Detroit

Midtown: Selden Standard

One of Detroit’s favorite hot spots, Selden Standard, just celebrated it’s two year anniversary. Located in Midtown, Selden Standard is the ideal place for shareable small plates. With ingredients that are prepared at their seasonal freshness, Chef Andy Hollyday and his crew create mouth watering masterpieces that showcase their love and passion for their work. The style is rustic casual, but don’t let that fool you. These guys are bringing their A game with a menu bursting with local, fresh flavors. Expect to experience the same from a full bar that includes carefully chosen wines from around the world, perfectly paired brews, and craft cocktails that incorporate seasonal fruits with house made juices. See how they ranked.

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Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 4.5 out of 5 bites (unique ingredients, quality, flavor)

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Sour Cherry Ale: Belgian. Perfect balance of sweet and sour. Loved it!

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Grilled Scallions: Romesco sauce (made with roasted red pepper and almonds). I never thought how much I would like whole grilled onions, but these were delicious. Sweet and subtle. The romesco sauce added a slight smokiness and freshness.

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Beef Tartare: Grilled bread, tonnato sauce (tuna mayo), olives, herbs. Whaaaat? This was the most amazing thing I have ever tried. I have never had tonnato sauce and honestly didn’t know what it was until today, but it was good. It added enough fat to compliment the lean beef without being fishy. The grilled bread added a great texture and when it was gone I found myself shoveling the beef into my mouth with just the fork. Get this! And when you’ve finished it, order another!

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Charred Octopus: Chickpea, chorizo, pepper salad. The octopus was tender and paired well with the subtle nutty chickpeas. I liked that the red pepper salad still had some crunch.

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Duck Bolognese:  Tagliatelle, pear, Parmesan. The sauce included delicate pieces of duck and big chunks of pear served over tender pasta. The pear was tender, but still had texture and sweetness. It was an interesting combo, but worked well. This dish was full of flavor, but wasn’t heavy. The pasta was buttery and cooked perfectly. My only complaint was that there wasn’t more duck. Very delectable!

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The service was great and our server made it a point to go over the menu with us before we ordered. I really liked that although there was a wait on a busy Thursday night, the staff didn’t seem flustered or overwhelmed. There was a very cool and relaxed vibe going on. The menu changes with each season and offers a wide array of eats. I will definitely be back for brunch and the donuts and cider.

Shout out to @motorcityknifeworks for showing me the Beef Tartare. Thanks, Jason!

Selden Standard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gold Cash Gold

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Located in Detroit’s Corktown, Gold Cash Gold is getting ready to celebrate it’s two year anniversary. Once the home to pawnshop owner, Sam Rubin (grandfather of Les Gold, owner of American Jewelry and Loan), the space now houses the farm to fork restaurant, which is serving up American food with a Southern twist. Gold Cash Gold offers classics such as Fried Chicken and the signature GCG Burger and also unique items such as Chicken Liver Mouse and fries with a pimento cheese sauce and a fried egg. See how they ranked.

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The front door. How cool!

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites

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Bloody Mary: Pickle juice bloody Mary mix. Those that read my blog or follow me on Instagram (@thebitetonight) know that I am obsessed with Bloody Mary’s. This one was really good! Fresh, spicy, and the pickle juice was the perfect amount of sour. The rim was seasoned with a killer spice blend. The only thing I could put my finger on was cumin and chili powder, but our server mentioned a few other flavors that he wouldn’t reveal. Kudos to the pickles, olive, and pickled asparagus garnish.

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Biscuits & Gravy: Mushroom gravy, buttermilk biscuits, and poached eggs. That gravy though! I loved the mushroom gravy, it was delicious! Rich and hearty with big chunks of fungus. The gravy was thick and acted as the perfect sauce for the dense biscuit. Once the yolk broke and mixed with the gravy, it added a light yet silkiness that took this dish over the top.

