Restaurants/Bars

399. Trizest Restaurant – March 15, 2019 – Sterling Heights, MI

March2019Trizest1 (2)March2019Trizest2 (2)Every time I think of Trizest Restaurant, I crave its Gong Bao chicken, which is some of the best I’ve had.

Tender chicken, flavorful veggies, and a delightfully spicy, tasty sauce characterize the Sterling Heights-based Chinese restaurant’s iteration of this classic dish, which is also known as Kung Pao chicken.

I didn’t need to peruse Trizest’s menu during my visit, because Gong Bao chicken is my Chinese go-to; I adore it. But I did notice that its menu is loaded with a plethora of appetizers and entrees, including a vegetarian section featuring plant-based “chicken.”

I dined at Trizest back in March. It was packed when I arrived around 7:30 that Friday night. I soon learned why: its food is fantastic! My visit was five months ago, and I still long for that Gong Bao chicken on the regular. Memorableness is a mark of a good visit, for sure!

Another aspect of dining at Trizest that struck me as memorable was its lighting. It was BRIGHT – like, grocery-store-in-the-middle-of-the-night bright. You are not likely to fall asleep whilst dining at Trizest. And hey – that’s a good thing, because you wouldn’t want to miss a moment of noshing on its delectable cuisine!

33170 Dequindre Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

(Closed Mondays)

www.trizest.com

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396. The Whiskey Six – March 2, 2019 – Grosse Pointe, MI

March2019WhiskeySix1 (2)A friend and I stumbled across The Whiskey Six on a Saturday night in early March.

When I say we stumbled across The Whiskey Six, I mean that literally: we were walking around and around this little corner of downtown Grosse Pointe, looking for another restaurant that our GPS said was there but that we just. couldn’t. find. But there was The Whiskey Six, its windows glowing warmly at us, and we were like, why not?

We walked inside The Whiskey Six and were greeted to a bustling scene, an establishment that felt both refined and welcoming.

Featured in the front of the restaurant is this impressive wraparound bar with these multi-tiered wooden shelves holding both backlit bottles of spirits and flat-screen TVs. The overall vibe is industrial-chic-meets-rustic, with wrought-iron chandeliers, exposed brick and ductwork, and a shiny antique car displayed on a ceiling-level platform.

As you’d expect, The Whiskey Six serves a “vast selection of fine whiskeys,” as it puts it on the About page of its website. It also offers craft beers (including many local choices), wine, and cocktails.

The restaurant’s food menu features a variety of appetizers (from Fish Tacos to Crispy Rice Balls to Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”); soups and salads; sliders (including lamb and meatball options); pizzas; burgers and sandwiches; and entrées. That latter section features pastas and protein-centric dishes such as Macaroni and Cheese and Char Grilled Salmon.

I emphatically opted-in for the W6 Tenderloin, an eight-ounce filet of beef wrapped in bacon and served with mashed cauliflower and vegetables. I also ordered the Maiden Manhattan as my alcoholic beverage du jour. It was tasty and strong and complemented the tender, savory W6 Tenderloin.

Our server at The Whiskey Six was great, attentive and friendly. Further enhancing the ambiance of the place was a band that struck up lively tunes during our dinner.

So much of modern life is planned – at least, my modern life is. My unplanned visit to The Whiskey Six was a reminder of the power of spontaneity. I’m grateful that my friend and I happened upon it on accident and that the restaurant facilitated our dining experience as divinely as it did.

646 St. Clair Ave.

Grosse Pointe, MI 48230

www.thewhiskeysix.com

395. Harry’s Detroit – March 1, 2019 – Detroit, MI

March2019Harry's1 (2)March2019Harry's2 (2)100 Places in the D is marching into March – finally! (Never mind that we’re still five months behind here – progress is progress. :P)

A visit to Harry’s Detroit kicked off the month. The bar was packed during my dinnertime visit, most likely due to the Michael Bublé concert soon taking place at nearby Little Caesars Arena. My mom and I were attending that concert and decided to stop off at Harry’s first.

The bar has a classy yet homey vibe, with lots of glossy dark wood and a blackboard spelling out drink specials in colorful chalk. It also has a covered rooftop patio that looks like a very good time – but alas, I was not able to enjoy it during the frigidity of my late-winter visit.

Harry’s menu showcases an enticing array of bar-food fare: appetizers that scream of high calorie counts and deliciousness (see the Jalapeño Poppers Eggrolls with their deep-fried casings stuffed with bacon, jalapeños, and cheddar, Gouda, and cream cheeses and served with ranch – !), hefty burgers, and stick-to-your-ribs sandwiches. It also offers comfort-food-focused entrées such as baked macaroni and cheese and meatloaf, plus soups and salads.

