What better way to celebrate 2017 than with paying homage to the top dishes of the year? 2017 was filled with a plethora of mouthwatering Detroit restaurants creating some really outstanding dishes. We had the rebirth of Takoi (formerly Katoi), the opening of the the highly anticipated Lady of the House, and Founders Brewing Co made their way to Midtown, but there are so many restaurants worth celebrating. This compilation of my top picks doesn’t just include Detroit and each dish was chosen for it’s ability to ignite my tastebuds, wow my palate, and connect with me in a way none other has this year. Check it!
V. Bagel Sandwich, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co, Midtown, Detroit, MI
There is something about the combination of a ripe, sweet tomato, creamy avocado, fresh cucumber, layered on top cream cheese, and a freshly baked jalapeno bagel. Top with a pinch of salt and pepper and this is my favorite way to start the day. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Really? A bagel sandwich? And the answer is yes! Simple, but powerful, this bagel sandwich is my comfort food and makes me happy every time I eat it. Great Lakes Coffee is also my go to when I need to get some writing done, want to chill out with some great coffee, or simply want to enjoy a light meal that always satisfies.
IV. Chaplin’s A.S.S (Asian, Spicy Sour) Ramen, Chaplin’s Restaurant & Bar, Washington, D.C
Next on 2017’s top eats is the ramen from Chaplin’s Restaurant & Bar. This ramen incorporated everything my tastebuds crave. Spicy, sour, tender, chicken, and a broth made from coconut milk, red chili, and lemongrass, cilantro, and scallions. The broth was so flavorful, spicy, sweet, and sour packed into every bite. The noodles were tender, with a slight chew and the sweet corn went well with the spice. I scarfed this down and as soon as I was finished, I immediately wanted more.
III. Paneer Makhani, Bombay Blues, St. Kitts, West Indies
Indian Cottage Cheese in a sweet, tomato, butter sauce. My trip to St. Kitts was obviously great because of the gorgeous beaches and warm weather in November, but what I didn’t expect was how amazing the food would be. One of my favorite dishes was the Paneer Makhani from Bombay Blues. Creamy, tangy, Sadly, this was my first Indian restaurant experience (better late than never, right), and it was great. I wasn’t sure about this butter sauce dish, I like to venture out and try the dishes that are different and unique and the butter sauce dishes are typically the most popular. However, this one proved to be a delectable choice. After all, the most popular dishes are popular for a reason!
II. Lobster, Mr. X’s Shiggity Shack, St. Kitts, West Indies
Fresh Caribbean Lobster takes the second spot for 2017’s top eats for obvious reasons. This lobster was amazing, fresh, and unlike any seafood I have tasted. It was clean and light (despite being covered in an alarming amount of clarified lemon butter). It wasn’t heavy and rich like that lobster I am used to. It’s not often that I indulge in lobster and I felt like a queen eating this. It felt good spurlging a little, especially because I knew this lobster was superior and it was reasonably priced. It was also served with the most delicious pumpkin I have ever tasted. It was slightly sweet like traditional squash I am used to, but the flavor can only be described as life changing. It was perfectly cooked, tender, with some texture. Mr. X’s Shiggity Shack is the best spot for authentic, homemade Caribbean food. Good prices and you can taste the quality in every bite.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The #1 pick for 2017 top eats goes to…….
I. Squid Ink Chittara, Selden Standard, Midtown, Detroit, MI
This dish takes the #1 spot for multiple reasons. First, I have never tasted anything like it. The flavors were so perfectly executed that it blew my mind. So much so that I requested the recipe so that I could enjoy this dish in the comforts of my own home, whenever the hell I want. Since Selden Standard rotates a seasonal menu, the thought of this option going away and never getting to taste it again sent me into a panic and I wasn’t taking any chances. Second, it’s a little weird. Black pasta made from squid ink? Yes, please! Last, each bite was better than the last. This dish beat the beef tartare which, up until now, was my favorite thing Selden Standard ever produced. Well done!
To wrap it up, it wasn’t easy picking just five dishes as the best in 21017. There were many that were exceptional, but these picks really meant something to me. Perhaps it was the experience, company, and emotional connection that went along with each one. Regardless of the reason, these dishes stood out to me. I am excited as well as anxious to see what 2018 brings. Things to look forward to: Cork and Gabel, a comfort food fusion restaurant blending Irish, German, and Italian flavors slated to open in the Spring in Corktown, Rocco’s Italian Deli, opening in the Cass Corridor in Midtown, and SheWolf Pastifico & Bar opening on the ground level of the new The Selden development next to Honest John’s, plus many more. Stay Tuned for more updates on new eats in the city!