Sunday, April 5, 2009

Detroit Restaurant News, from Greektown to Corktown

One restaurant's ending is another's beginning, and there's a lot of that going on in Detroit right now. First up, overlooking the three-story lobby of the newly-opening Greektown Casino Hotel, is Bistro 555, a casual dining spot serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily (Sun-Thurs 6:00AM-11:00PM, Fri & Sat 6:00AM-midnight). Next is Mediterra Italian Bistro, the long-rumored Italian restaurant taking place of the original New Hella's location. While legal battles have stalled the opening of this venture, Ted Gatzaros still plans to open this much-buzzed-about and already controversial Mediterranean/Italian eatery. The signs in the windows still promise "Coming Soon," and I hope it doesn't get held up much longer. As much as an Italian place in Greektown has caused old-world Greektowners to gasp, complaining that it takes away some of Greektown's authenticity and cultural homogeneity, the Mediterranean theme is still very much in keeping with the predominent Greek cuisine in the area, and downtown is hurting for a really solid contemporary Italian spot (aside from the lone Angelina). Being that it is still Greek-owned, methinks the complaint over the choice of cuisine is just a lot of unnecessary hoopla indicating a crippling aversion to change (and nervousness over competition) as opposed to a sharp business sense and a genuine concern for the welfare of the area.

In sadder news, the Central Business District's Indian spot Sizz'l-N-Spice, located on Monroe St., celebrated its final weekend with the Final Four, after which they will no longer be open for business. A shame to lose this lunchspot as it is one of the only restaurants within city limits offering genuine Indian cuisine; one may be hard-pressed to find such a place nearby now, especially after the loss of the superior Kathmandu Chullo in Royal Oak last October, which offered first-rate Nepalese food. Detroit still has American Masala near Wayne State; Hamtramck offers the Pakistani/Indian Taj Mahal, as well as the Indian cafe Gandhi. Ferndale isn't too far away and boasts the popular Star of India. Otherwise one might be forced to travel out as far as Troy to try Ashoka, or Auburn Hills where Rangoli is located.

And in happier news, I had a wonderful lunch at the colorful, eclectic Le Petite Zinc today. I'll save the praises for a forthcoming review, but I can tell you now that beginning April 8th they will be extending their hours to 10:30PM (presumably Mon.-Sat.).

That's it for now; now get out there and EAT!