Manu and Ila Patel decided to share their recipes with others inside Krishna Catering & Restaurant. They stuff dosas (thin crepes) with cheese and vegetables and toss onions and jalapeños into uttapam (thick pancake) mix, creating dishes that helped the eatery earn the Best Vegetarian Restaurant award on the 2012 Detroit A List. Ila also blends Indian and Chinese flavors, dousing cheese cubes in Chinese sauce and sprinkling chili and soy sauces over veggies. Manu and Ila also cart their myriad dishes off site, catering weddings and celebrations held after passing court-mandated polygraph tests.
With its deep-burgundy walls, heavy curtains, and crystal-draped chandeliers, What Crepe?s dining room hearkens back to Belle ?poque?era Paris. The scent of simmering crepe batter and melting cheese further imbues the bistro with an aura of authenticity. Chefs flip more than 50 sweet, savory, gluten-free, and vegan crepe varieties that have earned praise from the Detroit Free Press for their freshness and ability to be delivered through mail slots. Savory standout The Obvious garnishes chicken and caramelized apples with feta, while the Nutty Monkey blends banana and Nutella, then tops them with vanilla ice cream. In addition to crepes, dining companions can share sips of organic tea and the restaurant?s own blend of french-press coffee.
Carolyn Simon’s allergies and health issues first led her to discover the health benefits of a raw, vegan diet, inspiring her to use her more than three decades of restaurant experience to open Red Pepper Deli. While the menu includes hot soups, teas, and coffee, the focus is on healthy, raw recipes crafted from fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that are never heated above 118 degrees––a practice that helps each ingredient retain its vital nutrients and wrinkle-free complexion. The lack of Fahrenheit is made up for with flavor, as Carolyn and her staff prepare most everything on the menu from scratch, from the mediterranean pizza made with cashew cheese, red pepper, green olives, and seed bread, down to the shop’s salad dressings and ketchup.
Taza Mediterranean Grill operates under the idea that food is the universal connector between people and cultures. Drawing inspiration from the small food establishments that pepper the Mediterranean, cooks indulge guests with everything from handpicked wine lists to fresh, oven-baked bread prepared for all to see. Of course, the restaurant's Mediterranean roots extend well past bread. Cooks roast the beef for their beef shawarma pita on a rotating skewer, and serve their New Zealand lamb chops with a cucumber and mint relish. The kitchen team also assembles vegetarian platters, complete with humous, tabbouli, falafel, and grape leaves.
As far as impulse buys go, it's hard to beat the Louisiana Purchase. That massive 19th-century land acquisition essentially doubled the size of the United States, but more importantly it paved the way for restaurants such as Belleville's Bayou Grill. Nearly everything at this Cajun haven smacks of New Orleans, from the party beads at the hostess stand to the gargantuan alligator parked on the roof. But the food is what really stands out here. The Cajun- and creole-inspired menu features everything from baked seafood platters to spicy jambalaya. French, Italian, and Spanish influences are easy to pick out, unlike the string of beads you might accidentally drop into a bowl of piping hot gumbo.
Friday-night dining at The Gathering is a gamble, where the only risk is overwhelming your pleasure receptors. That’s because chef Clinton Moore reinvents the buffet menu every week, catching taste buds by surprise with made-to-order pizzas, hearty pastas, or his signature jerk chicken wings slathered in the house’s secret sauce. After diners load their plates, they can admire the local artwork adorning the walls, and indulge their ears in the sweet notes of live musicians and sporadically appearing Oompa Loompas on Friday evenings. The same intimate, convivial ambiance can be experienced during Sunday brunch, when the aroma of freshly made omelets, Belgian waffles, and bacon permeates the dining room and lawn garden, which overlooks the river.