Detroit’s culinary scene heats up

Detroit’s culinary scene heats up
click to enlarge Grey Ghost - Marc Nader
Marc Nader
Grey Ghost

Read the full list of Best of Detroit 2017 Best Food winners here.

While unscientific, Best of Detroit voting can provide a pretty good picture of the Motor City's culinary drift. It's an undeniably exciting time in the region's dining scene, especially in greater downtown, where it's a challenge to stay on top of all of the city's new menus. Despite that, one fact remains: Michiganders still love the region's classics.

Of the roughly 100 food categories, only around 15 restaurants that opened in the last three years are represented (excluding the Best New Restaurant category). That's not necessarily a bad thing, and and it's likely because southeast Michigan's restaurateurs have offered up some damn good eateries for decades.

Among that list are household names like Zingerman's (Best Sandwich, Best Deli in Washtenaw), Joe Muer (Best Seafood), Avalon International Breads (Best Bakery), Fleetwood (Best Diner in Washtenaw), Slow's Bar BQ (Best Barbecue), Green Lantern (Best Round Pizza and Best Macomb Pizza), Bangkok 96 (Best Thai in Wayne), Bucharest (Best Shawarma), Buddy's (Best Pizza in Oakland and Wayne), Andiamo (Best Dessert in Oakland), Red Coat Tavern (Best Burger in Oakland), Toast (Best Brunch in Oakland), and Mudgie's (Best Deli in Wayne). That's a formidable roster of old schoolers.

It was also their ilk that dominated the Best Steakhouse category: Clawson Steakhouse, Knight's, London Chop House, and Mr. Paul's — all of which are deserving, though that'll be an interesting category to check next year after the Caucus Club and Prime and Proper get rolling.

Of the new-ish kids on the block, it was no surprise to find Mabel Gray's James Rigato took Best Chef for his refined, well-crafted modern American fare. The Morrie, with dishes like Kung Pao Cauliflower and Brisket Mac, and Bobcat Bonnie's, purveyor of spicy fried pickles and Queso Fundido, won Best Happy Hour in Oakland and Wayne, respectively. GreenSpace Cafe, which is the newest of the region's vegetarian and vegan shops with a range of creative offerings like carnitas burrito mojado or Salsicce, a flatbread with seitan sausage, took the Best Vegetarian honors.

O.W.L., which quickly built up a reputation for its wonderful marriage of American diner food and mexican fare, won in the Best Diner and Best 24 Hour/Late Night categories, and Pop's for Italian, with its Neapolitan pizzas and classic pastas like baked ziti and fettuccine alfredo, won Best Italian in Oakland.

The Best New Restaurants category saw no real surprises given the amount of chatter and excitement each generated. That includes Black Rock (Macomb), Otus Supply (Oakland), Mikette Bistro & Bar (Washtenaw), and Grey Ghost (Wayne).

Perhaps the most passionately debated dish in Detroit is the coney dog, and the hottest contest in that mix is between Lafayette and American in downtown Detroit. This year, it's Lafayette that wins the contest, while National Coney Island takes the honors in Oakland and Macomb, and Uptown Coney Island wins in Washtenaw. American Coney Island's crunchy taters are considered the Best Fries in town, according to our readers.

Another lively conversation is that on the best Detroit-style pizza. Is it the style's creator, Buddy's, that deserves the award? Or do one if its break-offs, like Loui's, Shields, or the new up-and-comer, Detroit Pizza Company, do it better? None of the above, say our voters: They selected metro Detroit chain Papa Romano's as the best Detroit Style/Deep Dish pizza.

In Washtenaw County, readers say NeoPapalis makes the best pizza pie, and Supino Pizzeria — with its New York-style thin crusts that include options like the Affumicata with smoked gouda, mozzarella, smoked prosciutto, chopped parsley, and roasted garlic — wins in the Most Creative Pizza category.

Metro Detroit also holds a long list of respectable restaurants with international flavors. According to our voters, the best tacos are not found in the heavily Mexican southwest Detroit, but at the popular Imperial in Ferndale, which serves up varieties like papas con rojas, a chorizo, potato, and queso fresco taco. Readers also say Shangri-La, a hip Midtown Chinese eatery that specializes in dim sum, is the region's best option for Chinese food. Corktown anchor Slow's Bar BQ wins for best barbecue, but Smoke Ring, with its Kansas City-inspired barbecue and amazing brisket, is the best of Detroit's thriving food truck fleet, readers say. And for Italian, our readers pointed to fan favorite Giovanni's, a classic restaurant that trades in homemade pasta, fresh ingredients, lots of tangy tomato sauce, and homemade pasta. If it's fresh fish that you crave, our readers say to head to Ichiban in Sterling Heights or Canton, a sleek, hip eatery with all of the classic rolls and inventive specials like the Spicy Girl, with crunchy spicy tuna, yellowtail, and salmon covered in spicy mayonnaise and caviar.

