Aromas of fresh bread swirl through the air at La Shish, rising from ovens that crackle as they fire up soft pockets of pita. These traditional flatbreads pair naturally with the restaurant’s Lebanese specialties, which include stuffed grape leaves, hummus topped with sautéed lamb tips, and falafel made with free-range chickpeas. These shareable plates lead into entrees of ground-beef shish kafta and cabbage leaves stuffed with tender lamb. To complement the spicy flavors of its Mediterranean fare, La Shish squeezes tangy juice blends from raw oranges, apples, carrots, and beets.
Inside Game Time Bar and Grill, bartenders kick open the kegs and let loose a torrent of beer to wash down 12 gourmet burgers and just as many HD TVs. The menu brims with hearty pub fare, such as the Italian, a sub stuffed with a trio of meats, provolone, veggies, and Italian dressing, or The Firecracker, an angus patty topped with fried jalapeño rings, chipotle mayo, and live ammunition. For dinner, servers haul out rib eye steaks and chicken parmesan, preceded by smaller plates of chili-cheese fries and beer-battered shrimp to stoke hunger flames. Throughout the restaurant, a jukebox cranks out tunes that cease only for a live DJ on weekends and karaoke renditions of the drink menu on Thursday night. While the music plays, pool balls clack on several pool tables, and 12 HD TVs display a steady stream of sports.
Sam Alvarado’s passion and respect for handcrafted Mexican food started at a young age. He grew up watching his family cook at home and in the kitchens of Detroit’s popular Mexican Fiesta restaurant chain, which his grandfather founded. Today, as the co-owner and head chef of Fuego Grill, Alvarado draws from that early culinary foundation to craft his own menu of fresh, made-from-scratch dishes that “more than impressed” a food writer for the Dearborn Free Press. He assembles traditional entrees such as carne asada, milanesa sandwiches, and fish tacos with halal meats and locally grown vegetables, creating cuisine that’s as flavorful and conscientious as a chocolate-covered Jiminy Cricket.
Upon entering Ollie's Lebanese Cuisine, the aromas of roasting Lebanese sausage, spices, olive oil, and garlic evoke an eatery in the Middle East. In addition to baking pillowy flatbread that Dearborn Patch called "exemplary," the chefs make tomato sauces in-house, charbroil marinated morsels of beef tenderloin and chicken breast, and sauté shrimp in a fragrant mixture of cilantro and lemon. The restaurant's vegetarian-friendly selections include steamed lentils and sandwiches with crispy falafel. Happy chatter drifts into the dining room from a partially covered patio, which shelters diners from the hot sun and overly familiar nicknames from fighter pilots.
A southern Lebanese village was the first site of Hashems Nuts and Coffee Gallery, started by the current owners' grandfather—Abu Ali Sheik Theeb—in 1959. He roasted coffee and nuts fresh daily, blending spices and cooking falafel by hand that lured patrons from as far as Beirut. While the Dearborn stores are far removed from Lebanon, the Hashem family still mimics the original store's wares with daily roasted Turkish coffee, authentic recipes, and a wealth of Middle Eastern goods. Cooks can stock their pantries with Lebanese olive oil or pickled pepperoncini, and fill their spice racks with Spanish saffron and hand-mixed kibbeh spice blends. Dry-roasted or raw nuts mingle with dates and Turkish dried apricots to create a customizable trail mix. The staff also makes hookahs available for sale—like the art at museums if you bring your art to the museum and start selling it.