom, the Beverly Theatre, the Whittier and Belcrest hotels, Harpo’s Concert Theatre and the Trans-Lux Krim Theater among many others — it closed 30 years ago, but now finds a second life under the owners of Traffic Jam and The Bronx Bar.

Out yonder, in Plymouth, Five Restaurant — a contemporary fine-eats addition to the Inn at St. John’s conference complex — has hung its reputation on the cooking skills of chef Tom MacKinnon. Based on the longtime quality of Tom’s food at MacKinnon’s in next-door Northville, it should be a safe bet.

Also benefiting in big ways from its architectural housing is Grand City Grille, opened late last month in the Fisher Building. It’s the newest from Frank Taylor’s downtown dining powerhouse, the Southern Hospitality Restaurant Group, including Seldom Blues in the RenCen and Breakfast House & Grill @ Merchant’s Row, adjacent to Campus Martius.

Westerly fans of the little Breakfast Club in Madison Heights will be pleased to know it’s added a location in Farmington Hills.

Eat the Page

Want Spanish eats in metro Detroit? Good luck finding a restaurant. Yet, most ingredients are available, and an informative Spanish cookbook can help you reproduce most any dish. The Cuisines of Spain (Ten Speed, $40) is one of the best. Chef and author Teresa Barrenechea covers the classics and includes native tips to pull off such deceptively simple-sounding stuff as papas arrugadas ("wrinkled potatoes"): To keep the steamed spuds from sticking, place "small, clean, uniform stones on the bottom of the pan."

A Tasty Beverage

Pu-erh, one of the least known teas outside its native China, could be called an acquired taste. But it’s the heavy aroma — dank and earthy — that may at first give pause. Sip the tea, hot or iced, and you find the imposingly dark red brew is unexpectedly crisp, pleasant and refreshing, with a distinctly sweet aftertaste. Credited with many health benefits, it actually improves with age. Available online, including from the highly informative pu-erhtea.com, and the metro Detroit merchant, grandteastand.com.

It Works

Few kitchen gadgets sound less likely to work, but deliver big time, than KitchenArt’s Buttermate. Sized to hold one stick of butter or (feh!) margarine, it both dispenses and slices pats as thin as a sliver or in measured increments by the teaspoons or tablespoon. The guillotine slicer cuts with a taut wire, similar to a cheese cutter, and is spring loaded so you can use it with one hand while working with the other. Around $15 locally; Amazon sale price, $8.

Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit