Macomb County

321. Megha’s Athidhi Indian Cuisine – April 21, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

April2018MeghasAthidhi1 (2)

Somehow, I’m never eating as much Indian food as I want to be. It’s a cuisine I adore but tend to forget about, so I’m always excited when someone who I’m planning to dine with proposes it. And when the Indian restaurant proposed to me is a new-to-me place? Well, you KNOW I’m THRILLED about that!

So it was last weekend, when I was introduced to Megha’s Athidhi Indian Cuisine in Sterling Heights and its aloo gobi and garlic naan.

Aloo gobi, you warming dish of cauliflower and potato tossed in a spicy, curry-infused sauce, how I adore thee! Megha’s Athidhi aloo gobi was on point: infused with rich spices, fresh mint, and sautéed onion and tomato, plus the perfect level of heat (I like my Indian food HOT, and the spice level didn’t disappoint me here). It was served with white rice and perfect for scooping up with the garlic naan, which was wonderfully fresh and chewy and flavorful.

I didn’t eat at Megha’s Athidhi; my friend and I ordered carryout and devoured it in front of the TV while binging Fuller House episodes (OBSESSED – keep the reboots of beloved ’90s sitcoms from my childhood coming, please!), which I highly recommend as an delightful way to enjoy this delightful Indian fare. While I can’t speak to the level of the dine-in service at the restaurant, I can vouch for our carryout orders being ready in a timely manner and the man at the pick-up counter being polite and pleasant.

While I zeroed in on one of my two Indian-cuisine obsessions while perusing Megha’s Athidhi’s menu (chicken vindaloo is my other love besides aloo gobi), I found it to be loaded with a ton more vegetarian and meat-centered entrees, appetizers, and soups. My mouth is watering and my stomach growling as I again scan the menu on the restaurant’s website and dream of being there for lunch.

Speaking of lunch, Megha’s Athidhi offers a mid-day buffet spread on weekdays. All-you-can-eat Indian buffets are, in my book, the best type of all-you-can-eat buffet – really the only kind that I adore at this point. I have a feeling I won’t be forgetting how much I love Indian cuisine anytime soon with that lunchtime smorgasbord on my mind!

2079 15 Mile Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

www.miathidhi.com

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320. La Mia Lebanese Cuisine – April 18, 2018 – Clinton Township, MI

April2018LaMia1 (2)April2018LaMia2 (3)Shout-out to my friend Jac for introducing me to this gem of a restaurant, La Mia Lebanese Cuisine in Clinton Township!

We went there Wednesday and ordered carryout. I thoroughly enjoyed my shawarma wrap with its grilled pita stuffed with tender chicken, crunchy pickles, and delectably garlicky sauce. The crushed lentil soup was piping-hot, savory deliciousness, as well.

While we didn’t eat in the restaurant, I appreciated the clean, pleasant dining area and friendly service we received. I was also impressed by how quickly our carryout orders came out – they were ready in about five minutes.

I’d not previously heard of La Mia, and I live relatively close to it. It’s on a part of Gratiot Avenue – just south of Hall Road/M-59 – that I don’t often traverse. I’m admittedly fascinated by such unfamiliar pockets, those sections of towns that I live relatively close to yet rarely pass through or visit. They’re one of the best types of places to explore, if you ask me, because they’re near familiar ground and yet feel novel. Ideally, they contain all kinds of intriguing new-to-us establishments just waiting for us to discover them and declare “NEW PLACE TIME!!!!!!!!!”

Whether or not you live in the general vicinity of La Mia and/or are familiar with the neighborhood it’s in, I invite you to check it out if you’re a fan of Mediterranean food and have not yet been there. It’s a goodie!

43998 N Gratiot Ave.
Clinton Township, MI 48036

318. Cheng’s Asian Bistro – April 4, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

April2018Chengs1 (2)April2018Chengs2 (2)April2018Chengs3 (2)When I saw Cheng’s Asian Bistro in Sterling Heights open up a few years ago, I felt compelled to try it. Having “bistro” in its name made it sound fancy, and I mused over what the food and interior would be like beyond the unpretentious storefront located in a strip mall.