I was craving a Greek salad (I get on kicks with those suckers sometimes; they’re SO good! Says the woman who didn’t like salads until her late twenties). So I went for Harry’s Detroit Greek Salad, to which I added grilled chicken.

The salad was hearty and flavorful with its mixed greens tossed with roasted beets, spicy pepperoncini, and creamy feta, plus onions, olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes bringing the veggie goodness. Accompanying it were triangles of soft, chewy pita bread. It was the perfect sustenance to energize me for a night of cheering on my favorite Canadian crooner. 🙂

2482 Clifford St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.harrysdetroit.com

394. Buon Appetito – February 23, 2019 – Romeo, MI

February2019BuonAppetito1 (2)February2019BuonAppetito3 (2)After dining at Cantoro Trattoria the Saturday prior, Italian was again on the docket for me the following weekend, this time at Romeo’s Buon Appetito.

I certainly did not object to the repeat in cuisine; I LOVE Italian food. And I loved Buon Appetito’s Eggplant Parmigiana, which I enjoyed as my lunch that day. It was rich, cheesy, deep-fried goodness.

(BTW, how is it that eggplant transforms into something so melt-in-your-mouth amazing when it’s simply dipped in bread crumbs and deep-fried? I’m not a huge fan of that veggie otherwise, but when it’s fried – MAN!)

The restaurant offers a wide array of traditional Italian favorites, including veal-, steak-, and seafood-centered choices and various pastas (with the ability to build your own customized pasta dish). It also serves beer and wine.

No flowery elaboration required here: Buon Appetito’s cuisine is simply delicious, and it’s definitely worth a visit!

117 W. Lafayette St.

Romeo, MI 48065

www.buonappetitoitaliancuisine.com

393. Cantoro Trattoria – February 16, 2019 – Troy, MI

February2019Cantoro1 (2)February2019Cantoro2 (2)February2019Cantoro3 (2)I love Italian food; it’s so rich and comforting and luxurious on the palate! At least, it’s all of those things when it’s done well. And, as I discovered on a chilly evening in mid-February, Cantoro Trattoria in Troy does Italian well.

My mom and stepdad had been raving about the restaurant for months, so I was excited to finally visit it with them for dinner. I was impressed by its sleek modern interior; the prompt, friendly, and polite service that we received; and the delicious cuisine.

The Napoli Caprese salad we shared, for instance, was excellent with its luscious mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. So was my entrée, the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese with its weighty house-made noodles and hearty tomato sauce laden with pancetta and ground beef, veal, and sausage.

Cantoro’s menu is loaded with delectable-sounding offerings such as these. It offers a variety of appetizers, pizzas, pastas, and grill items such as Costoletta di Vitello (veal rib chop) and Branzino alla Griglia (Mediterranean sea bass).

Sitting there in the glitzy dining room of Cantoro Trattoria, sipping red wine and enjoying great food and company, I felt as cozy as can be despite the freezing outdoor temperature. My heart was warm, and my stomach was full – who can ask for anything else?

1695 E. Big Beaver Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

(With an additional location in Plymouth)

www.cantorotrattoria.com/troy

392. Chili Mustard Onions – February 9, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019ChiliMustardOnions6 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions2 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions4 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions5 (2)Chili Mustard Onions is in the house!!!!!

I’m not a vegan, but I don’t mind playing one sometimes – especially if it means eating at an establishment as phenomenal as this one. Chili Mustard Onions is serving up the FLAVOR!

The vegan restaurant is modeled after a Coney Island, except that its gyros, Coney dogs, nachos, and chili-cheese fries are chockful of plant-based ingredients rather than animal products. And I was totally digging it during my February visit.

Besides proffering plant-based versions of the above-mentioned dishes and others such as pitas, sandwiches, and a Big Mock burger, Chili Mustard Onions features a drink menu full of vegan beers, wines, and spirits. Non-alcoholic drinks such as iced tea, pop, and kombucha are also available. Vegan soft serve and other desserts are offered, too.

I’m a big fan of chili fries, so I knew I had to try CMO’s Chili Cheeze Fries. I also opted for the Beetball Sub, followed by a slice of chocolate cake that was modeled after a Snickers bar, with peanuts and layers of chocolate- and caramel-flavored frostings.

Those Chili Cheeze Fries, you guys – they were fantastic. In the almost six months since I have lunched at Chili Mustard Onions, I have not stopped thinking about those fries! They were so, so, so, SO good. They were frankly better than the real, meat-laden thing. The chili was more like a gravy; it didn’t have any chunks of plant-based meat in it, which I preferred, as I’m not a big fan of traditional meat substitutes such as tofu and tempeh. And the cheese sauce! Wow, did it taste like the real thing! It was creamy and savory and delicious.

