Tuesday, March 13, 2012

[HOT LIST] Corned beef

Corned beef hash at Farmers Restaurant. Covert cell phone photography by Nicole Rupersburg.

On July 5, 2011, EID ran a "Corned beef sandwiches" Hot List. It was our third-ever Hot List and a lot of you hadn't heard of us yet. This week, in honor of Detroit's Irish culture and our proud corned beef heritage, we're re-visiting and expanding this list. These Hot Lists are meant to be infinitely revisitable as new places open, others close, or we just decide we've changed our minds. Bloggers privilege! 

Detroit is corned beef country. From Sy Ginsberg to Wigley's to Grobbel's, from the Dinty Moore to the Reuben, you want corned beef – the brined brisket of the gods – you got it, kid. There are many places to buy it and plenty of ways to eat it; we fancy it piled between two slices of hearty homemade bread or fried up with potatoes, onions and lots of butter (a glorious thing called "hash").

#1 Hygrade Deli Detroit
Kick it way old school at this V-is-for-very-and-vintage Michigan Avenue coffee shop, located just around the way from the United plant, home of the Sy Ginsberg label. (Sy Ginsberg corned beef is, of course, served.) Get the "meal" sandwich – corned beef, swiss, coleslaw and dressing - on an onion roll. The pickles come from Detroit's own Topor's, also in the 'hood. 

#2 Louie's Ham and Corned Beef Eastern Market
Where do you get corned beef in Eastern Market, home to Wigley's and Grobbel's? You get it everydamnwhere. Or so it seems. And while we're inclined to be creatures of habit and run straight for Russell Street Deli, lately it's Louie's, out on the topside of the 'hood, that's calling our names.

#3 Stage Deli West Bloomfield
A legacy that began in Oak Park fifty or so years ago lives on in this OaCo staple, where you can order wines by the glass with your big ass platters and sandwiches. This place feels like like those famous New York delis, complete with luck-of-the-draw service, but much cleaner. Also, fewer European tourists.

#4 Mudgie's Deli Corktown
It's almost all sandwiches, almost all the time at this chill Metro Times' two-time "Best Deli in Wayne County" winner located in a sleepy corner of Corktown. Dig the Barrett sandwich – meat (Sy Ginsberg in the hizzouse), house made coleslaw, Swiss and thousand island on an onion roll, served warm. Will it snag the coveted "Best Deli" title for the third year in a row? With their current tour of the United States of Sandwiches (a new state's signature sandwich is featured every week), they definitely have our vote for innovation. 

#5 Farmers Restaurant Eastern Market 
Here's an insider's tip (and this goes for everywhere in Eastern Market): don't go on Saturday. Farmers is super-small (don't let that mirror running along the whole side of one wall fool you: that's a WALL) and very old-school. As in, go at about 2:00 on a random weekday afternoon and find yourself in the company of nothing but old men speaking Polish. It's fabulously drab but the food is fresh, all high-quality diner classics with HUGE portions. There are endless permutations of corned beef on the menu, but get the corned beef hash - a heaping mound of shredded corned beef and perfectly crispy fried potatoes served with two eggs on top AND a side of toast. Easily three full meals, all for $6.75. Eastern Market is just the BEST.

Bubbling under Woodbridge Pub (Detroit), Jimmy Dee's (Clinton Twp.), Russell Street Deli (Eastern Market), Avalon Bakery (Detroit), Onion Roll (Royal Oak), Lou's (Detroit, Southfield), Steve's (Bloomfield Hills), Foran's Grand Trunk Pub (Detroit), Bread Basket (Livonia), Zingerman's Deli (Ann Arbor), Star Deli (Southfield), PJ's Lager House (Corktown)

Hygrade Restaurant & Deli on Urbanspoon