Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Metro Times Best-Of Breakdown 2010 (Readers Picks)

Hi there. It's ahhhhhh, it's been awhile, I know. Look, I've just been really busy with...things. You know how that goes, right? So. Ummmm....so what's been up? You look well. Been keeping busy? Ha...yeah, this isn't awkward at all.

Okay guys, so my complete lack of original content here lately hasn't escaped my attention, and I can no longer pretend that it may be escaping yours. I've had some lifey stuff to deal with, and some jobby stuff to deal with, and the rest of the time I've been at Foran's (and Ian K. Washington if you take my stool again I swear to Christ). Oh! I've been helping with the FOOD+FUN guide put out by the Downtown Detroit Partnership (the print version anyway)! So, you know, there was that. I guess what I'm saying is, it's not you it's me. I'm just really focused on my career right now and I need to prioritize things that are most important and...WHOA let me stop there, just got a little too Twilight Zoney.

Anyway, I'd like to put this little bit of unpleasantness behind us, can we? To start, I want to begin with one of my favorite things to do: making fun of the readers' picks from this year's Metro Times Best-Of. Oh, people just make me laugh and laugh and laugh sometimes! I know this issue came out, like, two months ago, but like I said--look man, there's a lot of ins and outs, ups and downs...

So without further delay, the snark you've come to know and love and miss so very much (besides, I like ragging on the Metro Times because I STILL DON'T FUCKING WRITE FOR THEM, DO YOU HEAR ME JACKMAN, and I learned from when I was a kid that the best way to get a boy to like you is to make fun of him and beat him up):

Readers' Picks
Some people shouldn't be allowed to feed themselves.

Best New Restaurant
Best Steakhouse — Wayne County
We're off to a good start. Let's see how long this lasts. PS, there's like a MEEEEELION categories here, and no "Best Happy Hour"??? Or maybe there's a separate section for that, my time is limited people. Either way, Roast should win that too.

Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Towners
Best Barbecue — Wayne
Best Beer Selection in a Restaurant
Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $50 — Wayne
Slows Bar-B-Q
And here we go. Look, we get it: you people love it. There are now two different trendy BBQ places downtown set to open soon that are going to try to compete with it, but it won't make a lick of difference because you fucking people LOVE it and nothing is ever going to change that, especially you suburbanites who I'm pretty sure think that this is the only restaurant in the whole entire city of Detroit. Oh, to be Phil Cooley...or at least have his eyes, he's got dreamy eyes.
(NOTE: My pithy comments are in no way a reflection of how I feel about Slows. I actually think it's a great place for this city and the fact that it has received so much favorable national press is a HUGE asset for Detroit. Phil Cooley and his partners have done an amazing job creating a place that is welcoming and fun for everyone who walks in the door, and that's what has made it so successful. Congratulations to them on that; they should be very proud. My ONLY gripe is that people from outside the city only seem to know/pay attention to this place, and I just wish THAT at least was different. However, at least this is something positive that they know about, and that right there is good enough. I wouldn't be me if I didn't snark, but in my heart of Detroit hearts I mean no offense so don't confuse it, k? Making fun of suburbanites here, not Slows or its ownership.)

Best Romantic Restaurant — Wayne
The Whitney

Giggidy giggidy giggidy giggidy. (<----that's a reference to my old "my future husband" joke. Which I am resurrecting effective immediately. Giggidy.) Best Romantic Restaurant — Oakland county
Melting Pot

Nothing more romantic than being stuck in a private dining room with someone else's screaming kid as you skewer and boil your own raw meat, I say.

Best Wine Selection in a Restaurant
Best Romantic Restaurant — Macomb county

This is so full of fail I can't even acknowledge it.

Best Romantic Restaurant — Washtenaw County
The Earle

This is what I keep hearing, from at least one trusted source (and there ain't many of those). I'll go if someone else drives and buys.

Best Restaurant View
Coach Insignia

Up until recently, I would have agreed, but the water-level panoramic view of the Riverfront at Forty-Two Degrees North beats all. I am also a huge fan of the patio at It's a Matter of Taste, as you can see in the June issue of 944 Detroit.

