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Inside Antihero, a Den of Dumplings and Bao

Scope out the izakaya-influenced interior and menu at the downtown Ferndale newcomer

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.

After four years of planning and delays, Antihero finally debuted on November 29 with izakaya vibes and Asian-influenced bar food in downtown Ferndale. The spot is the third project to spring from the minds at the Working Class Outlaws restaurant group, whose other establishments Imperial and Public House have each developed big followings.

Blond woods cover the interior of the 125-seat restaurant from the bar to the booths to the custom bar stools with cubbies for handbags and coats. The lighter tones are contrasted by dark walls, twig-embellished light fixtures, and eclectic art. Artist Glenn Barr created several pieces for the interior including a massive mural running along the back of the restaurant that was created offsite and installed in six separate pieces. It features a sci-fi motif of Japan and works in elements such as the owners’ favorite bar in Osaka, Jazz Bar Top Rank. The restrooms — an increasingly popular spot for restaurants and bars to add a bit of Instagrammable whimsy — also got an artist’s treatment with colorful murals by tattoo artist Kadee Spangler and visual artist Shaina Kasztelan.

In warmer weather, the restaurant will be able to retract the front panel of windows for a more open air feel. The restaurant plans to host DJs every night, Thursday through Sunday at a built-in DJ stand.

The opening of Antihero also marks the metro Detroit debut of a chef Nick Erven, who joined the Working Class Outlaws after making a name for himself at several well-regarded Los Angeles restaurants. Erven and his team have put together a menu that blends Japanese, Korean, and American flavors. The result is options like twice-dredged “chicken fried” tofu with soy-maple caramel, furikake, jalapeño, and cilantro and smoked brisket bao with chili-hoisin sauce. “It feels like eating like brisket and Wonder Bread in the best possible way,” Erven says of the dish. In addition to the bao and tofu, diners can look out for several dumpling options as well as bowls of ramen and udon. Don’t overlook the cook-your-own skewers with hibachi grills for the table.

Paired with the food is a funky menu made up of colorful cocktails, tapped cocktails from Michigan’s first Toki Suntory highball machine, and sake. Antihero is also importing the “caviar bump” to Ferndale; it’s a dollop of caviar paired with a shot of sparkling sake offered at market price.

Photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard visited Antihero to scope out the space and food. Take a peek around the restaurant and ogle the menu below.

The Food

Sliced scallop with yuzu, chia, olive oil, and cucumber.
“Chicken Fried” tofu with kewpie mayo, soy-maple caramel, jalapeno, furikake, and cilantro.
Smoked brisket buns with chili-hoisin, pickled radish, and butter lettuce.
Pork and shrimp dumplings with black vinegar, and sweet soy sauce.
Michelle and Chris Gerard
The Baked Alaska with matcha cake, passion fruit curd, black sesame ice cream, and toasted meringue.

The Drinks

Antihero features Michigan’s first Toki Suntory Highball Machine.
The Nightly Advice cocktail with sake, cognac, lychee, orange, dragon fruit, orchid, raspberry, lime, and yuzu.
The Harajuku On A Sunday with tequila, midori, orgeat, pineapple, and lemon.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

Antihero Food and Cocktails Menu

Antihero Sake Menu

Antihero is located at 231 W. Nine Mile; open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

Ferndale’s New Izakaya Debuts This Week With Ramen and Chicken Fried Tofu [ED]
Los Angeles Chef Jumps On Board at Antihero in Ferndale [ED]
All Antihero Coverage [ED]
All Openings Coverage [ED]
All Eater Inside Coverage [ED]


231 West Nine Mile Road, , MI 48220 (248) 307-7383 Visit Website

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