Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Soul heir

1917 American Bistro gives soul food a bistro foundation

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Don and Katrina Studvent’s new place is a bistro, if there can be an American version with a soul food foundation, and no liquor license for a few more months. It’s a bistro in the sense that it’s a family-owned place that serves moderately priced, relatively simple dishes and simple meals. It’s pretty, with attractive prices and a $13 Sunday brunch buffet that includes catfish with grits, chicken with waffles. Other choices are fried potatoes, turkey sausage, country bacon, fried ham, fried turkey, omelets, French toast, fresh fruit, breads and pastries.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cajun hideaway

Howe's Bayou is a taste of New Orleans right in Ferndale

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

With New Orleans-flavored prints on the wall and a plea to “let the good times roll” in Cajun French above the bar, the atmosphere is laid-back, with dark wood panels, tables and a long, graceful bar, the slender space is cozy under low-hung ceiling fans. All but the most fainthearted of eaters should try the crawfish boil. If you’re not so bold, order the crunchy and mild deep-fried popcorn crawdad tails or the more refined crawfish cakes. Out of the 10 “po’ boy” sandwiches served on a French loaf with fresh Southern slaw, the one packed with sweet and tender pan-fried Andouille sausage-encrusted oysters is always a pleaser. The dark roux-based crawfish étouffée is a good choice off the entrée menu, though there have been times it hasn’t had the deep, roasted-nut essence you expect from that preparation. Though small, the drink lists are carefully considered. There are no bottles of wine costing more than $30 and the selection is surprisingly diverse.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Borders on greatness

The former Noi finds a new kind of cool

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

I write this review knowing that most metro Detroiters aren't going to brave the border for a burger, no matter how singular. But might they for a bit part in a feature film? When we visited Motor Burger early one Saturday evening, the Canadian Film Board was there with a...

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A west side winner

Bistro 222's "culinary adventure" in Dearborn

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Bistro 222's reasonable prices and stylishly retrofitted space are complemented by imaginative Californian-Italian cuisine. Starters ($6-$8) are highlighted by “April’s crispy calamari,” a mess of little cephalopod rings accompanied by a marinara sauce enlivened with red peppers, olives and garlic. Much of the fare is assertively spiced, such as the zesty and generous portion of bruschetta topped with tomatoes, onions and peppers, and small scallops sautéed in a tangy lemon-garlic sauce and artfully presented in three scallop shells. Lunchgoers can keep their meals relatively light by choosing among five individual pizzas, a dozen sandwiches with potatoes and salad ($6.95-$8.95) featuring the curious, patented ground shrimp burger on ciabatta, and several entrée-sized salads. As for dinner, if you are going to pass on pasta for a main, you might consider one or two of the six variations ($11.95-$14.95) for your tablemates to share as an intermediate course, or primi piatti. Most of the entrées are $15 or $16, a surprisingly low price considering the quality of the ingredients and the careful thought that has gone into their creation and presentation. All of the desserts, except for the ethereal, ultra-light house-made tiramisu, come from the respectable outside supplier, Sweet Street Desserts.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Heart and soul

Lady Louisa's offers sizzle, smoke and soul on Detroit's west side

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Lady Louisa’s tagline is “Slow Cooked Ribs and Comfort Food.” It’s interesting that just about nothing Americans call comfort food requires much chewing, though we’ve all had teeth from a very young age. We want our nostalgia soft, apparently, and that’s what their four cooks offer up. All meats, even turkey, are smoked before cooking. Green beans are cooked with lots of ham and potatoes, their essence distilled by hours on the stove. Collards hold their shape but are appropriately drenched in pot liquor. Macaroni and cheese is both creamy and sharp, using four cheeses. The sides list is long too.

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