Best After-Hours Restaurant — Wayne
Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 — Wayne
Best Coney Island — Wayne
Lafayette Coney Island

Oh, Jesus Christ. I would say "best" only if it were "only." And it's not, btw.

Best After-Hours Restaurant — Oakland
Best Coney Island — Oakland & Washtenaw
Leo's Coney Island

Guys, there are other after-hours places besides Coney Islands. Just FYI. How about Como's? That's an improvement at least.

Best Coney Island — Macomb
Best After-Hours Restaurant — Macomb
Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 — Macomb
Best Late-Night Eatery
National Coney Island

Best After-Hours Restaurant — Washtenaw
Fleetwood Diner


Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 — Oakland
Fly Trap

Okay, yeah. Maybe Pete's Broadway Cafe too.

Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 — Washtenaw
Jerusalem Garden


Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $50 — Wayne
Tie: Mario's
4222 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-1616

Okay, first of all, WHO can possibly spend less than $50 at Mario's (a). (b) I should just stop fighting the Slows phenomenon and learn to just accept it. I could argue that there are dozens of other quality under-$50 restaurants in the downtown area and if you people would just give them a chance you would see that there really is something out there other than Slows, which isn't to say that Slows isn't good or that it doesn't provide a fantastic experience, it's just that I'd like for you to broaden your horizons a bit and really experience the city and see all it has to offer, that's all...but it would be a waste of breath. Phil Cooley has dreamy eyes.

Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $50 — Oakland

Only if I'm not eating.

Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $50 — Macomb
Best Steakhouse — Macomb
Mr. Paul's Chop House

Under $50 at Mr. Paul's??? Did I miss something?

Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $50 — Washtenaw

You've got to be fucking kidding me. I think it costs $50 just to walk in the door. HAHA, jokes about how expensive Zingerman's is!!! LOL!!! In all honesty, yes, it will be under $50--but remember, we're still talking sandwiches here and this ain't the under $15 category.

Best Italian Cuisine — Wayne, Oakland & Macomb

Excuse me, my stomach just flip-flopped.

Best Italian Cuisine — Washtenaw
Never even heard of it.

Best French Cuisine
Le Petit Zinc
Sorry, CLOSED.
RETRACTION: Not closed. Thank you to my future husband for doing the fact checking I *should* have done myself and kindly informing me.

Best Greek Cuisine
Pegasus Taverna
They're pretty much all the same.

Best Eastern European Cuisine
Polish Village Cafe

They're pretty much all the same.

Best Mexican Cuisine — Wayne
Xochimilco Restaurant

How about, only Mexican Cuisine in Wayne County people know the name of! I'll take a $1.25 taco truck carnitas taco ANY. DAY.

Best Mexican Cuisine — Oakland
Zumba Mexican Grille

How about, only Mexican Cuisine in Oakland County people know the name of! I'm fighting a losing battle here. Is Milford still Oakland County? Cinco Lagos!

Best Mexican Cuisine — Macomb
El Charro

How about...oh, fuck it.

Best Mexican Cuisine — Washtenaw
Tie: Tio's
La Fiesta Mexicana

How about I have no idea.

Best Caribbean Cuisine
Bahama Breeze

Must mean "only." Jerk spicy and tin drums does not a Caribbean restaurant make.

Best African Cuisine
Blue Nile

At least it's not Taste of Ethiopia. Which is the other option.

Best Chinese Cuisine — Wayne


Best Chinese Cuisine — Oakland
P.F. Chang's

What, we don't like Hong Hua anymore? Does Hong Hua even still exist? OH, SNAP, Mon Jin Lau lost!?! :O

Best Chinese Cuisine — Macomb
Tie: Golden Harvest
P.F. Chang's

Wok Inn, bitches!!!

Best Chinese Cuisine — Washtenaw
Great Lakes Chinese Seafood

I'm useless here.

