Restaurant/Bars

517. SheWolf – August 6, 2021 – Detroit, MI

Dinner at SheWolf – what a special experience! It was a dream come true to finally visit the Detroit-based Italian restaurant – and a magical one, at that.

I dined at SheWolf on a Friday night in early August. My mom, stepdad, and I had a reservation for right when it opened, 5 p.m. We’d spent the previous hour priming ourselves for the experience in the backyard of The Old Miami; we were ready to eat! And SheWolf was ready to serve us.

I was struck by SheWolf’s gorgeous dining room: its sage-green walls, caramelly leather, dark-stained wood floors, and profusion of fresh flowers.

Another striking detail was how many employees were working that night. There was a full floor of them – I’m talking a pre-COVID-level, busy-weekend-night number of staff members. This was both surprising and incredibly heartening to me. I interpreted it to mean 1) SheWolf is a place where people love to work and 2) they are doing well enough during these COVID times to employ a full staff.

With its phenomenal food and impeccable service, how could SheWolf not be doing well? At least, I hope it is. We need restaurants this wonderful to thrive!

Speaking of the impeccable service at SheWolf: here’s an example. I happened to drop my napkin twice that night. Both times I did, staff members swooped in with a fresh one. Employees consistently appeared eager to step in and deliver food, decrumb our table, check on us . . .. They did so with friendly, professional attitudes, seemingly happy to be there and serving us. As someone who served in restaurants for years, I really appreciated being in the midst of this high-vibing staff who worked seamlessly together as a team. I could see myself on a crew like that . . .. But I was a patron that night at SheWolf . . . so I’ll put my serving nostalgia aside!

The server we had that night was great and adeptly guided us through SheWolf’s menu. We all ordered her recommended cocktail, Aperol These Years, a spritz incorporating strawberry, balsamic, and basil-infused Aperol. It came garnished with a marigold and went down really easy.

We shared two appetizers, again recommended by our server: the Carpaccio and the Sformato di Zucchine.

The Carpaccio was a revelation for me! I’d previously been put off by carpaccio’s layers of paper-thin, raw beef. But SheWolf’s carpaccio was so tender and flavorful, an utter delight to eat. It was accented by capers, toasted hazelnut pieces, and an ample layer of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

The Sformato di Zucchine also blew my taste buds wide open. I didn’t know what to expect of this dish described as a “savory zucchini custard.” But wow, was it luxuriously full of flavor!

We continued our journey through SheWolf’s menu. From the carefully curated pasta, meat, and seafood dishes, I chose the Paccheri All’Arrabbiata. The dish of house-made pasta topped with a spicy lamb neck ragu, whipped ricotta, plum tomatoes, and banana peppers was SO, SO, SO, SO GOOD. The tender lamb and flavor-rich sauce! That creamy ricotta! There was a lot to exclaim over – including the house-made pasta, which was wonderfully fresh and al dente-chewy.

SheWolf’s pasta production, by the way, includes milling its own flour. Talk about dedication! There’s a glass-walled area on the way to the restrooms where the pasta is made by hand.

While the drink, appetizers, and main course I enjoyed at SheWolf were satisfying, I couldn’t stop there. Dessert was the icing on the cake of this exquisite meal.

So I savored SheWolf’s Torta di Cioccolato, a slice of flourless chocolate cake accompanied by chantilly cream, crème anglaise, and bits of honeycomb. It was a rich, chocolatey treat. But the dessert my mother ordered, the Zeppole, REALLY blew me away. These were piping-hot, freshly fried ricotta fritters, perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. Dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with a drizzle of chocolate-hazelnut spread, they were exceptional.

Like those Zeppole, the entire experience of dining at SheWolf was exceptional. This is one of those meals that I find myself visiting again and again in my memory. I feel privileged to have had this special experience at this special restaurant!

438 Selden St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.shewolfdetroit.com

76. M-Brew – October 24, 2014 – Ferndale, MI

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The beer selection at M-Brew

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When was the last time I’d played pinball before this? Age 10?

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Um, I am IN LOVE. M-Brew offers delicious local beers AND vintage arcade games. I didn’t think I’d be as excited about it when I first heard about it. But if there’s anything I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older, it’s that nostalgia is a very smart sell. The place had pinball – and Ms. Pac Man and Pac Man – and BurgerTime! Do you remember BurgerTime? It’s f’ing sweet. It’s just this little dude running around different levels trying to make layers of hamburger fall down to make a burger, while avoiding evil pickles and eggs and whatnot. But since I used to play it all the time when I was super-little (on my dad’s Intellivision, which pretty much no one remembers as the competitor to Atari), of course I love it. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a BurgerTime arcade game!

I have plans to come back here in a few weeks – and I’m warning everyone I go with then to bring rolls of quarters – because stepping into this time-warp of a game room is highly addictive.

177 Vester St.

Ferndale, MI 48220

http://mbrew.bizsitemanager.com

25. Ciccarelli’s – May 29, 2014 – Shelby Township, MI

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Here is another place that I live really close to that I had never been to.

Actually, I was here when it was still Club 22 – and I have to say, I like this sports bar reincarnation much, much better.

There are a lot of huge TVs in this joint, as there should be. Great for watching Wings games (start of preseason only two months from the date I’m writing this post!) or any other big match-ups.

46793 Hayes Rd. Shelby Twp., MI 48315
 Shelby Twp., MI 48315

(Also locations in Auburn Hills and Detroit)

http://ciccarellis-22-sports-bar.com/