This past Wednesday, I finally made it over to Cheng’s (it cracks me up how often this is the case – that it takes me years rather than weeks to visit a place I’m curious about. Time truly flies, doesn’t it?). My dinner there turned out to be a momentous occasion in my life.

It was a momentous occasion because based off of my experience there, I have decided that I am hereby designating Cheng’s Asian Bistro as my [DRUM ROLL]: Official Chinese Carryout Joint.

If you are like me and rely on having a go-to, tried-and-true Chinese restaurant to order carryout from, one that’s so good you never question switching it, then you likely get what a big deal this is for me to be switching mine.

While overall in my life I adore – no, am OBSESSED with – trying new places, when it comes to Chinese food, I am particular; I’ve thusly ordered takeaway from the same, tried-and-true Chinese restaurant for years. But my former standby has OFFICIALLY BEEN DETHRONED by Cheng’s Asian Bistro.

It was obvious to me when I tasted Cheng’s Kung Pao chicken that it had to be this way. This version of my go-to Chinese dish was the BEST Kung Pao chicken I have ever eaten; it was PERFECT! Its fresh, crunchy vegetables, tender chicken, and optimal heat-level (I ordered the spice level as Hot, and it was my kind of hot – for-reals Hot!) had me raving. I could not stop marveling over how great the meal was during the duration of it, and I could not stop thinking about that Kung Pao chicken for the rest of the night. Cheng’s had hooked me!

So after years of driving by the restaurant and wondering what its food was like, I finally knew it was delicious enough to beat out my as-of-then go-to Chinese carryout joint – no easy feat. Was the inside of Cheng’s Asian Bistro as fancy as its name had suggested to me?

It turns out that the interior isn’t the elegant, dimly-lit environs that I’d envisioned. But it’s clean and bright and pleasant, with yellow-gold walls, dark-stained wood paneling and floors, and colorful pom-poms and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Probably it offers better ambiance than many elegant, dimly-lit establishments, because let’s face it: those places can be stiff and gloomy at times. I’ll take cheery over stiff and gloomy any day.

Service was prompt and friendly at Cheng’s and prices were affordable, too: my Kung Pao dinner combination plate with its fried rice, cup of wonton soup, and egg roll was $10.95; the portion was big enough that I was able to make two meals out of it.

I’m thrilled to have had such a positive experience at Cheng’s Asian Bistro, and I can’t wait to have an excuse to order from my new Official Chinese Carryout Joint! Perhaps a sweatpants-and-movie-and-takeaway night is in order – or a celebratory dinner to commemorate when spring finally makes its way to the D for real (please may that be soon!).

43005 Hayes Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48313

www.chengsasianbistromi.com

317. Red Olive – March 25, 2018 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

March2018RedOlive1 (2)March2018RedOlive2 (3)I’d never heard of Red Olive restaurant until a few years ago, when I worked with a colleague who was obsessed with ordering takeout from its Auburn Hills location.

Little did I know until recently, this locally-owned chain has 16 locations – 16! – in the Metro-Detroit area. Apparently, I’d been living under a rock, and this place is beloved by many more people than my former coworker.

In fact, I recently learned that one of my very best friends is also a Red Olive regular. Her last meal before her scheduled induction to have her son last fall was its chocolate-chip pancakes. That’s right: Red Olive’s wares helped to fuel a child’s birth! That’s kind of a big deal, especially considering how wonderful this particular kiddo is.

It was becoming more and more obvious that I needed to try this Red Olive place for myself, and last Sunday, I finally did while lunching at the Saint Clair Shores outpost with my aforementioned devotee-friend.

I can’t speak for what décor has been adopted by the 15 other Red Olive locations, but this Saint Clair Shores location, not far from Lake Saint Clair, has embraced the nautical theme. Murals of sailboats afloat on a vibrant blue sea grace the walls. Dark stained wood and deeply-colored booths give the place a more refined look than that of the typical diner.

