Monday, June 20, 2016

First Taste: Chubby Duck now slanging sushi rolls in Harmonie Park

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 3:06 PM

  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels
The line out the door of the tiny new Chubby Duck takeout eatery was evidence enough that downtown workers are craving a legit sushi spot.

Open just a few weeks in the Harmonie Park area of downtown, Chubby Duck is the brainchild of Ian Diem, who hails from Flint and whose creations have been offered to the masses at the city's farmer's market.

Now hungry Detroiters are getting a taste of his creations inside the shoebox-sized bistro on Grand River that used to house the Cilantro Bistro.

We recently stopped in to see what Diem has to offer. What we found, a study in improvisation: there's no formal kitchen. Instead, several rice cookers line a countertop, while fish, chicken and other proteins are prepared off-site and stored. At the helm, his expeditious apprentice/kitchen manager Tia Cleveland, who during the lunchtime rush, was seen assembling hand rolls at lightening speed. As for seating at the pocket-sized eatery, there are a few bistro-style chairs and tables on the sidewalk.

  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels
click to enlarge sam_4897.jpg

The Temaki-style hand rolls here are known as cones. Sheets of nori (seaweed) are packed with sticky white and/or brown rice, fresh veggies, and your choice of several protein combinations. Sticking to typical Japanese tradition does not seem to be the point here, and in raw fish-squeamish Detroit, that could be a good thing. Options draw from a number of other culinary influences. Just four of the 13 cones on the menu contain fish. And diners choose can choose from proteins like jerk chicken, pork or beef bulgogi, spicy cured salmon, or a number of vegetarian-based rolls.

  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels
  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels

We went for the BBQ eel cone and a crab and avocado salad. Both were quite satisfying, the eel was generous in size (though it was reheated in a microwave), and accompanied with carrots, avocado, green onions, cucumbers, daikon (winter radish), and sesame seeds. The rice was nice and sticky and didn't fall apart as we munched away. The salad had a nice spiciness to the crab, balanced out by the creaminess of the avocado.

On top of the hand rolls and salads, there's a robust selection of soups and coming soon, a raw juice bar. In keeping with the menu's healthy fast food concept, 13 of the spot's offerings are marked vegetarian-friendly. Also on hand, a selection of bulk rice, flour, and other dry goods.

In all, we dig this newest option in downtown lunching and applaud Diem for making the sushi roll approachable to the locals on the run.

Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Chubby Duck is at 208 E. Grand River.

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


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

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation