Climbing the ranks from second place on last year’s list, Mabel Gray has been named 2017 Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press. Restaurant critic Mark Kurlyandchik notably tweaked the process for how establishments are selected this time around by separating the Top 10 Best New Restaurants lists from the Restaurant of the Year category, allowing eateries that are more than a year old to qualify for the top slot. Kulyandchik writes of the Hazel Park restaurant:
You never know what you’re going to get, but you can be sure it’ll be impeccably sourced, carefully constructed, deliciously seasoned and delivered with fervent passion by a professional staff.
On the Best New Restaurants list, which rolled out between Sunday and Thursday, Katoi took the top honor. The critic reigns praise on the Corktown Southeast Asian-influenced eatery, noting:
It's hard to find a lackluster dish at Katoi with its tantalizing combo of sweet, salty, spicy, bitter and funky flavors, but the food goes down even easier thanks to inspired cocktails utilizing house-made tinctures made from Thai ingredients.
Katoi was joined by Grey Ghost in second place, Flowers of Vietnam in third, Parc in fourth, Chapman House in fifth, The Peterboro in sixth, Otus Supply in seventh, Ima in eighth, The Conserva in ninth, and SavannahBlue in the tenth slot.
Both Mabel Gray and Katoi have been racking up local and national praise. Mabel Gray was named one of the nation’s Best New Restaurants by Eater National in 2016, while chef James Rigato received Eater Detroit’s award for Chef of the Year last fall. The pint-sized eatery was also a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in 2016. Meanwhile, Katoi earned the title for Restaurant of the Year from Eater Detroit in 2016 and received a spot on Thrillist’s 12 Best New Restaurants in America 2016 list.
The pair join past Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year/Best New Restaurant winners including Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails and Selden Standard. If you thought it was already tough to score a seat at these spots, it’s about to get a whole lot harder.
• 2017 Restaurant of the Year: Mabel Gray [Freep]
• Best New Restaurant #1: Katoi, Detroit [Freep]
• All The Critics Coverage [ED]
• All Awards Season Coverage [ED]