I was ravenous with hunger and psyched to discover how extensive Red Olive’s menu is. I’d admittedly assumed its offerings would be pretty basic, probably because my former coworker had ordered one meal over and over: a side-salad with ranch, lemon-rice soup, and pita bread – not the most adventurous of cuisines.

In reality, the Red Olive menu is loaded with options; the Wraps section alone was enough to excite me over its selection (there’s a Grilled Fajita Wrap, a Reuben Wrap, a Chicken Shawarma Pita Wrap . . .). An entrée-salad area boasts intriguing varieties such as Strawberry Chicken Avocado Salad, Fattoush Salad, and Chicken Avocado and Mango Salad. There’s a sandwich section; a breakfast section; a section devoted to burgers and Coney dogs. There’s an entrée section containing comfort-food classics such as meatloaf and roast chicken, a whole area devoted to gyros . . . you get the idea. There are a LOT of choices!

I zeroed in on that Chicken Shawarma Pita Wrap, as well as a baby Greek salad. My friend got a breakfast combination plate with eggs and hash browns and the like.

Our food came out quickly. The Greek salad was fresh and filling; the shawarma was wonderfully toasted on the outside and stuffed with filling, tender chicken, crunchy pickles, and delightfully garlicky sauce. YUM!

The food being delicious was the best part of the Red-Olive experience, of course, but our total bill barely topping $20 also didn’t hurt. Now I can see why this place is garnering admirers and sprouting new locations all across Metro-Detroit!

23977 Harper Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

(With 15 additional locations in the Metro-Detroit area)

www.redoliverestaurant.com

311. Golden Donuts – March 3, 2018 – Clinton Township, MI

March2018GoldenDonuts1 (2)March2018GoldenDonuts2 (2)Donuts, glorious donuts! How I adore those little glazed nuggets of goodness and having an excuse to purchase them – and to try a new bakery for this blog, of course.

Visiting a dear friend on a Saturday morning is as good an excuse as any to purchase a half-dozen donuts from a new-to-the-blog bakery. Thusly, my visit to Golden Donuts on Harper Avenue in Clinton Township commenced a few weeks ago.

Stepping into the tiny storefront located inside a strip mall, I was reminded of another local donut shop I’d visited in the last year: Donut Factory of Warren – mainly because both had an old-fashioned vibe and elderly gentlemen hanging out in them at the time of my visit. I got the impression that the two elderly gentlemen hanging out in counter seats at Golden Donuts were regulars, that they were familiar to the woman working behind the counter, that they were killing time in the companiable way that a certain type of retiree is wont to do.

The presence of these older dudes, it was oddly comforting to me. Maybe because I aspire to one day be able to pass time that way, in the practice of sitting and doing nothing much, really; maybe it’s because elderly people remind me of my beloved grandmother who passed away last summer. Regardless of the reason why, I saw Golden Donuts being the kind of place where elderly gents like to hang out as a plus-sign, as random as that sounds.

Of course, the most critical component of a donut shop is not its perceived desirability as a hangout spot by senior citizens but whether its donuts are any good. I set out to determine this out by ordering a half-dozen of Golden Donuts’ namesake wares: a white-cream-filled donut, a custard-filled, a red-velvet glazed, a honey-glazed chocolate, a chocolate-and-sprinkle-topped glazed, and a vanilla-and-chocolate-drizzled variety that looked to be jelly-filled and that was called a Napoleon.

While the donuts I tried that day – the red velvet, the honey-glazed chocolate, the white-cream-filled – were tasty, the true star of the show was the Napoleon, the one I randomly threw into the mix because I thought my friend or her husband might like it but which I didn’t expect to try. When it ended up left in the donut box and back at home with me, I decided to give it a whirl, not really expecting it to be my thing (I’m not really a jelly-donut girl) but not wanting to waste it.

This Napoleon turned out to be not just any jelly donut: it was quite possibly the best jelly donut EVER MADE. Certainly, it was the best jelly donut I can remember eating.

First of all, this Napoleon donut wasn’t a regular donut in terms of the dough used to make it: it was more of a flaky, puff-pastry kind of consistency. And it wasn’t simply filled with strawberry jelly; half of it was, but the other half was filled with CUSTARD. This was a half-jelly-filled, half-custard-filled, puff-pastry-esque, vanilla-AND-chocolate drizzled donut! It was AMAZING!