The Beetball Sub was amazing, too. The meatballs were made from beets and a combination of other plant-based ingredients; I believe there was tofu in them, for instance. Again, I didn’t feel like I was eating fake meat but extreme deliciousness. I enjoyed the Beetball’s cashew-based mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and its rich, tomato-y sauce.

And then came the Snickers cake, which was chocolatey, decadent goodness. A satisfied appetite and very full stomach came along with it.

This first visit of Blog Year Six for 100 Places in the D was most definitely a memorable one. I’m confident that Chili Mustard Onion is going to end up in my list of top-ten visits for the year. I’m also excitedly anticipating a revisit – possibly this week, as a friend has mentioned she’d like to try the restaurant, and I am totally down for the ride. Chili Cheeze Fries, here I come!

3411 Brush St.

Detroit, MI 48201

 

391. The Rusty Nail – February 3, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

February2019RustyNail2 (2)February2019RustyNail3 (2)The Rusty Nail! The bar has long been an institution in Clinton Township, and I was excited to visit it for the first time this February.

I was there for The Nail’s celebration of the Big Game, that NFL championship extravaganza everyone gets all gaga about. My dad had clued me in to the fact that the bar had a complimentary food spread set out for the event. Being of the in-it-for-the-snacks Big Game enthusiast camp, I decided to check it out and watch the first part of the game with him there.

The spread was impressive – and delicious! The chicken was excellent, as were the homemade baked beans and everything else I ate. I was told that many of The Rusty Nail’s regulars had contributed to the potluck, and I loved that the bar harbors a community willing to prepare dishes for the general public to enjoy.

A variety of free swag was also available that day: t-shirts, hats, and other goodies branded with the logos of various alcoholic beverage distributors. I snagged some headphones emblazoned with the name of a popular whiskey maker.

Despite being nearly full for the football-viewing celebration, the bar had a comfortable, laid-back vibe that resonated with me. Service was good, drink prices were reasonable, and I could definitely see myself returning – maybe to see one of the many bands it hosts or to witness the bar-organized dart tournaments.

35703 Groesbeck Hwy.

Clinton Twp., MI 48035

www.thenewrustynail.com

386. Folk – February 3, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019Folk1 (3)February2019Folk2 (2)February2019Folk3 (2)As outlined in my “100 Places in the D’s Year Four Review!” post that debuted alllll the way back in February 2018, my goal for Blog Year Five (which ran from February 8, 2018 through February 7, 2019) was to visit 50 locally-owned, new-to-me places in the city of Detroit alone.

This was a daunting goal for me. I live in general proximity to Detroit but not right next door to it, and as much as I adore the city (and I very much do!), navigating its oft-labyrinth streets and various parking scenarios can be a nerve-jangling experience for me – one that often entails self-directed pep talks and psyching up. But I quietly chugged away toward the milestone, and as of January 2019, I only had five more places to visit to achieve that goal. Huzzah!

Flash-forward to February 3, 2019, when I had achieved exactly [INSERT DRUM ROLL] . . . zero of those five remaining visits. A two-week trip to Thailand, with all its pre- and post-trip preparations, had derailed me from my eye-on-the-prize mentality around my 50-visit goal. And now it was crunch time.

So in a crap-why-did-I-procrastinate-this last-minute sprint, I established a game plan to achieve my remaining five visits and headed down to the D on this fortuitously warm February Sunday to make my goal happen.

Folk was my opening visit of the day. I’d been wanting to visit the Corktown restaurant for months and was fortunate to score a seat at a communal table within its tiny interior. Seating was at a premium that afternoon, but because I was down to enjoy my lunch between two couples who were strangers to me, I got seated immediately in the bright, beautiful café with its modern white-tiled walls, blonde wood floors, and cascading plant collection.

Sitting at the communal table was an interesting endeavor, as I attempted to balance my purse, scarf, and heavy winter coat within my personal bubble of space while also attempting to read a novel and politely tune out my tablemates’ conversations. This was some advanced-level solo dining here!

But I must say, I handled it gracefully – even when my scarf slipped on the ground near the feet of the guy next to me and I unsuccessfully attempted to catch his attention before giving up and invading his personal bubble to grab it myself, all whilst under the sympathetic gaze of the couple across from me.

The periodic awkwardness of the shared table experience at Folk was well worth it, because my meal was INCREDIBLE. The Aussie Pie I ordered arrived quickly and was SO wonderful with its meaty chunks of tender steak and bacon, creamy white cheddar and mashed potato, and perfectly crispy, flaky, buttery crust. MMMM MMMM!