But with all those good dishes to eat, which restaurants stand out above the rest? Which are the best in their respective counties? In Wayne County, readers say it's Selden Standard. The hip Midtown spot sets the bar for seasonal small plates and works closely with local farmers to find the best ingredients for dishes like Cauliflower Fritters or Rabbit Porchetta. In Oakland County, Bistro 82 is what many consider the "crown jewel" of the area's dining scene for its French-inspired menu, attention to detail, and execution. In Macomb, readers selected Luciano's, a mainstay since it opened in the 1980s. It's your classic upscale Italian experience with white linens, soft lighting, and a menu of old-fashioned northern and southern Italian cuisine that's made with fresh, natural ingredients. And in Washtenaw County, voters say Aventura, an Iberian eatery heavy on the olive oil, seafood, chorizo, and manchego is the Ann Arbor area's best restaurant.

Best Bagel
New York Bagel
23316 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-2580;

Best Bakery
Avalon International Breads
422 W. Willis St. , Detroit; 313-832-0008;

Best Bar Food
Common Pub
5440 Cass Ave. , Detroit; 313-285-8849;

Best Barbecue Restaurant
Slow's Bar BQ
2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-9828;

Best Breakfast/Brunch (Macomb)
The Pantry
34220 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights; 586-939-1370;

Best Breakfast/Brunch (Oakland)
23144 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-398-0444;

Best Breakfast/Brunch (Washtenaw)
216 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-623-2233;

Best Breakfast/Brunch (Wayne)
Parks & Rec Diner
1942 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-446-8370;

Best Burger (Macomb)
Irish Craft
36759 Mound Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-264-9500;

Best Burger (Oakland)
Redcoat Tavern
31542 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-549-0300;

Best Burger (Washtenaw)
216 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-623-2233;

Best Burger (Wayne)
Millers' Bar
23700 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-565-2577;

Best Cajun (Macomb)
Gator Jake's
36863 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights; 586-983-3700;

Best Cajun (Oakland)
Howe's Bayou
22848 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-691-7145;

Best Cajun (Washtenaw)
Mac's Acadian Seafood Shack
104 E. Michigan Ave., Saline; 734-944-6227;

Best Cajun (Wayne)
Louisiana Gumbo
13505 W. 7 Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-397-4052;

Best Chef
James Rigato, Mabel Gray
23825 John R Rd., Hazel Park; 248-398-4300;

Best Chicken and Waffles
Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles
19345 Livernois Ave., 313-861-0229;

Best Chinese
4710 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-974-7669;

Best Coffeehouse (non-chain) (Macomb)
Che Cosa
24394 Crocker Blvd., Clinton Twp.; 586-477-1200

Best Coffeehouse (non-chain) (Oakland)
300 Hamilton Row, Birmingham; 248-792-9766;

Best Coffeehouse (non-chain) (Washtenaw)
117 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-369-2494;

Best Coffeehouse (non-chain) (Wayne)
Red Hook
8025 Agnes St, Detroit, 313-458-8761;

Best Coney (Macomb)
National Coney Island
15555 Hall Rd., Macomb; 586-566-9558;

Best Coney (Oakland)
National Coney Island
1812 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-398-6111;

Best Coney (Washtenaw)
Uptown Coney
3917 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-665-5909;

Best Coney (Wayne)
Lafayette Coney Island
118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-964-8198

Best Corned Beef
Bread Basket Deli
Mulitple locations;

Best Cuban
1250 Library St., Detroit; 313-962-8800;

Best Deep Dish/Detroit Pizza
Papa Romano's
Various locations;

Best Deli (Macomb)
Bread Basket Deli
Mulitple locations;

Best Deli (Oakland)
Bread Basket Deli
Mulitple locations;

Best Deli (Washtenaw)
Zingerman's Delicatessen
422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354;

Best Deli (Wayne)
1300 Porter St., Detroit; 313-961-2000;

Best Desserts at a Restaurant (Macomb)
Vast Kitchen and Bar
52969 Van Dyke, Shelby Charter Twp.; 586-991-6104;

Best Desserts at a Restaurant (Oakland)
129 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9300;

Best Desserts at a Restaurant (Washtenaw)
La Dolce Vita Ann Arbor
322 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 888-456-3463;

Best Desserts at a Restaurant (Wayne)
Rock City Eatery
4216 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-265-3729;

Best Diner (Macomb)
Orange Peel
13522 22 Mile Rd., Shelby Charter Twp.; 586-726-7335

Best Diner (Oakland)
27302 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-808-6244

Best Diner (Washtenaw)
Fleetwood Diner
300 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-995-5502;

Best Diner (Wayne)
Dime Store
719 Griswold St., Ste. 180, Detroit; 313-962-9106;

Best Fish & Chips
Terry's Terrace
36470 Jefferson Ave., Harrison Charter Twp., 586-463-2671;

Best Food Truck
Smoke Ring
Detroit; 248-974-5745;

Best Fries
American Coney Island
114 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-7758;

Best Greek Restaurant
558 Monroe Ave., Detroit; 313-964-6800;

Best Gyro (Macomb)
Olga's Kitchen
43201 Garfield Rd., Charter Twp. of Clinton.; 586-416-0300;

Best Gyro (Oakland)
121 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-629-6500;

Best Gyro (Washtenaw)
1425 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-390-9090;