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Chicken Biscuit Sandwich: Pickle brined fried chicken, homemade ranch, spicy slaw, mixed greens. Disappointing. Brining chicken is supposed to add moisture, but this fried chicken was dry even for being dark meat. It also didn’t help that the homemade ranch was missing. I asked for a side of it and it made the sandwiches a little better, but not much. I did like the spicy slaw. It had a subtle kick, nice crunch, and pickled punch.

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My favorite part of Gold Cash Gold (besides the Bloody Mary, of course) was the décor and design. I would describe it as art deco meets antique with a touch of history with the original loan sign. I love the stained glass and the chandelier. Service was good and our food came out quick (there also weren’t many tables @ 1 PM on a Saturday). Our server did a good job of describing the menu and answering our questions. Don’t expect to get lunch here, GCG skips it altogether, only offering brunch (Saturday & Sunday) and dinner service. They also offer dining via the Chef’s Table where guests are sat next to the kitchen with a distinct view into Chef Brandon’s technique and skill.

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After brunch, Jacki and I stopped by Motor City Wine for a drink where I received a full consultation from the bartender on sour beers. It was great. Take note.

Petrus Aged Ale (sour beer): A little bite with a touch of sour. Not as sour as I’m used to, but still really good.

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Gold Cash Gold Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Motor City Wine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mercury Burger & Bar

Today on the Bite Tonight: Mercury Burger & Bar

Residing in Corktown, Detroit, on Michigan Ave, Mercury Burger & Bar is one of those places that you must visit. A neighbor of Slow’s BBQ and Mudgie’s Deli, Mercury Burger & Bar is adding it’s own flare to burgers. They have amped up some favorites by putting their own spin on fresh ingredients. The menu includes burgers, hot dogs, shakes, and hand cut fries. What goes best with a burger? Yep, you guessed it, beer! It is a bar after all, so Mercury offers a full bar including beer and liquor. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites (menu)

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My pick

Southwest Detroit: Burger topped with a chorizo slider, jalapeños, münster cheese, tortilla strips, avocado, and zanahorias (pickled spiced carrots). I also added green olives and Southwest ranch. Mercury does not skimp on the toppings, that’s for sure. I think they went a little crazy with the tortilla strips. I had to knock a handful off the burger just to taste the other toppings. I’d rather have more than not enough and they added a pleasant crunch with each bite. The Meunster cheese caught my eye and added a nice mellowness to the spicy, salty burger. The pickled spice carrots were subtle, but the vinegar was just enough to waken up my taste buds. The chorizo slider was smaller than I expected which was a good thing. It was juicy, spicy, and paired well with creamy avocado. 20150830_175634

Josh’s Pick.

Bacon Cheddar Burger: With a fried egg, crispy onion straws, and Dreamland BBQ sauce. Messy, but tasty! The yolk from the egg acted as a rich, silky sauce and went well with the tangy, sweet, BBQ sauce. The crispy onion straws were not your usual wimpy thin straws, these were thick onion rings! Deliciously fried goodness.

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Strawberry Milkshake: Sweet, creamy, with chunks of strawberry. Delicious, without that artificial strawberry taste.

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Service was good and the staff did a good job at recommending items off the menu. I really liked that the menu wasn’t too large. There’s nothing more difficult than being faced with a bunch of choices when you’re as indecisive as me. I’m expected to only pick one or two things? C’mon! Mercury Burger & Bar offers a handful of items and they really put all their energy into doing those items right. There are pieces of Detroit incorporated into the item names (Eastern Market & Flint) and Mercury serves tater tots and poutine! Next time, I am ordering the Faygo Orange Creamsicle Milkshake. If you haven’t been, you have to check em out.

