214. Honcho – December 17, 2016 – Clarkston, MI

20161217_18410320161217_20344020161217_194606-3Hello, all! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season! I am breathing a sigh of relief now that Christmas is over and enjoying the last dregs of 2016 before the new year is here. I hope you are finding free time in your schedule to relax, set New Year’s intentions, and get out there and do some exploring.

I am a sucker for new years and new beginnings. It’s become a joke among me and two of my best friends how, in approaching the start of every new year, I always exclaim, “It’s going to be the BEST year EVER!” It’s the same with every summer; it’s not the start of the warm-weather season if I haven’t proclaimed that it will surely be the BEST summer EVER. What can I say, I’m an eternal optimist!

Every year is great in its own way – but it also inevitably presents its own set of challenges. Knowing this, there is still something about a fresh start that lights me up – and makes me excited to face January despite it being plunked right in the middle of a seemingly never-ending Metro-Detroit winter.

In this coldest and gloomiest time of year, I find it most critical to my well-being to make time for trying new places. So when weather allows, I am out and about! The Saturday night before last, I donned an ugly holiday sweater and made the trek out to Clarkston for dinner and drinks with a good friend.

The first stop: Honcho. It’s the latest establishment to join those under the Union Joints umbrella, the family of locally-owned restaurants that includes the Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, and Vinsetta Garage.

The sign above the door of the restaurant bills it as “Latin Street Food and Coffee,” and there is indeed an area of the interior partitioned off for the purpose of serving coffee and donuts. You can also order the house-made donuts for dessert if you are eating in the dining area and man! are they good. They are freshly fried, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. You can order a batch of donuts – I believe they come in an order of 10 – with sides of chocolate and caramel dipping sauces to share. They are definitely worth the extra calories!

Then there’s the Latin Street food part of Honcho. Honcho’s interpretation of Latin food is unlike any I’d previously experienced. The menu featured during my visit had heavy Asian and Indian influences.

Take the Hot Chicken Burrito that I ordered, pictured above. The refried black beans had a distinctly Asian flavor to them; if I’m remembering correctly, I believe they were flavored with miso. Fish sauce was another component of the dish, and the burrito also contained: pickles. Yes, pickles!

The meal was very good, and I love trying unique, inventive fare, but I’ll admit, I found myself wishing there were some more traditional Latin dishes included on the menu, too. Because when I think of Latin food, I think of Mexican food, and I LOVE excellent Mexican food. If you are seeking authentic Mexican food, you are better off going down a ways to Pontiac and one of my latest obsessions, El Patrón.

But just because Honcho’s take on burritos and street tacos isn’t the one many of us know and love doesn’t mean its fare should be discounted. It’s pretty darn good food. I was reminded of that when I ate the leftover half of my enormous chicken burrito the next day. I was like, “Damn, I already forgot how good this was!” If you can suspend your expectations about what Latin food should be and simply appreciate the dishes with no preconceptions clouding your experience, you will likely enjoy dining at Honcho.

Other stuff I loved about the place: it’s done up in a hipster-Western theme, with black-and-white wallpaper studded with cactuses and agave plants in the area near the bar, which made me happy simply because it presented a polar opposite of the heavily snow-strewn landscape outside the window. Also, the Bad Hombre drink is wholly worth the $12 investment if you are into a cocktail that is a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet, and not short on tequila.

3 E. Church St.

Clarkston, MI 48346



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