Based off of that glorious Napoleon donut alone, I would say that Golden Donuts passes the good-donut test. If the Napoleon sounds at all intriguing to you, I encourage you to give it a try! Or if you want to check out Golden Donuts’ other wares, such as its pasties and other baked goods – or to simply sit and hang at the counter with the old dudes – that is of course cool, too.

34155 Harper Ave.

Clinton Township, MI 48035

309. Ike’s Restaurant – February 17, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

February2018Ikes1 (3)February2018Ikes2 (4)I’m always looking for an excuse to celebrate – especially in February, when there’s not inherently a lot to celebrate in Michigan (Another snowfall? The umpteenth gray day of the year? Not slipping and falling on an ice patch? Actually, that last one is totally worth celebrating).

So when the sister-in-law/best friend of one of my oldest pals reached out letting me know they were planning a surprise birthday party for her, I was like, “Heck yes, I will be there!” Heck yes to having this celebration as a bright spot to look forward to after wayyyyy too much snow-wrangling the weekend prior!

(Snow, we over you here in Metro-Detroit, for reals. Please be a dear and take the hint.)

When I found out this surprise birthday dinner was going to be at Ike’s Restaurant in Sterling Heights, a Mediterranean restaurant I had never been to, I was heck-yes-ing times a million. New-place time! GARLIC-SAUCE TIME!

Mediterranean cuisine is one of my favorite types of cuisines, and garlic sauce is its pinnacle. I mean, what’s not to like: it’s creamy, it’s garlicky . . . that’s really it, but do you need anything else in a sauce? No sirree, in my humble opinion.

When the night rolled around and the whole surprise-thing was pulled off without a hitch (my friend was truly surprised – how often does that happen?), I realized that Ike’s menu contains more than Mediterranean food.

It contains a lot more: bar-and-grille-esque fare such as steaks and lamb chops and ribs and chicken and fish dishes; Italian favorites such as veal marsala and chicken parmesan; a whole section of vegetarian options – some Mediterranean, some Italian, some Greek.

The variety impressed me; the ribs and steak piqued my interest because both ribs and steak are kind of my jam. Ultimately, I knew I had to stick with the Lebanese section because visions of me inhaling Mediterranean food had basically haunted my psyche since I’d received this invitation.

I’m admittedly really boring when ordering Mediterranean food: I get crushed lentil soup and lemon-oregano chicken OR a chicken shawarma pita – accented by, of course, loads and loads of pita bread slathered in garlic sauce. I don’t believe my order has ever wavered from those choices – probably because those choices are so AMAZING that why would I bother to vary them? Still, this is a departure for me in a lot of ways, me of the loving-to-try-new-places-and-dishes-and-the-weirdest-sounding-cocktail-you-can-throw-at-me variety.

So when pondering Ike’s menu, my eyes went to laser in on the lemon-oregano chicken – and didn’t see it. It was not on Ike’s menu – wah wah.

Not to worry – I asked our server if the kitchen would be able to make the prized lemon-oregano chicken, and she said it would, though she claimed it probably wouldn’t taste as lemony as I was accustomed to. I didn’t mind; I was sure it’d still be good.

It was: my lemon-oregano chicken was glorious. Yes, it wasn’t as lemony as usual, but it was still wonderfully tender and flavorful and delicious – and generous in portion size.

That’s a definite plus about Ike’s: the amount of food it serves you. Portions are hefty – and who doesn’t like that? Additionally, both soup and salad came with my entrée (ol’-faithful crushed lentil was naturally my soup choice).

And the garlic sauce? Well, garlic sauce and pita bread isn’t a complimentary appetizer at Ike’s as it is at a lot of Mediterranean restaurants, but it’s available for order; our table ordered a platter of it to share. It goes without saying that it was GLORIOUS.