Mercury Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Feria Spanish Tapas

Today on the Bite Tonight: La Feria

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Located on Cass Ave, in Midtown Detroit, La Feria was born in 2012 when three friends decided to bring their joyous experience of the Seville Fair (a week long celebration in Spain) to Detroit. They submitted their idea to the Hatch Detroit contest and won $50,000 to start their business. La Feria Spanish Tapas soon became one of the few restaurants of it’s kind in the area. Popular for serving small plates perfect for sampling and sharing, La Feria, offers authentic dishes. My former co-worker, April and I stopped in for dinner and drinks. See how they ranked.

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Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites (creative style and seasonal menu)

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Our server recommended the Sangria. We didn’t want to be rude, so we tried it.

Sweet, fresh, fruity, with a bold red wine flavor. This Sangria was dangerous because it was so tasty. April and I could’ve easily finished another pitcher. One of the best Sangria’s I have ever had. I really appreciated the fresh fruit.

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Tostada De Almogrote: Cured Goat & Sheep Cheese Spread. Baguette. The baguette was grilled and toasty, but still had a chew. The cheese was creamy and nutty. Perfect starter!

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Patatas Bravas: Fried Potato. Spicy Tomato Salsa. Aioli. One of my favorites! The potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The tomato salsa had the consistency of a marinara sauce and had a nice flavor with a hint of spice. We should’ve ordered two!

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Tocino Relleno De Datil: Bacon Wrapped Dates. Stuffed with Almond. The best! I want to recreate these at my next gathering, but I afraid I won’t do them justice. The bacon was that perfect balance of chewy and crispy and added a nice saltiness to the sweet date. The texture of the almond was delicious. You must try this!

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Chorizo: Grilled Pork-Spanish Paprika-Wine Sausage. The sausage had a good flavor, but was just a little too charred for our taste. When we asked the server about it, she said it was intended to be charred, but it was dry and not appealing. So we asked for something else.

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Our server brought us the Chicken Skewers instead of the sausage. They were grilled with nice grilled marks and still moist. Not spicy, but flavorful.

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Service was good and we really enjoyed the tapas selections. Our server was really knowledgeable and made recommendations based on what our likes were. It was nice sharing and trying different things. Everything we tried was really delicious and fresh (aside from the sausage). You can really taste the passion and love the chef and owners put into every recipe. La Feria offers plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free items so there’s something for everyone. La Feria is really cute inside with exposed brick,  paintings, and vibrant red walls that displays Spain’s culture. I can’t wait to enjoy Sangria and small bites as soon as it’s patio season!

To our next date, April!

La Feria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cass Cafe

Located on (yup, you guessed it) Cass Ave in the Cass Corridor in Detroit is the funky, artsy Cass Cafe. Cass Cafe is referred to as the Art Bar and Restaurant and it shows. Art from local and national artists is displayed throughout its walls and they even offer entertainment where you are likely to catch a free concert. The menu consists of vegetarian options and many seasonal, fresh, and sophisticated choices including the Artichoke and Pesto Melt and Curry Roasted Chicken Breast served over Capellini Pasta. See how they ranked.

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Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites

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Cafe Lentil Burger with onion rings (house speciality) : A patty featuring lentils, walnuts, Parmesan & other fresh ingredients, served on a toasted onion roll with tomato,spinach & a side of garlic aioli. The burger was nicely seasoned and meaty. The garlic aioli was creamy with a nice garlic taste which wasn’t too strong. The onion rings had a nice thick batter and were perfectly cooked.

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My friend Nastassia is expecting her second child and we were gathering for the gender reveal. We had a party of nearly 30 and being primarily alone, our server did a decent job. It really was nice to check out the art while we waited for our food and Cass Cafe did a good job at accommodating our large party. I will definitely be back.

It’s a girl! Congrats Nastassia and Josh!

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Lunchtime Global

Today on the Bite Tonight: Lunchtime Global.

