An expertly rolled cylinder of fish roe and avocado. A neatly organized bento box. The tang of just enough teriyaki sauce on a jumbo scallop. These are the pleasures that the chefs at Hamachi Sushi focus on perfecting each day. Diners perch at a bar or lounge at tables while enjoying the fruit of the chefs’ work, wielding chopsticks to pluck sushi and sashimi from their plates or scallions from their teeth. In addition to the wide array of rolls ensconcing salmon and barbecued eel, the menu includes traditional Japanese meals such as teriyaki meats and noodle soups. Cubic lanterns made of white paper light the dining room, whose walls are painted the bright pink of a pig that’s blushing because it forgot to curl its tail.
While Greeks and Italians have long been neighbors of a sort, seldom were they in such close proximity as Gus and Guido. The two grew up as playmates, alternating meals often at both families' homes. As their childhoods progressed, each came to love both traditional Greek and Italian cuisine. Ultimately, they started a restaurant—aptly named Gus & Guidos—to combine their love for both fares into a single menu.
The old world traditions that inspired the original duo still hold sway in the eatery's kitchens today. Chefs carve all steaks and meats in-house, coating fresh pork chops in a Greek peppercorn sauce or lightly breading classic veal scallopini. They also make a famously tender portion of Italian-style ribs, slowly basted to perfection over nine hours.
Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe complements its aromatic free-trade coffee with a crowded menu of fresh cafe fare. Lunch dates commence as pairs settle into the cafe’s brick-walled, cozy ambience—complete with wooden floors and a grandmother encouraging guests to eat up—and select Brown Dog signature half sandwiches such as the smoky Country turkey ($7) or the stacked simplicity of the ham and swiss ($6). Hot sandwiches, including eggs benedict ($5) and bacon-cheese ($4), arrive at tables escorted by doting pickle-spear chaperones and the customer's choice of salad or soup of the day. Diners contemplate the complex aromas of one of Brown Dog's in-house roasted fair-trade signature coffee blends while sitting on the Paris location's brisk patio area, where the Grand River eases along nearby and compels patio sitters to speak only in haiku. In addition to flaky apple fritters, the amiable Brown Dog staff keep the ovens humming with classic cafe delectables, including scones ($1.75), french toast ($3.50), and a fluffy assortment of muffins ($1.75).
Husband and wife Josh and Rhonda Schlueter first discovered their talent for baking pizza together back when they were still dating. Rhonda recalled, "We made the best pizza we ever tasted, and Josh said one day when we own our own pizzeria, we will name it Lotamecheese" for its layers of meat and cheese. Now owners of Lotamecheese Pizza, they oversee a kitchen where regular and gluten-free crusts emerge topped with vegetables from local vendors, real bacon, chicken, feta cheese, and sliced tomato. The Canadian–style stone-baked pizzas pair up with wings, cheesy bread, and potato wedges to fill dinner tables or refrigerated glove boxes for meals on the go.
Amid a cozy dining room festooned with Parisian posters and sparkling glass jars filled with sweets, Holy Crepe!’s team of Gallic pancake gurus whip up a menu of sweet and savoury noshes. Diners can talk fork or spork preferences over bites of savoury munchables such as a Manly Man crepe brimming with chicken, prosciutto, and aged cheddar. Chefs stuff the Zeus crepe with Hellenic staples such as feta cheese and olives, while the Brekky crepe’s egg, ham, and shallot insides shake up morningtime meals. For a post-prandial treat, sugary crepes –including a Yummy crepe gilded in Nutella and peanut butter– twitterpate taste buds with their decadent fillings. In order to accommodate dietary restrictions, an optional upgrade enables patrons to swap out regular crepes for gluten-free buckwheat bases or Frisbees made in a tree-nut free factory. Sips of coffee or tea ensure that talk boxes remain caffeinated and hydrated throughout the meal.