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 Époque–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 Metro Times and 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.
According to The Big Salad, there are more than 17 million gustatory possibilities, and a quick look at their build-your-own salad menu makes it clear they aren't exaggerating. Customers start by selecting their base greens—baby spinach, iceberg, or romaine lettuce. Next, they choose up to seven toppings from options including artichoke hearts, black olives, edamame, sliced beets, mandarin oranges, and unlimited oxygen molecules. Folks can the build in flavor layers with five kinds of cheese, seven sorts of dried toppings, and more than two dozen dressings including sesame ginger, chardonnay chenin blanc, Mexican ventural, and blueberry pomegranate. For salad-weary guests, the shop extends their democratic process to their wraps, and offers a pre-designed selection of sandwiches ranging from a Thanksgiving sandwich to a meat lover's classic italian.
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.