Best Gyro (Wayne)
Golden Fleece
525 Monroe Ave., Detroit; 313-962-7093;

Best Happy Hour Food (Macomb)
Butter Run Saloon
27626 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-675-2115;

Best Happy Hour Food (Oakland)
The Morrie
511 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-216-1112;

Best Happy Hour Food (Washtenaw)
Bona Sera
200 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-340-6335;

Best Happy Hour Food (Wayne)
Bobcat Bonnie's
1800 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-1383;

Best Hibachi
1824 W. 14 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-288-6666;

Best Indian Restaurant
1739 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-662-2877;

Best Irish
Conor O'Neill's
318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968;

Best Italian Restaurant (Macomb)
Da Francesco's
49624 Van Dyke Ave., Utica; 586-731-7544;

Best Italian Restaurant (Oakland)
Pop's for Italian
280 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ste. #2, Ferndale; 248-268-4806

Best Italian Restaurant (Washtenaw)
Mani Osteria
341 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-769-6700;

Best Italian Restaurant (Wayne)
330 Oakwood Blvd., Detroit; 313-841-0122;

Best Juice Bar
Beyond Juice
270 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham; 248-594-7078;

Best Late Night/24-Hour Restaurant
27302 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-808-6244

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant
Al Ameer
12710 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-8185;

Best New Restaurant (Macomb)
Black Rock Bar & Grill
12515 Hall Rd., Utica; 586-488-1747;

Best New Restaurant (Oakland)
Otus Supply
345 E. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-291-6160;

Best New Restaurant (Washtenaw)
Mikette Bistro & Bar
1759 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-436-4363;

Best New Restaurant (Wayne)
Grey Ghost
47 Watson St., Detroit; 313-262-6534;

Best Piano Bar
526 Main Dueling Piano Bar
526 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-591-9000;

Best Pizza (Macomb)
Green Lantern Pizzeria
48848 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb; 586-221-2768;

Best Pizza (Oakland)
Buddy's Pizza
2612 N. Squirrel Rd., Auburn Hills; 248-276-9040;

Best Pizza (Washtenaw)
Neo Papalis
500 E. William St., Ann Arbor; 734-929-2227;

Best Pizza (Wayne)
Buddy's Pizza
17125 Conant St., Detroit; 313-892-9001;

Best Polish
Polish Village
2990 Yemans St., Hamtramck; 313-874-5726;

Best Poutine
Vinsetta Garage
27799 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-548-7711;

Best Raw Bar
Cacao Tree
204 W. 4th St., Royal Oak; 248-336-9043;

Best Restaurant (Macomb)
Luciano's Italian Restaurant
39091 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-263-6540;

Best Restaurant (Oakland)
Bistro 82
401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak; 248-542-0082;

Best Restaurant (Washtenaw)
216 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-369-3153;

Best Restaurant (Wayne)
Selden Standard
3921 2nd Ave., Detroit; 313-438-5055;

Best Romantic Restaurant
6067 26 Mile Rd., Washington; 586-786-4674;

Best Round Pizza
Green Lantern Pizzeria
48848 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb; 586-221-2768;

Best Saganaki
558 Monroe Ave., Detroit; 313-964-6800;

Best Sandwich
Zingerman's Delicatessen
422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354;

Best Seafood
Joe Muer
400 Renaissance Center, Detroit; 313-567-6837;

Best Shawarma
1623 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-965-3111;

Best Sliders
Joe's Hamburgers
3041 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-285-0420;

Best Soul Food
Beans and Cornbread
29508 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-208-1680;

Best Specialty Pizza
2457 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-7879;

Best Steakhouse (Macomb)
Mr. Paul's Chop House
29850 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 586-777-7770;

Best Steakhouse (Oakland)
Clawson Steakhouse
56 S. Rochester Rd., Clawson; 248-588-5788;

Best Steakhouse (Washtenaw)
Knight's Steakhouse
600 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-887-6899;

Best Steakhouse (Wayne)
London Chop House
155 W. Congress St., Detroit; 313-962-0277;

Best Sub Shop
Jersey Mike's
23058 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-291-5808;

Best Sushi
44955 Hayes Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-580-2546;

Best Tacos
Imperial Bar
22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-850-8060;

Best Thai (Macomb)
Bangkok Cuisine
2149 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-977-0130;

Best Thai (Oakland)
Sy Thai
459 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-817-2694;

Best Thai (Washtenaw)
Marnee Thai
414 S. Main St., Ste. #130, Ann Arbor; 734-929-9933;

Best Thai (Wayne)
Bankok 96
2450 S. Telegraph Rd., Dearborn; 313-730-8161;

Best Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant
GreenSpace Cafe
215 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-206-7510;

Best Wings (Macomb)
Tilted Kilt
44935 Hayes Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-799-4135;

Best Wings (Oakland)
Buffalo Wild Wings
500 Main St., Royal Oak; 248-744-4470;

Best Wings (Washtenaw)
Red Rock BBQ
207 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-340-2381;

Best Wings (Wayne)
Sweetwater Tavern
400 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-962-2210;

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