Best Thai Cuisine — Wayne County
Bangkok 96

They're pretty much all the same. x4

Best Thai Cuisine — Oakland
Siam Spicy

Best Thai Cuisine — Macomb
Sy Thai Shore Restaurant

Best Thai Cuisine — Washtenaw
Tup Tim Thai

Best Indian Cuisine — Wayne


Best Indian Cuisine — Oakland

Best Indian Cuisine — Macomb
Four-way tie; Indo Pak
27707 Dequindre Rd., Madison Heights; 248-541-3562
New Delhi
37222 Dequindre Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-264-3333
Rangoli Indian Grill
44631 Mound Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-726-8811
The Chettinad
2079 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-446-9430
Good goddamn, look at all this damn Indian food in the MC!

Best Indian Cuisine — Washtenaw
Raja Rani
400 S. Division St., Ann Arbor; 734-995-1545
307 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-1500

There's a lot of Indian places, huh?

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine — Wayne

Don't argue with the Arabs. Thees guy, he makes the BEST falafel, thees guy over here.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine — Oakland
Anita's Kitchen

I hear conflicting things about this place. White people love it, Arabs think it's disgusting. Let's see, whose opinion should I lean towards...

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine — Macomb
Cedar Garden
Never been.

Best Middle Eastern Cuisine — Washtenaw
Jerusalem Garden

Heard good things.

Best Korean Cuisine
Wasabi Korean and Japanese

I like.

Best Japanese Cuisine
Tie: Benihana
Noble Fish
I half agree.

Best Cheap Breakfast — Wayne
Honest John's
Are they still open since the owner left?

Best Cheap Breakfast — Oakland
Club Bart

Only if you don't get the bottomless mimosas. Which are cheap in their own right, but a "cheap breakfast" that does not make.

Best Cheap Breakfast — Macomb
Phoenix Coney

I think I've been there. Where's it at again? Is it by the Clem?

Best Cheap Breakfast — Washtenaw
Tie: Beezy's
20 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-485-9625
Northside Grill
1015 Broadway, Ann Arbor; 734-995-0965


Best Breakfast or Brunch — Wayne
Russell Street Deli

When I think "brunch" I think "booze," which they do not have. Everything else, sure.

Best Breakfast or Brunch — Oakland

I can agree with this, though I know a few other places that I wish to keep secret lest you people flood them, too.

Best Breakfast or Brunch — Macomb
The Pantry

Been AGES, but was always good.

Best Breakfast or Brunch — Washtenaw
Café Zola

THAT's the one I keep confusing with Detroit's Chez Zara! Oh, LOL @me!

Best All-Around Buffet
Palette Dining Studio
If the words "best" and "buffet" just HAD to be in the same sentence.

Best Soul Food — Detroit
Steve's Soul Food Restaurant

Best Soul Food — Suburbs
Beans and Cornbread

I like how separate counties didn't get their own. What are you trying to say, guys? Hmmm? I just discovered this new place out in Grand Blanc...hell if I can remember the name of it, but DAMN good cornbread.

Best Sushi
Noble Fish


Best Barbecue — Oakland
Memphis Smoke

Not even good.

Best Barbecue — Macomb
Lazybones Smokehouse

Tug-off-the-bone style dry-rub ribs, if memory serves.

Best Barbecue — Washtenaw
Blue Tractor
They serve beer in cans ironically. They get my vote!

Best Vegan or Vegetarian
Inn Season Café

But why?

Best Seafood Restaurant — Wayne
Detroit Fish Market
Hahahahahahahaha-CLOSED! This place blew anyway. HARD. Best runner-up: Saltwater. Or, hell, the tuna sashimi at Wolfgang Puck is actually even better and you need to start believing me when I say this because I am always always right.

Best Seafood Restaurant — Oakland
Lily's Seafood

Northern Lakes.

Best Seafood Restaurant — Macomb
Red Lobster

Aw, shucks--I suppose I could have expected nothing less from my Macomb County brethren. Which is funny because they all live near Lake St. Clair and there's A LOT of seafood places along Lake St. Clair. But Red Lobster is for the seafood lover in you, and really, who can resist those cheddar biscuits?

Best Seafood Restaurant — Washtenaw
Real Seafood Company

Best Steakhouse — Oakland
Ruth's Chris Steak House

I guess. It's difficult to be impressed by a steakhouse anymore.

