The sushi trend is so far past us, it’ll be touted as “retro” soon enough. Since sushi splashed onto the scene in the early 2000s, the US has made sushi its own, balancing Western excess and sushi’s minimalism with ingredients such as spicy tuna, crawfish, cream cheese, and brown rice. We’ve even created our own standard rolls: the rainbow roll, the spider roll, the dynamite roll, and of course, the california roll. Detroit sushi has its own cult favorite, but this roll skips the fish, and the restaurant that serves it isn’t even in Detroit.The RestaurantRoyal Oak’s Ronin is a darling of Detroit’s restaurant scene, a suburban stalwart that has survived the sushi onslaught since 2007. When Thrillist named it to its list of best suburban restaurants in Detroit, they raved about the “effortlessly cool and sexy space” and the sushi chef Kaku Usui, who Thrillist and others have named Michigan’s best sushi chef for his pure iterations of classic-style sushi as well as his never-before-seen sushi creations. On his menu you’ll find ahi tuna pizza, uni sliders, and maki rolls that incorporate ingredients such as pineapple tempura, baked shrimp, fried oysters, and garlic aioli.The Roll The most popular roll on Ronin’s menu, the one most mentioned on review sites, has a name that carries no hints as to what’s inside: the Mountain Dew roll. The only thing the name refers to is the color, actually. Instead of nori, the roll is wrapped in soy paper in a color best described as “spring green.” The soy paper’s not so much a departure from sushi tradition; it’s used both here and in Japan for the aesthetic appeal of its pretty pastels. However, it’s also a good alternative for those who don’t like the briny flavor of nori or are afraid it’ll take attention away from the other ingredients. Wrapped in that manenori and a spiral of sushi rice are three vegetables: asparagus, sweet potato, and shiitake mushroom. Great vegetables, sure: they’re tasty and nutrient-rich. But even that can’t account for the roll’s popularity. So maybe it’s how those veggies are prepared before they’re wrapped in the roll: tempura battered and deep fried. Who could resist? The RavesArea residents aren’t the only ones who are into this roll. Just about every publication or area business that’s written about Ronin mentions the Mountain Dew roll, hopefully signaling a sea change in how American sushi is thought about and presented. To wit:“Lovely, just lovely.” – Real Detroit Weekly“Try the Mountain Dew roll, it's a favorite.” – Detroit Trolley“Ronin … serves up decidedly un-'authentic' items like Ahi Tuna Pizza and Mountain Dew rolls.” – MetromodeSo What’s Next?What’s next for sushi, now that it’s settled into the American mainstream? If this roll from Ronin’s any clue, it’ll be much more polished than hot dogs atop sushi rice, that’s for sure. We’re thinking bolder flavors and more cooked ingredients—deep-fried veggies, grilled beef, and seared shellfish—served with richer sauces and in, of course, brighter colors.Photo courtesy of Take A MegabiteRead More
Epic Tavern & Grill
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Epic Tavern & Grill
Detroit’s urban-farming organizations believe in treating the city as an ecosystem, nurturing the bond between community gardens, downtown Detroit restaurants, and residents. By supporting the development of agriculture in blighted areas, these groups hope to create jobs and deepen individuals’ connections to the foods they eat. Here’s a look at five urban-farming organizations and some of the restaurants that support their causes. ACREIn a nutshell: The farm harvests more than 30 kinds of fruits and vegetables, specializing in growing rare heirloom varieties such as the cosmic purple carrot and the moon and stars watermelon.Restaurant partner: Astro Coffee uses some of ACRE’s organic produce to make its baked goods and sandwiches whenever possible. D-Town Farm In a nutshell: This 2-acre organic farm in Rouge Park was founded by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and grows crops including kale and tomatoes.Restaurant partner: In addition to buying D-Town Farm’s produce, Colors–Detroit supports the farm’s mission of empowerment by hiring unemployed community residents, providing valuable restaurant job training and work experience.Food FieldIn a nutshell: Situated on the site of the abandoned Peck