Given the high-quality food, generous portions sizes, elegant ambiance, and excellent service our table received, I can confidently vet Ike’s as an top-notch venue for celebrating any kind of occasion, from birthdays to I-didn’t-slip-on-ice-and-fall-flat-on-my-face kinds of days.

38550 Van Dyke Ave.

Sterling Heights, MI 48312

www.ikesrestaurant.com

305. Daddy’s Doughnuts – January 25, 2017 – Utica, MI

January2018DaddysDonuts1 (3)January2018DaddysDonuts2 (3)January2018DaddysDonuts5 (2)Utica is represented on 100 Places in the D! It’s crazy to me that it took me nearly four years to visit a place there given that I live in close proximity to it, but there you go: Utica is the 12th of the new-to-the-blog-cities visited in Blog Year Four (goal achieved!).

Blog Year Four ended on Wednesday, February 7, and Daddy’s Doughnuts in Utica was my last visit during that period. So look out for a Blog Year Four review soon, where I’ll nerd out on all of the stats related to this most recent of the completed 100 Places blogging years, as well as a top-ten post where I’ll gush over my faves of the bunch visited during this time period. There have been some gems!

Daddy’s Doughnuts might have to be in contention for that top-ten list. I’d been intrigued by it since the sign for the bakery – which is (dangerously) along my route to work – appeared in the weeks preceding its opening.  There are certainly things in this world less intriguing than fresh-baked, frosting-coated little rings o’ cakey goodness, am I right?

And Daddy’s Doughnuts has an angle on the way it presents its rings o’ cakey goodness: it tops them to order. You can either choose from the twelve signature Daddy’s Dozen frosting-and-toppings-bedecked offerings or create your own custom-topped donuts by mining ingredients such as maple glaze, marshmallow drizzle, crushed Oreos, graham cracker crumbs, and Fruity Pebbles. Either way, the Daddy’s crew will bedazzle those babies with icing and toppings right in front of you.

For nine dollars, I got a half-dozen of select Daddy’s Dozen donuts (one Minty Thin with its chocolate frosting, chocolate sprinkles, and mint drizzle; one Breakfast with its maple frosting and bacon pieces; one Chocolate Covered Pretzel with its chocolate frosting, pretzel pieces, and caramel drizzle; one Peanut Butter Jelly with its peanut butter frosting, crushed peanuts, and grape jelly drizzle; and two Blackouts with their chocolate frosting, Oreo pieces, and chocolate drizzle, because chocolate is LIFE).

Plus, in compensation for signing up for Daddy’s rewards club, I received another (free) donut – how awesome is that?

I dig this bakery not only because of its made-to-order approach, myriad of toppings options, and rewards club but also for its friendly employees, whimsical donut pillows piled onto the window-seat bench seating, and digital clock on display counting down the seconds, minutes, hours, and days until National Donut Day – which is June 1, FYI (how fun is that?).

I also adore that in addition to dealing up donuts, Daddy’s offers fresh-brewed coffee and tea from Michigan-based companies. Yay to that!

But most of all, I love Daddy’s Doughnuts for its donuts. The frosting-slathered, toppings-loaded beauties taste as good as they look, all fresh and soft and gooey and flavorful – and that’s the most crucial component of why this bakery is so awesome. If you’re in need of a pre-work pick-me-up, you know where to go!

8413 Hall Rd.

Utica, MI 48317

www.daddysdoughnuts.com

288. Jefferson Street Pub – October 28, 2017 – Harrison Township, MI

Oct2017JeffersonStPub3 (3)Oct2017JeffersonStPub2 (2)Halloween, how I miss you already!

I love that spooky holiday – the dressing up, the decorations, the candy, the Halloween movie marathons (no matter how many times I watch those films, I find myself filled with a mix of terror and suspense and Really? You people haven’t learned yet that this guy never dies? Come on now!).

Despite having an extreme fondness for Halloween, I’ve admittedly been lazy about actively celebrating it the last couple of years. Case in point: I went out the Saturday prior to Halloween this year without dressing up; I couldn’t motivate myself to come up with a costume. True, I purposefully wore a dress that looked straight out of the ’70s and did my eye makeup all retro in case anyone asked me what I was, so I could riff and be like, “I’m a groovy girl from the era of lava lamps and Led Zeppelin!” But let’s face it: I was completely phoning it in, and no one thought I was dressed up like anything, so that didn’t count.