Best Steakhouse — Washtenaw
The Chop House

And as an alternate for Wayne County aside from Roast, I submit: the booby bar. Seriously. The Coliseum or the Penthouse Club specifically, but I have yet to find a booby bar steak or burger that doesn't put most others to shame. And they have lunch specials!

Best Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings
I do loooooove me some spicy garlic sauce (I put it on pizza!), but this award should go to Sweetwater Tavern.

Best Burger — Wayne
Miller's Bar

Not by a long shot, but it's got the best kitcsh factor.

Best Burger — Oakland
Red Coat Tavern

Best Burger — Macomb
Five Guys Burger and Fries


Best Burger — Washtenaw
Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger


Best Neighborhood Pizza — Wayne
Supino Pizzeria


Best Neighborhood Pizza — Oakland
Best Pizza in a Bar — Macomb

So much pizza in this area and you all always vote for Buddy's.

Best Neighborhood Pizza — Macomb
Jet's Pizza

Oh hell, why not Little Caesar's Hot-n-Ready? :P

Best Neighborhood Pizza — Washtenaw
Pizza House

Only when you're drunk.

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery — Wayne
Best Pizza in a Bar — Wayne
Motor City Brewing Works

I like this place. I don't think it wins at either, but I do like this place.

Best Pizza in a Bar — Oakland
Green Lantern
Okay, yes.

Best Pizza in a Bar — Washtenaw

Best Gourmet Pizza
Amici's Pizza

I'm getting bored with this.

Best Deli — Wayne

Best Deli — Oakland
Al's Famous Deli


Best Deli — Macomb
Tie: Bread Basket Deli
2201 E. Eight Mile Rd., Warren; 586-754-0055
New York Deli
2715 E. 14 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-826-9330; three more locations in Macomb County

Best Deli — Washtenaw
Zingerman's Deli

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery — Oakland
Woodward Avenue Brewers
FAIL! How does Bastone take "Best place to spend under $50" but it DOESN'T take this one? *sigh*

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery — Macomb
Dragonmead Microbrewery
See, everything else has its own separate categories ("neighborhood pizza" vs. "pizza in a bar")--so why are the brewpubs or microbreweries getting the short stick here? Should be: Best Microbrewery, Tie: Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. & Dragonmead. Best Brewpub: Sherwood Brewing Co.

Best Brewpub or Microbrewery — Washtenaw
Arbor Brewing Co.

Ugh, that's as bad as the WAB. Beer, meh; food, more meh. JOLLY PUMPKIN!!!! I would also accept Grizzly Peak.

Best Wine Bar

Only wine bar. Wait, there's one in Rochester now too, isn't there? Oh well, Vinotecca by default.

Best Crêpes
Good Girls Go to Paris

I am also a big big fan of What Crepe?

Best Appetizers in a Restaurant


Best Bakery — Wayne
Avalon International Breads
No. No no no no no, I have to put my foot down here. Rock-hard bone-dry $3.50 scones made with green-safe organic hippy-dippy flour does not the best bakery make. Seriously, guys, I've held my tongue with this long enough and I cannot do it any longer. Everything in this place is overpriced which I wouldn't even mind but for the fact that it just simply isn't that stupendous. You want bread, pastries, sandwiches--have you even BEEN to any of the Mexican bakeries in SW Detroit, or the Asian bakeries in Madison Heights, or the Arab bakeries on Warren in Dearborn? These places are producing FAR better breads and pastries at a fraction--A FRACTION!--of the price. Now granted, they lack that trendy-Detroit-scenester factor you all seem to love so much, but SERIOUSLY. $3.50 for a dry-ass scone AND I have to wait an hour for a table? Time to branch out, people. I know that all the places I just named are ethnic, but I promise you'll be okay. I do like the sea salt chocolate chip cookies though.

Best Bakery — Oakland
Pinwheel Bakery

Best Bakery — Macomb
Tie: Mannino's Bakery

Best Bakery — Washtenaw
Zingerman's Bakehouse

Best Desserts in a Restaurant
Traffic Jam

You know, dessert is not something I pay a lot of attention to. Unless it's a cheese plate. Which they have here. So I'll keep an open mind.

