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Nashville hot chicken tenders and sliders, plus fries and mac & cheese, on the menu at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

The Hottest New Restaurants in Detroit, November 2021

The restaurants creating a buzz are serving hot chicken, succulent sushi, southern brunch, and homemade Italian

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Surprisingly, a number of great restaurants have opened — and even found ways to thrive — during the pandemic. The restaurant industry is if nothing else, creative and resilient, and the newest restaurants are prime examples. Below, is a guide to some of the most impressive newcomers to metro Detroit’s dining scene, offering a mix of outdoor seating, indoor dining, delivery, and takeout. They include farm-to-table dining serving rabbit and goat, spaghetti and hot perch in District Detroit, and restaurants with celebrity backing.

COVID restrictions have eased and diners are back again. Please, be kind, thank the servers, and remember to tip well. It’s been a challenging year.

Dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. For updated information on coronavirus cases, visit the state of Michigan’s coronavirus tracker or check the most recent guidance from the CDC.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Dave’s Hot Chicken

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22208 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48124

The line at Dave’s Hot Chicken, the scrappy late-night LA pop-up turned mega-hit hot chicken spot, was more than an hour long on opening day in late October. Besides hot tenders and sliders, the celebrity-backed spot serves sides of house-made kale slaw, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, and crispy seasoned French fries. The chicken spiciness is adjusted to the customer’s taste, starting at “no spice” and cranking up to the ominous-sounding “reaper” (which requires a signed waiver for those who dare).

Hot chicken tenders and sliders, plus fries and mac & cheese sides from Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

2. The Goblin Detroit

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2547 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 502-5788
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Two buddies from Seoul are now serving up excellent sushi and affordable rice balls in Detroit after success in the suburbs for the last few years. The bright-and-colorful new location, which resembles its sister restaurant in Clinton Township, is reminiscent of a South Korean coffee house. Those who can’t go in can catch a live stream of activity in the kitchen and dining room.

3. Shelby

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607 Shelby St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 444-6626
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Tucked in the basement of a 10-story office building inside an old bank vault, chefs Matt Tulpa and John Yelinek created dishes for a menu that mirrors the old-meets-new vibe of the design at this cocktail bar/restaurant. For instance, Shelby’s lamb shoulder is rubbed with ground dried shrimp with chile flakes before it’s seared. A vegetarian version of escargot called the Escar-no is made using cremini mushrooms, parsley breadcrumbs, and mushroom bouillon. Like the food, classic cocktails from the bar have a modern twist. Order off the a la carte menu or choose the prix-fixe meal.

A dark restaurant dining room with a few booths on the right, tables on the left, and a bank vault at the back.
The restaurant and cocktail bar is tucked in the basement of a 10-story office building inside an old bank vault.
Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

4. Sloppy Crab Restaurant

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519 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 656-4820
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After successfully running Sloppy Chops, a popular fine-dining venue serving lobster macaroni and cheese, bourbon-glazed pork chops, and blackened chicken sandwiches on the west side, Chef Al opened Sloppy Crab in October 2021. Situated in a prime spot on Jefferson, across from the RenCen, Sloppy Crab serves entrees with seafood at the center: blackened salmon, lobster shrimp scampi, and the fried lobster tacos that are popular at Sloppy Chops.

5. Supergeil

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2442 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 462-4133

Supergeil, which just landed in Corktown, specializes in Berlin-style döner kebabs and tinned seafood (sardines, tuna, mackerel, and mussels). It’s owned by David Landrum of Two James Spirits, which has a distillery and tasting room across the street, so unsurprisingly, cocktails also are a draw. The two-page drink menu includes ciders, wine and beer along with a list of gin and tonics that can be enjoyed at its 4 p.m. happy hour.

6. Detroit Beer Exchange

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1260 Washington Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 638-2361
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The owner behind Kalamazoo Beer Exchange has brought a stock-market bar to downtown Detroit, where beer costs fluctuate like stock prices. In addition to beer, there are appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and desserts, and a weekend brunch.

7. Mister Dips

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19 E Grand River Ave, Parkers Alley
Detroit, MI 48226

This griddle-style burger spot by New York-based NoHo Hospitality opened its first location outside of NYC in Parker’s Alley downtown. For vegetarians, there’s the Impossible Dip, featuring a plant-based Impossible burger patty, plus a tomato slice and sprouts. There also are waffle fries and Dairy Dips, their sweet soft-serve ice cream cones that come in several flavors. The restaurant also serves Dipsy Doozy (described as a “thick-aaazz shake”), and adult-only Boozy Doozy shakes, along with a few tapped beers.

8. Mom's Spaghetti

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2131 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 888-8388
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There have been lines out the door since the opening of Mom’s Spaghetti, Eminem’s District Detroit restaurant that serves, well, spaghetti. The name for the restaurant, of course, comes from the unforgettable opening lines of Em’s “Lose Yourself” — “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy/There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.”

