Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Asian Village Rebounds and More Restaurant Rumors

Originally published in D-Tales here.

Didn't I just ask how long that Agave sign would continue to decorate the side of that building at Woodward and Canfield, still lit and with the lunch banner still hanging? Hasn't it been, like, 3 years now? Who's paying the electric bill on that sign, anyway?

Um, okay, maybe I didn't ask that, but I meant to. I sure did think about it.

Turns out, Raymond Wong just leased the space to start an Asian restaurant with prices reasonable for WSU students and the broke-ass hipsters who hang out in the area (that last part I added). Wong owned Asian Village until it was unceremoniously shut the fuck down last week by the good neighborly folks at GM. He has been in the restaurant biz for decades, having started with Wong's in Windsor some 35 years ago. There is no name for this new location, but Wong is considering another eponymous venture. It will be a hodgepodge of Asian cuisine, with Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean, and Japanese fare available.

Secretly I hope they go a little upscale, at least. Recreate Fusia in Midtown. Keep Shawn Mac. Who has worked with John Lopez. Who is the reason Agave shut down. Ah, six degrees of Detroit.

(Wait, was that a John Lopez eff-up or was that a leaseholder/owner pissing contest? It's so hard to keep all the stories of failed businesses straight.)

Agave was such a great place, and when they brought DJs into their backyard patio it was the hotspot of Midtown, almost as popular as Oslo back in its day. I would love to just see Agave reopen, but since that won't happen, I hope Wong caters more to the trendy-and-gainfully-employed twenty-something a la Agave than the broke-ass college student/hipster looking for cheap eats, as Model D has kind of made it out to be (despite using the term "upscale").

Make it trendy! Throw parties! Pay your taxes!...wait, that was Twingo's and Atlas, nevermind...Make nice with your landlord!

Next up: Wasabi on Woodward. The plastic banner is up, but it is not yet open. It's in the ground level of the Park Shelton, and seems like it will have more of a casual eatery than fine dining vibe. They'll offer residents of the Park Shelton what will essentially be room service. It's Japanese-Korean fusion--which means you can get your sushi and your crispy beef in one stop. For PS residents, it will be just like living in New York, minus the effective public transportation.

SIDEBAR: As much as I love all these new restaurants and it speaks of all the great things happening in the city and how business owners have faith and all that I preach about, can we please get something besides Asian food?

Enter: Starter's in Studio One. Starter's Bar & Grille just signed a lease in the groundfloor of Midtown's new Studio One Apartments, along with Biggby Coffee. This is the third Starter's location (one is at Plymouth and Evergreen, the other inside Fairlane Town Center)--they offer really greasy but yummy bar food. If they keep late kitchen hours and offer pickup/delivery, they'll do killer business. Future residents will quickly realize that there are better bars, but this is the one that's in their building.

Still waiting: Shield's Restaurant and Pizzeria on the ground level of the Kales Building. The sign has been up for a year now. I just don't think it's going to happen. But hey, at least there'll be a Subway. Detroit can never have enough Subways.

Waiting with white knuckles: Michael Symon's new restaurant inside the Book-Cadillac???? WHAT KIND OF CUISINE WILL IT BE?????? ZOMFGZ TELL ME ALREADY!!!!!!

I still have to check out Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes...maybe I'll do that now...