Dearborn

443. Mint 29 – October 29, 2019 – Dearborn, MI

October2019Mint291 (2)October2019Mint292 (2)I visited Mint 29 on October 29 – and I’m just realizing that numerical synchronicity!

Not that you need to wait for a numerical synchronicity to visit this Dearborn-based establishment – and you shouldn’t, because it promises to be fantastic regardless of day of month.

A friend and I stumbled across the restaurant located in West Downtown Dearborn during a September visit to Unburger. That purveyor of vegan deliciouness is adjacent to Mint 29, and as we sat and enjoyed our meals in the outdoor courtyard area they share, we were intrigued by the pretty fall decorations festooning Mint 29’s portion of patio and the well-dressed servers making their rounds. Seeking a place to dine in late October, the restaurant was an obvious choice to both of us.

Entering Mint 29 on that Tuesday evening, the trek out to Dearborn in the dark immediately felt worth it.

The restaurant’s interior had warm vibes. Industrial decor details (brick walls, concrete floors, exposed ductwork) and polished elegance (crystal glassware; a gilt-edged mirror above the well-lit, well-organized bar) melded to make a space that felt both welcoming and refined. Convivial patrons present that evening were obviously enjoying their food, drink, and conversation, and I was happy to be a part of them.

Mint 29’s dinner menu showcases a selection of steak and seafood dishes, plus striking salads such as the Season Salad with its grapefruit, dried cranberries, cashews, toasted pistachios, blue cheese, and Sweet Japanese Dressing. It’s a upscale menu with upscale prices and sides that come à la carte.

I was tempted to order one of those striking salads: the Chicken Citron with its marinated, seared chicken breast on a bed of rapini, carrots, and wild rice and its cilantro-lime dressing was calling to me, as it was to my friend who was dining with me at Mint 29.

That Chicken Citron salad seemed like the sensible choice for our pocketbooks. But we were both being lured by less sensible choices: her the Mediterranean Sea Bass, and me the 16-Ounce Bone-In Ribeye.

In the end, we said “F it!” and took the leap toward culinary opulence. I added a side of Smashed Potato to my order, while she opted for the side of Sautéed Wild Mushrooms. While we waited for our food to come out, I sat and sipped a glass of pinot noir.

When that 16-Ounce Bone-In Ribeye arrived, I knew it’d been worth the wager. Served on a wooden cutting board with roasted garlic cloves and house-made zip sauce, it was a positively regal slab of meat, with neat criss-crossing grill marks and a perfectly red center (I’d ordered the steak rare: my first time doing that! I never thought I’d order a steak rare, but medium-rare wasn’t cutting it lately; it was consistently coming out overcooked to me, so I finally realized, “Hmm, maybe I’m ordering wrong.”).

That bone-in ribeye tasted as exquisite as it looked: tender and juicy and flavorful and SO good accompanied by the roasted garlic and zip sauce and the rich smashed potatoes, which had arrived in a heaping mound that easily constituted two side portions.

My friend enjoyed her sea bass and sautéed mushrooms, as well, and we agreed that Mint 29 is a keeper. It up-leveled what would have otherwise been a routine Tuesday night into an effervescent adventure.

22000 Michigan Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48124

(Closed Sundays)

www.mint29.com

435. Unburger Grill – September 24, 2019 – Dearborn, MI

September2019Unburger1 (2)September2019Unburger3 (2)September2019Unburger2 (2)Unburger Grill, you phenomenal purveyor of vegan goodness, you had my palate exclaiming “WOW!” over and over during my recent visit to you!

I’m not vegan – or vegetarian – but I enjoy eating plant-based cuisine. Impressive vegan and vegetarian establishments reside in the Metro-D, making the meatless fare taste as good as – or better than – the animal-based originals.

Unburger Grill in Dearborn is one of those impressive vegan establishments. The fast-casual restaurant serves burgers with house-made patties made from plants; Black Bean Portobello, Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini, Sweet Potato and Quinoa, and Ultimate (described on Unburger’s website menu as “using a blend of the best vegan meat alternatives available”) are the varieties offered.

