Gettin’ sloppy at Detroit’s Sloppy Chops steakhouse

Teriyaki salmon.
Teriyaki salmon. Tom Perkins

Sloppy Chops Premium Steakhouse

13226 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit
Handicap accessible
2 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday brunch
Entrées $16-$55

Sloppy Chops' food is not sloppy! It's pretty good, though prices are on the high side, like $35 for lobster tacos and $50 for a filet, with no sides included. My partner groused about having to pay $6 extra for mashed spuds with his cowboy ribeye.

But they were good potatoes, peppery and not completely smooth, which is how I prefer them. The big, tender ribeye would have satisfied any cowboy, with its sharp "Signature Sloppy Sauce." Two pork chops were also tender and flavorful, with a bourbon glaze and a sauce on the side. Sauce is on almost every dish — perhaps the reason for the "sloppy" theme?

The restaurant was opened last year by a man who goes by "Chef Al," who recently opened a companion restaurant, Sloppy Crab, in the former Briggs Detroit space on Jefferson Avenue downtown. Plans are to expand with a nearby pizza spot and hookah bar, as well as a second Sloppy Chops somewhere in the city.

Though "steakhouse" and "chops" are in its name, Sloppy Chops offers a fair amount of seafood — salmon, shrimp, lobster, surf & turf — and there are six "Alfredo" dishes. Mexico and China are nodded to, with one taco dish and some eggrolls, and vegetarians can ask for a Portobello burger with spinach and Swiss. Chicken appears as deep-fried tenders (bring the kids) and in a couple of garlic-sauce dishes. But mostly it is indeed steaks and chops, including lamb and pork.

Crusty teriyaki salmon comes with a pretty flower, pineapple on the side, and a sweet sauce. It was more well done than I prefer but suited its owner just fine. Saucy shrimp alfredo just tasted like Parmesan, quite sharp, and IMO the same happened to salmon alfredo — the seafood, which seemed quite fine, was obscured by the sauce. Garlic Parmesan fries were Parm-heavy too. Garlic bread, on the other hand, was perfect — so simple yet so right.

Asparagus, too, with a garlic cream sauce, was cooked to just the right degree of doneness, though the number of spears, five, was disappointing. Other possible sides are mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon sugar and marshmallows, diced smothered potatoes with mixed cheese, peppers, and onions, and "best mac and cheese ever," which is very cheesy.

A different night a companion ordered a half-pound burger and was reasonably satisfied, though it was not well-done as he'd asked. His Caesar was "normal," with a thick garlicky dressing. I was sorry to see my three lobster tacos served on a flour tortilla, though I guess that's the norm. They were breaded and topped with corn and slaw, and after two hours waiting seemed like manna in the wilderness.

If you go to Sloppy Chops, bring a few bags of Goldfish to tide you over. On my first visit, our food came to the table 75 minutes after we did, and the silverware later than that. On my second visit, the food was served 135 minutes after we arrived at our reservation time.

The 75-minute wait was not an anomaly. As far as I could tell, service was equally slow at other tables. Mostly it was kind and friendly. A server warned us, "The green beans have no flavor." We were offered tastes of wine before choosing, and one night we did get three of the five sides we ordered. There was a propensity to take items off the bill to make up for any shortcomings. One time, the broccoli didn't come, but by then, who was counting? The website used to warn sternly, "Business casual will be enforced," but that rule is no longer there, and patrons were wearing what they pleased. The Lions were cheered on by the group around the bar.

Alcohol is not the feature at Sloppy Chops, though there's a bar in the dining room; there's no wine list per se and you're told the beers are Bud and Heineken. The Sloppy Cocktails list includes Hennessy with strawberry lemonade, an "Old Fashioned Lodge" with Jameson, sweet & sour, apple schnapps and ginger ale, and a $25 Sloppy Night Cap with vodka, gin, rum, tequila, Blue Curaçao, and lemonade (call Lyft). I got the Sloppy Moscow, which added rum to the normal mule recipe, and it was just fine.

Sunday brunch was recently added, and carry-out is another option.

Note that Sloppy Chops is not sloppy on the collection end. A gratuity is automatically added to your bill: 18% before any of the apology discounts you may receive.

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About The Author

Jane Slaughter

Jane Slaughter is a former editor of Labor Notes and co-author of Secrets of a Successful Organizer. Her writing has also appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Monthly Review, and In These Times.
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