9. Union Assembly

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2131 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 800-5173
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Union Assembly is Union Joints’ (Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Garage) first restaurant in the city of Detroit. The restaurant group is known for its comfort food, and it brings that to the city in a more upscale fashion (think roasted cauliflower steak, fried perch sandwich, pan-roasted salmon). There’s also traditional game-day fare in this massive multilevel space in a prime spot across from Comerica Park.

The outside patio has sofas, stools that face a bar that also opens inside, and has a view of Comerica Park Gerard +Belevender

10. Barda

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4842 Grand River Ave
Detroit, MI 48208
(313) 952-5182
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Argentinian restaurant Barda, from chef Javier Bardauil, features dishes grilled on an open fire and created with ingredients sourced locally, or imported from Argentina. Bardauil (nicknamed Barda), a native of Buenos Aires, and co-owner Ignacio Gerson say the restaurant is the first and only Argentinian-inspired restaurant in the city. Menu items include glazed beets with ajoblanco and raspberries, chorizo Argentino with fennel and lemon, tira de asado short rib with pepper-coriander crust, and carne y hueso with bone marrow, beef tartare and horseradish served with toast.

Glazed beets with ajoblanco and raspberries are in a dish Emma Sandler

11. Mumma Maria's House

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8122 Kercheval Ave
Detroit, MI 48214
(586) 222-4754
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Throughout their 30 years of marriage, Sunday dinner was always a passion of Maria and Carl Giordano and their six children. After Maria passed in 2018, Carl wanted to keep her spirit alive and continue sharing the food with friends and family in this house-turned-restaurant in Detroit’s West Village. Try his famous meatballs, Maria’s ammoglio sauce, ribs, or the homemade pasta and meat sauce. It’s all magical. Please call ahead.

12. Joe Louis Southern Kitchen

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6549 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 788-8338
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Named for the famous late Detroit boxer, this restaurant by his namesake serves all-day brunch seven days. The menu features southern favorites, including cinnamon roll flapjacks, bananas foster French toast, bread pudding, key lime pie flapjacks, shrimp and grits, and Joe Louis’s favorite, country fried steak cheese grits.

Two slices of French toast, halved, topped with peaches and accompanied by whipped cream dollops
Peach cobbler French toast
Joe Louis Southern Kitchen courtesy photo

13. Oak & Reel

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2921 E Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 270-9600
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After nearly two decades away from home, including time at Marea in New York, chef Jared Gadbaw returns and sets up shop in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction. His newcomer offers contemporary Italian dining with a focus on seafood. Sauces, pasta, seafood, meat, wine, and pantry items like salt-packed capers are also available for purchase online. Reservations are highly encouraged.

A halibut steak with seven tiny red peppers on top and mushrooms encircling the halibut on a plate. A hand pours sauce from a jar onto the plate.
The halibut steak is served with red peppers and mushrooms.
Karmen Wettlin/Oak and Reel

14. Motor City Brewing Works-Livernois

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13950 Livernois
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 832-2700
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MCBW established the city’s first microbrewery on Canfield Avenue in 1994. This new outpost builds on the owner’s desire for a comfortable neighborhood gathering spot. The staples on the beer list include Ghettoblaster Ale and Lager, Honey Porter, Nut Brown Ale, an American-style Pale Ale, an IPA and its small-batch hard cider. The food menu features unfussy but fresh and shareable items, like the Banh Mi Oh My sandwich, vegetarian “beef” nachos, and a full line of brick-oven pizzas.

An aerial view of the dining room at Motor City Brewing shows dining room with patrons sitting at tables. The hardwood floors have been sanded and polished to a shine.
Owner John Linardos shored up the exposed wooden roof beams and repaired bricks, windows, and the fieldstone fireplace. The hardwood floors have been sanded and polished to a shine. 
Konrad Maziarz

15. Imaginate Restaurant

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401 S Lafayette Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 633-8899
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Chef Omar Mitchell returns to the fine-dining scene after the closing of his short-lived but much-loved Table No. 2 restaurant on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion. Now, he’s in Royal Oak with another fine-dining spot that employs theatrical 3-D projection mapping at the 14-seat chef’s table. The result: Diners will see a thumb-size chef rustle up virtual steaks right on their plates. Besides steak, the menu features caviar, duck, and grouper.

16. Sozai Restaurant

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449 W 14 Mile Rd
Clawson, MI 48017
(248) 677-3232
Visit Website

This new Japanese restaurant focuses on sustainable sushi from Hajime Sato. Moving right down the block from the beloved Noble Fish might be seen as risky but Sato’s former Seattle-based eatery Mashiko “defined the sustainable sushi movement in the city.” Sato recently relocated here and his menu does justice to Great Lakes seafood and sustainability.