Located in the First National Building, Downtown Detroit, on Woodward and Congress, lies my new favorite lunch spot. Now, I normally brown bag it (and by brown bag I mean bring in my delicious, somewhat healthy leftovers from the night before), but on occasion I will venture out in the Detroit lunch scene. It’s kind of hard not to with all the competitive restaurants and food trucks that post up. Since 2008, Lunchtime Global is family owned and serving up some of the finest creations using local ingredients. Lunchtime Global is perfect is you are keeping it light or if you want a home cooked meal without the grease. They have soup, salad, and sandwich combos, along with a full menu of daily specials, Asian, Italian, American cuisine, and a cold case with an array of pre-prepped deli sandwich favorites and snacks. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 4 out of 5 bites

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Lunchtime Global has a semi-cafeteria style ordering system, but this does not take away from the quality of their food. it really just helps speed along the lunch rush.

I went with the soup and salad combo and I was impressed with all the food I got for under $8.

Thai Chicken Salad: Romaine and spring greens with basil, celery, red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, grilled chicken with a Ginger Vinaigrette. So fresh, delicious, and satisfying! The Ginger Vinaigrette was creamy, yet acidic, and sweet from the ginger. Plus, they hook it up on the portion size!

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Dill Pickle Soup: Tons of fresh carrots, potatoes, dill and huge hunks of dill pickles. Being a Polish girl, I had to try this soup. It wasn’t the cream based broth I was used to, but it was good nonetheless. A little salty, but when you load the soup with dill pickle, some of the salt will come through. I loved how much fresh dill was included.

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My friend Danielle went with the same thing, only tried a different soup.

Asian “Unchicken” Noodle Soup: A rich, hearty, slightly spicy soup with fresh Asian veggies. The combo of heat and slightly sweet was so delicious that I didn’t even miss the chicken.

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Lunchtime Global has good for you food at a great price. One of my favorite things is that Lunchtime Global makes fresh soups daily and has some pretty wild and creative options such as Cheesy Asparagus, Vegan Black Bean and Quinoa, and Chicken Pot Pie. The next time you are looking for lunch, skip the Jimmy or the John and stop in to Lunchtime Global. My only beef is that there are not open for dinner or on the weekends: Their hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday-Friday.

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Small Plates

Located on Broadway St, behind the Detroit Opera House sits Small Plates, an upscale, snazzy tapas restaurant. Small Plates offers a unique dining experience designed around sharing. With a menu consisting of everything from Chicken and Waffles to Fried Green Tomatoes, appetizer sized portions are served making it ideal to sample. See how they ranked.

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Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 2 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites (presentation and style)

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Lotus Flower Tuna: Seared sesame crusted tuna over mango & jalapeño salsa, wasabi aioli, avocado, soy reduction in a fried wonton flower. Gorgeous presentation! Fresh, light with layers of texture. Creamy avocado, light and fresh mango, crunchy wonton, finished with sesame tuna. The only thing this dish was lacking was heat, as we didn’t get much from the jalapeno or wasabi aioli.

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Chicken Tostadas: Pulled chicken, pepper jack cheese, mango & jalapeño salsa, key-lime sour cream. Chicken was tender and moist, but could’ve used a little more seasoning. The toppings were fresh and my only complaint was that as I got to the bottom of the shell, it was soggy.

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Signature Mac & Four Cheese Gratin: White cheddar, gouda, pepper jack, parmesan. Our favorite! Perfectly cooked pasta covered with cheesy goodness and topped with a crunch.

Mac and Cheese Small Plates

BBQ Chicken Pizza: Grilled chicken, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, BBQ sauce. I really liked that the BBQ sauce had a hint of heat to help balance the sweetness from the caramelized onions. Not overly done with cheese with a nice crispy browned edge. Pretty good for a deep dish, but ordering it well done would’ve put this pizza over the top.

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Josh and I came here around 5 on a Friday and although it wasn’t busy yet, it was starting to fill up with reservations. The service was good, and the dim lighting was perfect for our dinner date. I have to say we were a little disappointed because the food was just OK, and not as good as we excepted for the price. We still had fun ordering different items and trying them all out.

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