I was ruing my laziness when I got to Jefferson Street Pub in Harrison Township that night and saw it crawling with Halloween shenanigans. I resolved right then and there, OK, next year I am NOT phoning it in; next year I will welcome Halloween in costume! Because just look at all of these characters – they are a delight!

I was at Jefferson Street Pub to see my dad’s band, Rock Steady, play. My dad has been in bands pretty much my whole life; he sings and used to play guitar, and I don’t see his band play nearly enough. That would change, I’d decided, with this Halloween show. I would score good-daughter points, and the band would be dressed up like pirates – Ahoy to both!

I was so glad I went because I had a blast, not only because of the rockin’ music and bonding time with my dad but also because I dug Jefferson Street Pub pretty much immediately upon walking into it. The bar is relatively small and had a cozy, homey vibe on the night I was there, with twinkle lights festooned about and spooky decorations, of course. An area near the back of the bar acted as the band’s stage area, with room for dancing ghosts and ghouls to mingle.

The bar was full when my friend and I got there, but we were fortunate to find an abandoned table. We perched on our chairs, ordered our drinks, and watched the merry madness.

Shortly thereafter, the joint reached an elevated level of bustling when a busload of costumed revelers arrived. We learned that the Jefferson Street Pub was part of a Halloween pub-crawl circuit; a flier I saw in the bathroom gave the cost to participate as $10. Not a bad deal!

You should have seen the costumes on these people; these new arrivals were decked out. The one that enthralled me the most – in a creeped-out way – was the scary clown. You can see him in the photo above. Is he not one of the creepiest clowns EVER? He gives me the willies just looking at him still! I continuously amused myself that night by looking at him and laughing/shuddering at how creepy he was, to the point that he eventually noticed me, looked right at me, and faux-menacingly (I hope) pointed his butcher’s knife at me. Yikes!

Scary Clown was the runner-up in the crowd-voted costume contest that was held for that busload of bargoers; the winner was a goofy-looking, semi-pro-esque basketball player who brought his own ball to dribble in the bar (you can also see him in the photo above). His costume was fun and deserved the win, but it wasn’t as captivating, in my opinion, as that grotesque clown!

Being at Jefferson Street Pub reiterated for me that a) while going out at night and drinking has lost much of the luster I prescribed to it in my youth, it can still be a riot (when practiced responsibly, of course); b) dressing in costume when going out during Halloween weekend is CRITICAL! because if I don’t, I’ll regret it and c) I am never seeing the movie It. Also, d) seeing my dad’s band or other bands play is FUN! I love soaking up the good vibes that live music emanates. And lastly but not leastly, e) Jefferson Street Pub is a keeper! It’s down-to-earth, lively atmosphere and affordable prices hooked me. I’ll be looking for it to be involved in that Halloween pub crawl next year so I can board the school bus with the other partygoers!

36611 Jefferson Ave.

Harrison Twp., MI 48045

284. Bommarito Bakery – October 7, 2017 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

BommaritosOct2017-2 (2)BommaritosOct2017-1 (2)I’d never visited Bommarito Bakery in Saint Clair Shores until a few weeks ago; however, I did have a memorable run-in with one of its cassata cakes a few years ago.

A friend of mine had a party at which she presented the cake; I tried some, and my mind was BLOWN. It was the best cassata cake I’d ever had – which is saying a lot, because cassata cake is one of those things I’m particular about – i.e., something I’d previously specifically entrusted Vito’s Bakery in Clinton Township to make for me, because Vito’s cassata cake was THE cassata cake. It was its cannoli filling, with those chunks of chocolate and the perfect amount of cinnamon, that sealed the deal . . . my family and I have long seen Vito’s as the winner in the cannoli-filling department. But here was Bommarito Bakery totally dethroning Vito’s in my mind. What was happening????

