Monday, July 27, 2015

Eating NEW in Detroit

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- Eating in a New Detroit

In the past I've focused primarily on the places that refused to give up on Detroit. Today I thought I'd add a section on the spots helping build a new Detroit. There's countless articles out there about the new generation of artists, young businessmen, and industry people etc moving into an area that was once as rich as any. Not to mention the Chinese and English firms that have been buying up land to the point where the days of a $20,000 building are gone. I myself do some business in the area and when not indulging in the riches of Middle Eastern eats next door in Dearborn, or enjoying the best fish n' chips outside of the UK and Canada, or eating ham sandwiches stacked sky high, or enjoying real deal old fashioned burgers, these are some of the newly opened spots I've enjoyed.

The Green Rush is in full flow mode

One of the major bricks in building a new Detroit is modern art. There's countless galleries featuring the work of people from all over the globe. One of the more concentrated places featuring these montages is the MOCAD aka Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.


I'll admit I'm not the biggest art geek in the world but I find myself more appreciative of it as I get older. MOCAD is a non-collecting museum so I don't think anyone has a right to complain about the work they're showing.

 a peek inside

After a walk around the former car dealership turned museum we decided it was time. Lets be real, the real reason we were here was to eat and drink. Attached to the museum is Cafe 78 where they're serving food and drinks in a large open space with young entrepreneurs showing off their craft. On this day a young lady from Seattle was selling her 'Detroit is the New Black' clothing line and people were waiting to purchase an item to showcase. It's a tight knit community. The bar here has become a staple for me when in town. I think they have the best cocktails in these parts. It's all about the colors.

Cocktail Menu based off the Pantone Color Palette

Brunch Cocktails

Don't sleep on the food. Cafe 78 offers a bar menu and also brunch on Sunday's which was the showcase on my recent visit with the lady. We decided to split a Croque Madame sandwich and it was glorious. As followers of this thread know Detroit is as serious about its ham as they are the cars.

Croque Madame Sandwich at Cafe 78 inside the MOCAD

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails

Continuing on in this area, around the corner from MOCAD is a kitchen and bar focusing on Chartreuse and art. I've only been in here once which was my most recent visit with the lady. I thought the drinks were prety good while the small plate of charred octopus was enjoyed, though I have had more tender. Including from a place visited later that night.

Grilled Spanish Octopus- fennel, pickled onion, chorizo, cucumber, chili, sea salt

Wright & Co.

One of the things I really love about this industry renaissance is the fact they're opening businesses in beautiful old buildings and neighborhoods. Wright & Co. sits on the second floor of the historic Wright-Kay Building, one of the oldest in Detroit. I love the views of downtown from inside but must admit that the food menu feels a little bit like it's circa 2003 though the vibes are fantastic. I've enjoyed the plates I've tried but none of them are anything new. The bartenders are well informed and will make you most anything or surprise you with something after telling them what you like.

Sitting at the bar inside


The biggest concentration of new age spots opening up shop is happening in Detroit's oldest neighborhood. When Slow's BBQ debuted some 10 years ago it turned this stretch of Michigan avenue around. Handfuls of businesses have followed the smell of the smoke and opened in the area.

Image Image
Two James Distillery is the first in Detroit since per-prohibition. The cocktails are a little expensive for the city but it's worth a stop for a shot.


This Corktown sandwich shop is the concept of a couple longtime restaurant vets who moved back from San Francisco to make their dream a reality. Most delis in Detroit are all about the corned beef but Rubbed is focused in on cured meats and such. They make their own stuff on-site and offer it by the pound and also in sandwiches. The 'East-Sider' is a favorite of mine. It packs soppressata, capicola, pepperoni, honey ham, provolone, bacon–herb spread, lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet peppers into their fresh bread and its awesome though on my last trip in it was 94 degrees and the 'Yooper' seemed appropriate. Since it was brunch time they had thick crisp local bacon ad I asked them to add that on on top of the smoked whitefish. Standard toppings are Swiss, lettuce, tomato, onion, carrot.

The Yooper Sandwich

Gold Cash Gold

Down the street is this former pawn shop turned restaurant. They call the food here "farmstead fine food" and it all comes from nearby farms and or the kitchen where they make many items in house. The fried chicken is pretty damn good as is the burger and the cocktails. It can also be a nice place to enjoy some drinks.

Pure Michigan

Johnny Noodle King

Out with the old and in with the new. RIP Johnny Ham King. At least they paid homage to the former tenant and kept the building up, and after all it aint like it was Mike's. I decided to finally try this popular Corktown spot with the bridge to Canada overlooking it on the rec of a local writer for New City. He's also a freind and rec'd the tableside torched mackerel and I cant argue with that. The pieces basically melted in your mouth. All in all this place was solid enough that we went back on the same trip. The gyoza is great as is the bacon fried rice and daily bao bun selection, get the ham if they have it. The broth in the ramen was a bit mellow but the porkbelly was cooked perfectly.

Tableside Torched Mackerel

Char Siu Bun

Housemade Pork Gyoza

Bacon Fried Rice

Shoyu Ramen

Selden Standard

Last but not least is my favorite "new" place to eat in the D. I'm not sharing any secret with this one as it's probably 1000's of others favorite spot to eat in town too. It's been named restaurant of the year and been reviewed by every local publication and had handfuls of national reviews. Selden Standard is a seasonal shared plate experience where many of the dishes are made on their wood roasting grill.

Sitting at the grill bar

My recent birthday weekend meal here will no doubt make my year end best list. I thought everything we ate could've qualified as the best thing I've ate lately. If it sounds good to you, then you'll probably enjoy it. These guys are killing it, food and drink.

Charred Octopus - Fennel, citrus, olive, saffron

Sweet Pea Agnolotti - Garlic scapes, almond, brown butter

Smoked Lamb Ribs - Garlic scapes, yogurt, lemon

Strawberry Rhubarb Sundae - Salt & pepper ice cream, shortbread

Cafe 78 at MOCAD
4454 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 832-6622

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
15 E Kirby St
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 818-3915

Wright & Co.
1500 Woodward Ave Second Floor
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-7711

Two James Spirits
2445 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48184
(313) 964-4800

2015 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 265-3684

Gold Cash Gold
2100 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 242-0770

Johnny Noodle King
2601 W Fort St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 309-7946

Selden Standard
3921 2nd Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 438-5055

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