On the newly renovated and revitalizing Jefferson area below Alter – you will find the best Caribbean food in the D! What started as a food truck, Lester has turned into a lovely establishment on the East side. The menu is heavy on the chicken but with a tad of goat and oxtail! I have been there many times now and have never had bad meal. Sitting at the bar is the best. I’ve worked my way through most of the cocktail menu and am happy with most of it, but there are a lot of drinks that are on the very sweet side.
My favorite dish is the Trini Tacos – very spicy with jerk chicken on a lightly fried type of flat bread (bara bread). They are filling – I can only eat one of these in addition to the mandatory sides – so it’s a good idea to share. Also – be warned that the sauce is spicy – and when paired with the spicy jerk chicken, the heat can build (which I love).
The MANDATORY sides are the fried plantains and the mac & cheese. If you have ever had fried sweet plantains – you know what I’m talking about. Moreover, this Mac – I know I might be in trouble for saying – might be the best in the D. It’s exactly how I like it, yet cannot describe it. It’s not goopy, it’s not too dry, it’s not bland, it doesn’t have a fancy breadcrumb topping or candied bacon. It is just really great mac & cheese. I actually like how it has browned bits from the pan cooking.
My second favorite is the Jerk Chicken entree. This is served with red beans & rice and cabbage. It is delicious. I have also tried the goat dishes, and while goat is not my favorite – I must confess – it is well prepared and I recommend it as trying something a little different and adventurous (for me at least!).
I started this review last year – and am returning to finish the draft in August 2020 – I have visited three times since restaurants have reopened and thankfully nothing has changed. Also, they currently have inside seating vs a lot of places currently having only outdoor seating.
During Black Metro Eats: 3rd Annual Detroit Black Owned Restaurant Week ( www.blackmetroeats.com ) I took a beautiful girl to The Block. I chose this off the list because it has been on MY foodie list for a while that I had not checked off yet.
We were welcomed warmly, and decided to sit at the bar (this I do 90% of the time – I love to interact with the bartenders and other patrons). Although they did have a special menu for the week that included app, entree and dessert for a great price – we decided to order from the regular menu to suite our whims. We enjoyed the Block Mac: add this to my top 5 Mac in the D. We also had the brussels sprouts, sweet potato fries and split a Med (chicken sammy). We enjoyed everything we ordered. The service was perfect. The location was great – we walked from both La Feria (they have new wine bar attached – we enjoyed this) and to Castalia Cocktails after (will do a separate post – I’m in love with it). www.theblockdet.com
The new addition on Kercheval in West Village was most intriguing to the carnivore in me. This concept of part butcher shop – part restaurant is right up my alley. Yet they are also vegetarian friendly (as long as you are not offended by the hanging/aging carcasses). The menu is small and done very well. They offer a rotating lamb, pork and beef daily – all locally and sustainably raised. The waiter had even visited the pigs on the farm where my pork was raised.
My meal was beautiful, creative and tasty. Also – this is a full service butcher shop and they offer some lovely and unique things. Even more interesting – they have butchery workshops! I am particularly interested in the knife skills, dry aging and sausage making – but for a more serious butcher – there are heavier classes such as “whole hog breakdown” or “beef primal butchery”.
The menu changes often – I was trying to describe the menu to a friend and when I looked it up, already it was very different. I’m excited to return. The also have an amazing brunch menu. www.marrowdetroit.com
The space here has been through a few transitions in the past few years – from an embroidery shop, to crepes (Good Girls Go to Paris), to a juice bar, and now – definitely here to stay, a neighborhood joint – The Charlevoix. The space has been opened up into a more open concept and has quickly became MY favorite spot for a drink and bite.
The menu isn’t huge, but they have been creative with their offerings. They have a variety of street tacos, whole wings with creative flavors, and – this is the place to go in Detroit if you want a Po’Boy. The bread for the Po’Boys is imported from NOLA so it’s an authentic sandwich – but they do have some innovative variety. Also – on the happy hour menu is my favorite buttermilk chicken slider – it’s loaded with homemade pickles and buttermilk dill sauce, with a touch of heat – perfection. Another favorite NEW menu item is Elote: I’ve always loved elote but it’s so messy to eat in public and this is no exception. I would love to get a couple of these to go and eat them in the privacy of my basement in front of the TV! If you don’t know- Elote is mexican street corn, usually a grilled ear of corn coated in crema fresca, butter, lime juice, chili powder, and cojita cheese. This is absolutely fantastic.