I also enjoyed sipping Folk’s Rose Milk, which is a warming, delicious blend of cinnamon, cardamom, chili, ginger, vanilla, beetroot, rose simple syrup, and steamed milk. Folk’s drink menu included several infused milks at the time of my visit, as well as a selection of teas, juices, and espresso-infused beverages.

Besides proffering the most delectable Aussie Pie, Folk’s food menu contained a variety of breakfast dishes (including a yogurt bowl, seasonal quiche, and an avocado toast blinged up with additions of pea shoots, toasted benne seeds, and beet hummus) and a few lunch items such as the Warm Rice Bowl with vegetables, kimchi, and edamame. Several vegan and/or gluten-free options were available.

Another aspect of my visit to Folk worth shouting-out is the service I received. The staff was prompt and friendly; they were fantastic.

The overall lunching experience was fantastic! This one is definitely worth a visit.

1701 Trumbull Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

(Closed Tuesdays)

www.folkdetroit.com

385. The Engine House – January 25, 2019 – Mount Clemens, MI

January2019EngineHouse1 (2)January2019EngineHouse2 (2)My first blog-worthy visit of 2019 didn’t come until the end of January, because I was off exploring a completely new-to-me part of the world (Thailand!) for nearly half the month. Surviving my first post-vacay work week amidst frigid temps and jet-lagged-induced brain fog was cause enough for a TGIF celebration at The Engine House in Mt. Clemens.

The bar and grill has a cozy, welcoming feel and a menu that proffers various salads, sandwiches, appetizers, pastas, pizzas, meat-centric entrée dishes, and a build-your-own-burger option. Daily lunch and drink specials are also available.

Because I never feel more American than when I return from international travel and inexplicably crave a bacon cheeseburger, I chose the build-your-own-burger option and loaded mine up with that sweet, sweet pork-and-dairy-laden goodness. It was delicious, rich and meaty and flavorful and characteristically American in its large-and-in-charge-ness. I enjoyed some crispy French fries, as well.

I learned from the friend who I dined with at The Engine House that night that any time a train goes by, everyone of drinking age in the bar receives a free shot. Sadly, no locomotives lumbered past The Engine House during our dinner, but I love the whimsicality of that gesture and hope to experience it during a return visit.

309 Cass Ave.

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

www.theenginehouse.net

381. Antihero – December 12, 2018 – Ferndale, MI

December2018AntiHero1 (4)Bringing the color and flavor explosions: that’s Antihero for ya! I visited the recently-opened Japanese restaurant on Nine Mile Road in downtown Ferndale back in mid-December.

Antihero’s restrooms: they’re what’s bringing the color explosion. These are quite possibly the most awesome restrooms I have ever seen, boasting vibrantly-hued, cartoon-esque, panoramic murals that make you happy you had to go pee.

Both times I was in the ladies’ room during my visit, I encountered a fellow patron as she walked in, exclaimed over the murals, and pulled out her phone to take a picture. I should have taken a picture of the ladies’ room myself to include here – but really, the art is worth experiencing yourself!

The dining room of Antihero features more subdued – yet just as beautiful – mural artwork. The space is dimly lit, chic elegance, with starburst chandelier lighting and blond wooden booths and communal tables.

A collection of craft cocktails (with fun names such as Late Night Party Store and Dandy) helms Antihero’s drink menu, which is rounded out by selections of draft and bottled beers.

The food menu consists of small plates, noodle dishes, and a hibachi section with meat, seafood, and veggie selections that you can cook yourself on a hibachi grill brought to the table.

I was intrigued by the hibachi offerings (partially because items from that selection came with the whimsically-monikered Fuck Yea sauce), but I ultimately opted for two small plates for my main course: the Smashed Fingerling Potato and the Smoked Brisket Bun.

The Smashed Fingerling Potato dish was BOMB! HERE is the flavor explosion I was talking about. These potatoes with their creamy kewpie mayo, yakisoba sauce, chopped nori, and scallions were so richly delicious. I’m super impressed whenever I find vegetarian dishes that are as rich and sumptuous – or more so – as meat-based dishes; the Smashed Fingerling Potato fits into this category.

The Smoked Brisket Bun was also tasty with its incredibly tender beef complemented by a zesty chili-hoisin sauce and a pillowy-soft bun.

And then, there was dessert! I couldn’t pass up the Mochi Donut with its orange-oil-and-apple-cider glaze. The donuts were freshly-fried heaven, with an intriguingly chewy texture lent from the mochi rice paste they were made from.

In short, this visit to Antihero was most definitely a win! It’s no wonder the place is great: it’s owned by the same local restaurateurs behind the fantastic Ferndale staples Imperial and Public House.

231 W. Nine Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.antiheroferndale.com