Rounding off an outstanding year, Al Ameer has reached another awards season milestone — a spot on the National Eater 38. Eater’s roving critic Bill Addison unveiled his annual list today, naming the country’s essential restaurants based on a year’s worth of eating.
For 27 years, Dearborn-based Lebanese eatery Al Ameer has been impressing diners with its exceptional stuffed lamb, mezze, and freshly made pitas. And the restaurant’s atmosphere and dishes were a highlight of Addison’s first visit to metro Detroit as Eater’s national critic and a place this Eater Detroit editor can contest he’s eagerly returned to (and brought friends) time and again.
On that first visit Addison says he was “smitten with the stuffed lamb — which in this case isn’t even really stuffed, but it’s lush, ropey chunks of lamb scattered with slivered almonds (or sometimes, even better, pine nuts) over rice with a side of yogurt on the side.” He continues, “That dish appeals directly to my personal tastes.” Since, that initial foray, Addison has returned to eat more in Dearborn and beyond and says that only cemented Al Ameer’s exceptionalism for him.
“From a food obsessive’s perspective, the greatness of Dearborn’s dining scene is that you can taste many of the fundamental dishes from Lebanon (and nearby countries) at so many different restaurants.” After trying many versions of the same dishes throughout the metro area, “Al Ameer, to my experience, has the most consistent, broadly pleasing food among Dearborn’s Lebanese restaurants — and offers the warmest hospitality,” he says.
Al Ameer is one of 17 new recruits to the 2016 list. Restaurants featured on the National 38 must have been opened for at least 18 months. “Both inclusion and exclusion ultimately always come down to the question of which restaurants feel most relevant right now — even if their relevance comes in the form of a certain timelessness,” Addison writes of his selection process.
This isn’t the first time Addison has bestowed praise on Al Ameer. The eatery, which was honored by the James Beard Foundation this year, served one of Addison’s favorite meat dishes of 2014. Al Ameer is the second local restaurant to have made Eater’s National 38. Now shuttered, Torino was named to the first edition back in 2015. Meanwhile, Mabel Gray is repping metro Detroit on Addison’s list of Best New Restaurants in America.
• All Al Ameer Coverage [ED]