Regardless of the fact that Ottava Via hasn't officially opened with a full menu, that has not stopped many of the city's food folks from visiting the former Michigan Ave. Dime Savings Bank and offering their take on the authentic Italian cuisine.
This week, the parade includes Jane Slaughter of the MetroTimes, who writes a positively gushing review of chef Ariel Millan's affordable and apparently tasty half-menu. She seems to have genuinely loved almost everything she tried at the restaurant, including the porchetta, which she calls 'the most sinful thing I've ever eaten' and also 'heavenly,' which seems like some kind of cross-cancellation of very different religious experiences. Like other reviewers, she notes that the space is elegantly outfitted and still not quite there (waiting on that bocce ball court out back), and admits that the full menu will probably provide new surprises.
But they're new, gosh darn it, and according to Slaughter, "already a star."
Meanwhile, up in Southfield, the Detroit News' Molly Abraham checks out another strip-mall setting this week with a dip into Southern Nosh, the vegan / vegetarian version of the regionally-popular Beans & Cornbread. Abraham admits that a meat-free take on southern cooking might not attract all comers, but she also takes the time to note "the clever use of spices and herbs to spark the flavor profile of such soy wheat protein-based entrees."
She spends a bit of time reminding her readers that the food at Southern Nosh doesn't include meat — did we mention it's a vegetarian restaurant? Because, it is. — but she still has nice things to say about the gumbo and collard greens (with hot sauce), even if she misses their sometimes-essential meaty elements.
If you need that animal-based protein in your meal, the weekly fish special could help out, not to mention the nearby original location of owner Patrick Coleman's Beans & Cornbread down the road. Like Coleman, Abraham seems amazed that a vegetarian restaurant would do so well so early in its lifespan, but she seems to have enjoyed herself, nevertheless.
· Ottava Via: More than Meatballs [MetroTimes]
· Southern Nosh Offers Authentic Soul Flavors - Without the Meat [DetNews]