Elementary School, the 4-acre Food Field features rows of sprouting vegetables, a fruit orchard, more than 50 egg-laying hens, honeybees, and a pond stocked with catfish and bluegill.Restaurant partner: Brooklyn Street Local supports its community while creating the smallest possible environmental footprint. To accomplish both goals, chefs use ingredients from urban farms, including Food Field, when preparing poutine, vegan breakfast scrambles, and other healthy comfort foods.Green Toe GardensIn a nutshell: Green Toe Gardens has created 100 beehives in urban farms, community gardens, and yards across the city and the inner-ring suburbs. Neighbors learn to harvest pure, raw honey and beeswax.Restaurant partner: The unpretentious diner-style menu at Rose’s Fine Food distinguishes itself by spotlighting ingredients from local producers and urban farms such as Green Toe Gardens.RecoveryPark FarmsIn a nutshell: RecoveryPark Farms transforms blighted areas into urban farmland. The ultimate goal is to create permanent jobs while supplying local restaurants with farm-fresh produce and helping residents become even more invested in their neighborhoods.Restaurant partner: Local flavors matter at Selden Standard. Just like at many of the best restaurants in Detroit, menus change regularly as chefs discover new and exciting ingredients from nearby farmers, ranchers, and artisans.Photo: IMG_1311.JPG by mercedesfromtheeighties under CC BY-SA 2.0.Read More
Among Detroit museums, there is no greater art collection in size, diversity, or historic scope than that of the Detroit Institute of Arts. And of the many things to do in Detroit, it’s near the top of the list. So how do you see it all in one visit? You don’t. But you can totally play the highlights reel. Read on for Groupon’s guide to a superior Saturday at the DIA.10 a.m.: Sightseeing requires energy, and maybe a pastry. After heading in the main entrance, continue straight down the main hallway and follow signs for Kresge Court. Pick up a Starbucks coffee, and then delve into the immediately adjacent Photography, Drawings, and Prints exhibits. Highlights: Michelangelo’s Studies for the Sistine Chapel, Charles Sheeler’s photograph Wheels.11 a.m.: The first floor also features collections from Africa, Egypt, Native American cultures, and Oceania. The museum is particularly known for its African arts, a nearly unparalleled diversity of works from more than one hundred African cultures. One highlight: the Asante royal gold soul-washer’s badge, recovered from the burial chamber of a 19th-century king.Noon: Sit down in CafeDIA to refuel with a sandwich or burger.1 p.m.: One final stop on the first floor: Asia and the Middle East. The Islamic collection has many diverse highlights, but a particular favorite is the Qur’an written on colored Chinese papers in the 15th century.2 p.m.: Head back to Kresge Court and take the stairs up to the Grand Gallery. To your left, you’ll find one of the most extensive collections of American paintings around. Check out Frederic Edwin Church’s Cotopaxi, an iconic landscape that exemplifies the style and skill of the Hudson Valley Painters.3 p.m.: Across the Grand Hall lies the European and Renaissance Gallery, and within, visitors will find many familiar names: Rembrandt, Bellini, Titian, and more. Ever wanted to see Rodin’s The Thinker? Here’s your chance. How about Van Gogh’s self portrait? Also within these walls.4 p.m.: Time to take in the Museum’s most famous exhibit. Head to the Rivera Court to see Mexican muralist Diego Rivera’s 27-piece series, Detroit Industry. Commissioned specifically for display in the museum, the murals reflect Detroit’s history and culture, while showcasing artistry that Rivera himself considered the finest of his career. At any point, stop by the nearby Azul Taco Bar for a bite to eat.5 p.m.: It’s time to make some decisions. Extensive Modern and Contemporary galleries contain sculpture, expressionist paintings, and multimedia art. For something less abstract, head up to the third floor to check out the furniture collection, featuring decor from Europe, America, and beyond.6 p.m.: It’s time to let your heart be your guide. Dig back into an exhibit you really enjoyed, or take in one of the galleries not mentioned in this guide; there are a few.7 p.m.: Go home, or at least back to the hotel. It’s been a long day.Read More