Best Sweets Shop
Astoria Pastry Shop


Best Sit-Down Ice Cream Shop
Coldstone Creamery


Best Indie Coffee House — Wayne
Café 1923


Best Indie Coffee House — Oakland
AJ's Cafe

Sure. I do like Bean & Leaf though.

Best Indie Coffee House — Macomb
Che Cosa
Damn, that place is still around? I used to chain smoke in there while all the Italians watched soccer. Oh, to be young again.
UPDATE: I think I confused this place with a different place. This place is in the dowtown Clem; been there once or twice during the fireworks in between rawk music sets, seem to remember something fruity in a blender. Wasn't that impressed.

Best Indie Coffee House — Washtenaw
Ugly Mug Café & Roastery

I just like the name. But Comet Coffee wins here, and even *I* know that.

The Untouchables
The 14 restaurants that stubbornly remain at the top of their category

Best View: Coach Insignia
At least until somebody else builds a restaurant 700 feet in the air.
Forty-Two Degrees North.

Best River View: Rattlesnake Club
You may not have the most commanding view of the river, but the fine-dining razzle-dazzle says you found the right spot.

Technically it's not even *on* the river. Forty-Two Degrees North!

Best Splurge: The Lark
With a menu whose prices might send somebody's eyebrows jumping off their head, this is the place to spend freely — that $90 serving of caviar and crème fraîche, for instance.

Splurge, yes. Best, no. I want to splurge at Bourbon Steak, THAT would be a fun night.

Best Vegetarian-Vegan: Inn Season Café
Inn Season was there first, and keeps up its game, building relationships with farmers, shopping day-to-day for freshness, and doing it all with a high level of creativity.

I like the sustainable thing, but I also like meat.

Best Bakery: Avalon International Breads
Avalon was among the first quality stores to take root in Detroit's Cass Corridor; today, they continue to grow.

I've said my piece.

Best Italian Chain: Andiamo's
No contest. When you have a miniature empire of some of the finest Italian restaurants in metro Detroit, you're going to win again and again. Capisce?

Bacco, what? Oh right, not a chain. Still: Bacco. Or Cafe Cortina, which I have yet to try but would venture a guess that it's better than Andiamo.

Best Mexican Restaurant: Señor Lopez Taqueria
Southwest Detroit brims over with Mexican cuisine, but it's this unpretentious little spot on Michigan Avenue that wins our critics' hearts year in and year out.

Taqueria Lupita.

Best Polish Restaurant: Polish Village Café
With low prices, high quality, a full bar, and a basement where a portrait of FDR has probably been up since 1931, you can't beat PVC's authentic vibe.

Duck blood soup!

Best Square Deep-Dish Pizza: Loui's
Not only is their pizza unbeatable, also winning are the waitresses who call you "Hon'" and an interior adorned with empty Chianti bottles.
Who? Louie's? Luigi's? What is this supposed to be?

Best Burger: Redcoat Tavern
Not only is this the metroplex's top burger as long as we can remember, the menu has lots of winners, and the bartender has a bent elbow.

Mmmmmm, beef. Bourbon Steak and Roast both threaten to take this title, but this is still a damn good burger.

Best Dim Sum: Shangri-La
In the West Bloomfield location, you'll find metro Detroit's most dazzling array of authentic Chinese treats.

Pork buns!

Best Sushi: Noble Fish
Fake Shinto shrines, faux tatami surfaces and a dozen "lucky cats" at the cash register don't necessarily mean good sushi. But this unassuming little shop has a no-frills café in the rear that serves sushi of outstanding quality.


Best Al Fresco: La Dolce Vita
Not the grandest outdoor dining area in metro Detroit, but perhaps it's the contrast between the walled-in, vine-covered oasis and the gritty urban streetwall it hides behind. Either way, it's like a bit of Tuscany just off McNichols.

I like how this was put. Jackman, we should work together.

Best Coney Island: Lafayette
Is there any better place to rub shoulders at 2:30 a.m.? If there is, we haven't seen it yet.

Except for that it's gross, but lucky for you you're too drunk to know that.