Diners choose what patty and bun they’d like for the style of burger they select at Unburger: Basic, Mushroom Swiss, Southwestern, Mac Style, or Sweet BBQ. The restaurant also serves vegan sandwiches, sausages, salads, soups, nachos, air-fried French fries, and other veggie-based sides.

A fact I didn’t know before the writing of this post: Dearborn has two downtown areas, West Downtown Dearborn and East Downtown Dearborn. Unburger is located in West Downtown Dearborn.

I’d never seen any downtown area of Dearborn and was excited to discover for myself the area where Unburger is located. It’s super cute! My friend who accompanied me to Unburger and I got enthused about exploring it more in the future.

Behind Unburger and some adjacent businesses is a courtyard with tables where patrons can sit and enjoy their meals. After walking into Unburger and ordering our burgers at the counter, we sat at one of the tables outside and waited for our burgers to be brought to us. They arrived quickly.

I ordered the Mac Style burger with a Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty and whole-grain bun, plus a side of the air-fried French fries. It was A-MAZING. The Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty was SO full of flavor; it was wonderful. It was definitely the best vegan patty I’ve ever had, hands-down!

Honestly, I found myself liking that Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty better than a traditional beef patty – and that’s high praise from me, as I LOVE red meat. Unburger, look at you, making me a plant-based burger convert!

It wasn’t only the Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty on my Mac Style burger that was deliciously flavorful – the entire burger was, too. The Mac Style burger was – you guessed it – a vegan riff on McDonald’s Big Mac. It was delicious with its lettuce, onion, pickles, vegan cheese, and Thousand Island dressing – and hefty, to boot. Between eating that Big Mac and the crispy French fries, I was stuffed upon leaving Unburger!

Another thing I liked about Unburger was that the staff was really nice. How employees treat me at a place definitely makes a difference in how I recall it; excellent meals can be marred by snotty staff, and I appreciate how lovely the staff at Unburger was the night of my visit. Thanks, Unburger, for being so welcoming – and for cooking up fare that is both healthful and INCREDIBLY TASTY!

22018 Michigan Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48124

www.unburgergrill.com

355. Shatila Bakery – August 23, 2018 – Dearborn, MI

August2018Shatila4 (2)August2018Shatila1 (2)August2018Shatila2 (2)August2018Shatila3 (2)SHATILA BAKERY IS ON 100 PLACES IN THE D!!! [Cue official-sounding bugles and confetti!!!]

You guys, I’m super excited about this post, because visiting Shatila Bakery in Dearborn was EPIC. This bakery is amazing!

Prior to my visit, I’d assumed Shatila Bakery was awesome because I’d sampled its baklava on several occasions when a coworker at a former job brought it into the office. Baklava is one of my favorite desserts (all that rich honey, crunchy pistachios, and flaky phyllo dough . . . YES, PLEASE), and Shatila does baklava RIGHT. Needless to say, when a friend mentioned she wanted to visit the bakery’s Dearborn location, I didn’t need convincing to tag along.

Knowing how tasty Shatila’s baklava was and seeing how extensive its hours of business are (the Dearborn location is open from 7:30 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. – sometimes 12 a.m.! – daily), I knew the place had to be a big deal. But I was surprised by what I encountered when I walked into the bakery.

Cue to: a vaulted ceiling. A food-court-esque seating area surrounded by twinkle-light-strewn palm trees, supplemented by outdoor patio seating. An ice cream counter with house-made ice cream. And the pièce de résistance: a wraparound bakery counter filled with shelf after shelf of enticing cakes, cookies, and traditional Mediterranean desserts, including various varieties of baklava.

I was beside myself with delight. This was not simply a bakery: Shatila was an experience!

An experience that called for preparation. This was not the type of place where you dawdled around deliberating, my friend and I decided. We’d each picked a paper ticket designating the order we would be waited on upon our arrival but dismissed them once we realized we needed time to study the display cases and the myriad of options they encased. We did just that for a good 10 minutes before we felt confident enough to pick out numbers again – at which point, a sizable crowd had gathered inside the bakery.

Despite the crowd, it didn’t take long for our second round of numbers to be called. Shatila was amply staffed, and its staff members moved with the precision and professionalism of a well-trained army. When it was my turn, I was ready: I ordered six pieces of baklava and a chocolate bool (or boll – I’m admittedly not clear on the spelling), a round confection coated in chocolate that I was told was filled with pistachios.