I also love the chilaquiles rojo – which is basically duck confit nachos – I highly recommend these. Let’s not forget about cocktails – Nick is one of my favorite local bartenders, please visit him. I recommend a margarita made with their house infused jalapeno tequila. If you have a dessert drink in mind – the Nip/Tuck is stunning. Blackstrap rum, Velvet Falernum, pistachio orgeat, egg white, cold brew and bitters. It is a small perfect coffee-flavored drink that features my fast-becoming favorite clove liqueur.
And then there is the brunch menu – on Sundays from 11-3. This is the best menu of all…you can see it on their website www.thecharlevoix.com. AND with $1 refills on the mimosas – you can have one for $7 or 10 mimosas for $16. Enough said!
Atop the stunning restored Metropolitan building is one of the coolest new bars in Detroit. The Monarch Club is currently the tallest public rooftop bar in Detroit, located on the 13th floor (penthouse). It has 3 separate outdoor areas, each with an amazing view. While the outdoor views are the main attraction, the interior of the club is just as beautiful. The drinks on the menu are thoughtfully crafted and the bartenders are talented. No need to stick with the menu, let the bartenders create something for you because they are drink knowledge masters!
Each terrace has at least one firepit. I’m told that eventually you will be able to reserve the smaller two terraces for private gatherings. There is also a menu of snacks and small plates, but the focus here is on the cocktails and the view. While you can pretty much count on a wait to go upstairs on any night of the week (so I’ve found out myself) there is a convenient check in process. Simply give you name and number in the lobby and they will text you when it is your turn to ascend to the penthouse. It’s almost a bonus to wait because you can check out three uber-cool Detroit bars that are all within a block of the Metropolitan: The Brakeman (right across the street), Queens bar and the Candy Bar (reviews and pics of all three coming soon!) www.monarchclubdetroit.com
The best part about this addition to Corktown (besides the food and drink) is the view of both the train station and the Ambassador Bridge. This spot was originally a donut shop in the 1940’s (Mayflower Donuts) and also an auto repair shop in the 60’s. Now, it has been transformed into an edgy yet vintage feeling restaurant. Owner Jeff Mifsud and Executive Chef/Owner Matthew McGrail have created a menu of “comfort foods” from a fusion of German, Irish and Italian cuisines.
The entrance is an old used oil tank, with the graffiti of four local artists inside. The clock tower that was originally on this building was restored/rebuilt (not all parts original). Inside you will find some unique features, such as carriage lights from 1862, a line shaft from an 1880’s power factory, tabletops made from a Detroit bowling alley and barnwood walls from Michigan barns dating 100-150 years old.
The menu offers items such as Shepards Pie, Risottos, Pasta, Mac & Cheese, Schnitzel, Bangers & Mash and other varieties of sausage and potatoes. These are the true comfort foods from Germany, Italy and Ireland.
Apparently somewhere in the restaurant there is a hidden Easy Bake Oven – which I did not find, therefore I will need to return – this time to also try the Risotto! They also have brunch. www.corkandgabel.com
It all started in 2010. We were going to Detroit restaurants when it was at the bottom of everyone’s list. We were checking out the new and struggling places when nobody was going downtown – when people were leaving en masse. I remember being offended when I would hear from my many diverse acquaintances – how they avoid hanging out in Detroit. I was always dismayed by the fear everyone would express about downtown Detroit. Even at the lowest economic point, Detroit was the love of my life. Now that the “comeback” has occurred – I cannot be more thrilled and inspired to restart my flowery waxing excitement speech about everything in this city. So here we go…Adventures in Detroit Dining – 2.0 – new and inspired! We were Pippi, Lulu, Scarlet and The Greek. I’m looking forward to old and new friends to join us for adventures!