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The Year’s Most Disappointing Detroit Restaurant Meals

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Let downs and meals that never happened

Calexico Detroit
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

As is tradition at Eater, we close out the year by surveying local food writers and our own staff on various restaurant-related topics, and we'll be publishing their responses throughout the week. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts below. Next question: What was your most disappointing meal of 2016?

Aaron Foley, Editor, BLAC Magazine:

Don’t hate me, but I wasn’t feeling Katoi at all. I forgot what I had to drink, but I remember I paid too much for it. And I thought the sticky ribs and rice were kinda meh. Everyone always gets a second chance, though, so I’ll give them another try.

Serena Maria Daniels, Dining Editor, Metro Times:

I really did not enjoy the mushroom quesadilla roll at Calexico.

Dorothy Hernandez, Managing Editor, Hour Detroit (co-owner of Sarap Detroit):

I don’t want to slam people by naming names so I’ll just say bad tacos and mojitos from a pre-made mix somewhere in Michigan.

Melody Baetens, Features Reporter and Bar/Restaurant Columnist, Detroit News:

The one meal that never was. I walked into a new Royal Oak restaurant to check it out for the first time and was greeted by the host with “hope you aren’t hungry! We closed the kitchen early because we were overwhelmed.” Guess what? We were hungry.

John Reyes, Ann Arbor Contributor, Eater Detroit:

The Chop House. Why do people still go to steakhouses? I can think of better birthday celebrations than an average steak with uninspired (and poorly executed) sides for $150 a person.

Lexi Trimpe, Food Writer, Freelance/Hour Detroit:

While I hate to name names when it comes to less-than-fantastic meals (we all know a variety of factors impact service and quality), I will say some restaurants which rose to high esteem in the past couple of years have begun to sink into complacency. There’s nothing more disappointing that going to a restaurant with fantastic reviews and getting a middle-of-the-road meal. Keep up the high standards beyond the first year, please!

Kat Rembacki, Editor, Core Detroit:

I was really excited to see Rusted Crow open downtown, but my experience there was a bit of a bummer. The food was actually good but the service just didn’t measure up.

Mark Kurlyandchik, Restaurant Critic, Detroit Free Press:

It was a soft opening, so I'm not going to name names. You've got to cut places some slack when they're just getting started. It often takes a little while to find a groove. But if I go back a couple months later and the kinks are still there, then it's fair game for public criticism.

Seoung Lee, Social Media Influencer, Chow Down Detroit:

None that I can think of.

Nick Britsky, Cocktail Expert, Freelance:

Central Kitchen was such a bummer. There was a lot of hype and the space looked amazing but I was completely underwhelmed by the execution of the food and the creativity on the drink list.

Brenna Houck, Editor, Eater Detroit:

I have mixed feelings about Calexico. The service and food was fine and the design of the space felt comfortable, but the presentation didn’t seem to match the price. I felt like I could get something better elsewhere. Was it the worst meal I’ve ever had? Certainly not and I can see how the style of food would suit the location. Another personal quibble: If a “rolled quesadilla” is essentially a burrito, call it a burrito or call it a quesadilla. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

All Year in Eater Coverage [ED]