When I got home, I saw an extra piece of baklava slipped in amongst the six I’d ordered – whether accidentally or intentionally, I’m not sure (I had mentioned to the staff member who served me that I was a first-time visitor and loved baklava, so thanks to him if it was intentional!).

That extra piece of baklava sweetening the deal aside, all of the goodies I got from Shatila that day were delicious. I especially enjoyed two pieces of baklava shaped like little phyllo cups nestling whole pistachios and drenched in honey. The chocolate bool was lovely, too; it appeared to be filled with nougat in addition to the nuts and was rich, chocolatey goodness.

After tasting those delectable desserts, I deemed it official: Shatila Bakery is revisit-worthy! I’m not sure if I’ll ever get past ordering loads of baklava when I return, but if I do, I have to try a slice of the knafeh (described on Shatila’s website as “a shredded dough pastry stuffed with sweet cream or cheese and topped with sugar syrup” – Mmmm) – and a slice of the chocolate mousse cake – oh, and the Jordan almonds . . ..

14300 W. Warren Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48126

(With an additional location in West Bloomfield)

www.shatila.com

130. Ollie’s Lebanese Cuisine – July 6, 2015 – Dearborn, MI

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Ok, so I have mentioned in at least one post (#72 – Café Med) that I’ve worked in Dearborn for the past year but am a complete wimp about driving around there because I find its road system cray-cray. Really, it’s nothing against Dearborn; it’s just all about familiarity for me – I can whip around four-lane, mad-traffic-laden Hall Road like a boss, but Dearborn and Detroit’s looping roads and largely grid-pattern adverse set-ups get me all white-knuckled and frantic. So I’ve largely avoided driving around the neighborhood surrounding my workplace, and honestly, I’m one to bring my lunch to work every day anyway (more money to go out to dinner!). But a few weeks ago, I forgot my lunch at home, and that prompted me to venture at least a few miles out, for Pete’s sake, Jackie! and try out Ollie’s, a Dearborn institution lauded by both Yelp and my coworkers. And you can bet I felt like Rocky after going the distance when I made it there and back. You gotta celebrate your baby steps, no matter how small or silly-sounding to others, right?

Check out that gorgeous patio in the above photo!

16351 Ford Rd., Ste. 100

Dearborn, MI 48126

www.olliescuisine.com

72. Café Med – October 10, 2014 – Dearborn, MI

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Ok, so I’ve worked in Dearborn for about two months now, but this was the first time I tried a new place there. Why? Because driving around there is, for me, a maddening experience. Besides being totally unfamiliar with the area and not being a fan of driving in new areas I know nothing about, there is currently construction everywhere. A few weeks before this, I actually tried to pick up carryout from a place a few miles from my work that looked like it would be very straightforward and easy to get to, and it was a complete debacle. When I looked up driving directions online, it didn’t take into account the fact that pretty much the whole route was embattled by hardcore construction and that the amount of time needed to get there was doubled. I only have a half-hour lunch, so I immediately knew upon putting the address into my phone GPS (which does note current traffic times) that I was screwed. Then, once I got to the area where the place was supposed to be I couldn’t even find it, and after calling them and attempting to get more detailed directions, I was feeling so flustered and already due to be late back to work that I just turned around and went back with no lunch (which then consisted of peanuts from a vending machine and some castoffs from the lunch of a kind coworker). I felt like an asshole for abandoning my carryout and a failure for not being able to find this place (which, one of my coworkers conceded, is a pretty tricky place to find). I vowed to never drive around Dearborn again.

But then I forgot my lunch again (which was what had prompted me to head out for carryout that first day), and I was resolved to make it at least to the corner, for Pete’s sake. So I put in my order of a chicken shawarma sandwich and crushed lentil soup with Café Med, a restaurant very close to my place of employment – and I’m happy to report that this time I made it! Never mind the fact that this place is super-close to my work – the route was still weird enough, because Dearborn streets are cray-cray. But the food was delicious, so it was worth it. And I was proud of my little baby step.

3337 Greenfield Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48120