After Bommarito and its bomb cassata cake shook up my world and earned my respect, I knew I had to visit the bakery so I could cover it for the blog. Earlier this month, I finally did and learned that Bommarito is much more than a bakery; it’s also a pizzeria, grocery, and wine store.

The evening I was there was a busy one, as it was the night of the annual Michigan vs. Michigan State football game; people were loading up on grub for their viewing parties. I myself was there to pick up a pizza I’d ordered. While waiting in line to pay, I was able to scope out the shop in greater detail.

Not only is this place a purveyor of freshly baked breads, cookies, cream puffs, cannolis, donuts, cakes, pies, and the like, it also offers sub sandwiches and gelato – in addition to the aforementioned pizza. Then there’s the extensive wine selection and the rows of dry and refrigerated groceries. Bommarito Bakery really has all of its bases covered! Not only can you stop there and pick up some tasty baked goods for your next office potluck, while you’re at it, you can grab some subs for dinner, some wine to accompany it, that milk you ran out of, the bread for the kid’s sandwiches, that mind-blowing cassata cake. . . it’s truly a one-stop-shop kind of bakery!

21830 Greater Mack Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

www.bommaritobakery.com

280. Luigi’s – October 3, 2017 – Harrison Township, MI

LuigisOct2017-1 (2)LuigisOct2017-2 (2)I’m always thrilled to discover another legit, family-owned, real-deal Italian restaurant in the Detroit area, because I am an Italian-restaurant snob. I am a quarter Italian via the bloodline of my beloved maternal grandmother, who was second-generation Italian-American (her parents’ parents were from Italy), and I always wish I was more Italian; I romanticize that part of my heritage, because what’s not to like? For one, Italian food is LIFE. All that garlic and sauce and cheese and spices and rich flavor – the BEST! OK, I know there is more to being Italian than the food, but the food does play an integral role in the culture – and for good reason, given its sky-high deliciousness factor.

Luigi’s in Harrison Township is one of those legit, family-owned, real-deal Italian restaurants peddling cuisine steeped in sky-high deliciousness. According to its website, it’s been around since 1953, which I wasn’t surprised to find out, as the restaurant interior has a real old-school vibe. It feels like a bit of a labyrinth as you wind through the low-ceilinged, multi-roomed structure – but in the coziest of ways.

The restaurant is dimly lit; red twinkle lights festoon the dining area around the bar; the tables are intimately close together and covered in red-and-white-checked tablecloths. The ladies room is hilariously tiny; the walls of its only stall are super low, where my head was sticking clear up above them while I was standing in there. A lady who was waiting in line while I was in there and I were cracking up because it felt awkwardly intimate; we’re locking eyes as I’m finishing up going to the bathroom. Not your usual restroom-stall setup in 2017! If you’re a woman and tall in heels as I am, maybe don’t wear them on the day you visit Luigi’s – or do if you want a laugh.

Anyway, enough about Luigi’s amusing bathroom proportions – let’s talk about the food! I’m on a real eggplant parmesan kick lately, so that’s what I ordered. It was perfection: crispy-fried breaded eggplant covered with mozzarella cheese, cradled on a bed of linguine doused in tomato sauce. From my recollection, eggplant parm isn’t on Luigi’s menu, but of course they’ll make it for you, because every Italian restaurant worth its salt will make you eggplant parmesan (and it will be DELICIOUS.). A quality side-salad came with meal – it was actual greens, not some sad iceberg concoction being passed off as a salad, which I much appreciated. I had a glass of pinot noir and a slice of rich, creamy tiramisu for dessert and was thoroughly stuffed by the time my bill came. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the entire meal cost just over $28 before the tip, which I found quite reasonable, especially given the generous portions.

If you’re in the area and looking to visit Luigi’s (you so should!), it’s definitely worth noting that its website currently states that it will be shut down for construction in the near future; the expected dates of closure are October 30 to November 20, 2017 (maybe the ladies’ room is getting a remodel?). Here’s hoping the renovations will retain the restaurant’s singular charm.

36691 Jefferson Ave.

Harrison Twp., Michigan 48045

www.luigisoriginal.com