17. Madam

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298 S Old Woodward Ave
Birmingham, MI 48009
(248) 283-4200
Visit Website

Swanky Madam arrived earlier this year, inside the Daxton Hotel in Birmingham. Located on the ground floor, Madam serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and brunch on the weekends. The seasonal menu from chef Garrison Price has featured appetizers like spring pea hummus with seeded crackers, baby artichokes, and mushroom dumplings alongside entrees such as steelhead trout and tagliolini neri with New Zealand cockles. Desserts at Madam lean decadent with items such as an orange creamsicle, rhubarb layer cake for two, and a chocolate custard and hazelnut praline tart.

18. Sylvan Table

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1819 Inverness St
Sylvan Lake, MI 48320
(248) 369-3360
Visit Website

Sylvan Table opened in a 300-year-old Maine barn, serving rustic, elevated, multicultural cuisine (fish, rabbit, goat) made from seasonal ingredients sourced from its backyard and local partners. The farm-to-fork restaurant looks to source from what’s on its three surrounding acres: Rows of growing table grapes are outside the property, as are beehive boxes; a chicken coop; apple, pear, plum, and Michigan kiwi fruit trees; and greenhouse growing green vegetables.

1. Dave’s Hot Chicken

22208 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48124
Hot chicken tenders and sliders, plus fries and mac & cheese sides from Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

The line at Dave’s Hot Chicken, the scrappy late-night LA pop-up turned mega-hit hot chicken spot, was more than an hour long on opening day in late October. Besides hot tenders and sliders, the celebrity-backed spot serves sides of house-made kale slaw, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, and crispy seasoned French fries. The chicken spiciness is adjusted to the customer’s taste, starting at “no spice” and cranking up to the ominous-sounding “reaper” (which requires a signed waiver for those who dare).

22208 Michigan Ave
Dearborn, MI 48124

2. The Goblin Detroit

2547 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216

Two buddies from Seoul are now serving up excellent sushi and affordable rice balls in Detroit after success in the suburbs for the last few years. The bright-and-colorful new location, which resembles its sister restaurant in Clinton Township, is reminiscent of a South Korean coffee house. Those who can’t go in can catch a live stream of activity in the kitchen and dining room.

2547 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216

3. Shelby

607 Shelby St, Detroit, MI 48226
A dark restaurant dining room with a few booths on the right, tables on the left, and a bank vault at the back.
The restaurant and cocktail bar is tucked in the basement of a 10-story office building inside an old bank vault.
Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

Tucked in the basement of a 10-story office building inside an old bank vault, chefs Matt Tulpa and John Yelinek created dishes for a menu that mirrors the old-meets-new vibe of the design at this cocktail bar/restaurant. For instance, Shelby’s lamb shoulder is rubbed with ground dried shrimp with chile flakes before it’s seared. A vegetarian version of escargot called the Escar-no is made using cremini mushrooms, parsley breadcrumbs, and mushroom bouillon. Like the food, classic cocktails from the bar have a modern twist. Order off the a la carte menu or choose the prix-fixe meal.

607 Shelby St
Detroit, MI 48226

4. Sloppy Crab Restaurant

519 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

After successfully running Sloppy Chops, a popular fine-dining venue serving lobster macaroni and cheese, bourbon-glazed pork chops, and blackened chicken sandwiches on the west side, Chef Al opened Sloppy Crab in October 2021. Situated in a prime spot on Jefferson, across from the RenCen, Sloppy Crab serves entrees with seafood at the center: blackened salmon, lobster shrimp scampi, and the fried lobster tacos that are popular at Sloppy Chops.

519 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

5. Supergeil

2442 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216

Supergeil, which just landed in Corktown, specializes in Berlin-style döner kebabs and tinned seafood (sardines, tuna, mackerel, and mussels). It’s owned by David Landrum of Two James Spirits, which has a distillery and tasting room across the street, so unsurprisingly, cocktails also are a draw. The two-page drink menu includes ciders, wine and beer along with a list of gin and tonics that can be enjoyed at its 4 p.m. happy hour.

2442 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216

6. Detroit Beer Exchange

1260 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

The owner behind Kalamazoo Beer Exchange has brought a stock-market bar to downtown Detroit, where beer costs fluctuate like stock prices. In addition to beer, there are appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and desserts, and a weekend brunch.

1260 Washington Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

7. Mister Dips

19 E Grand River Ave, Parkers Alley, Detroit, MI 48226

This griddle-style burger spot by New York-based NoHo Hospitality opened its first location outside of NYC in Parker’s Alley downtown. For vegetarians, there’s the Impossible Dip, featuring a plant-based Impossible burger patty, plus a tomato slice and sprouts. There also are waffle fries and Dairy Dips, their sweet soft-serve ice cream cones that come in several flavors. The restaurant also serves Dipsy Doozy (described as a “thick-aaazz shake”), and adult-only Boozy Doozy shakes, along with a few tapped beers.

19 E Grand River Ave, Parkers Alley
Detroit, MI 48226

8. Mom's Spaghetti

2131 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

There have been lines out the door since the opening of Mom’s Spaghetti, Eminem’s District Detroit restaurant that serves, well, spaghetti. The name for the restaurant, of course, comes from the unforgettable opening lines of Em’s “Lose Yourself” — “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy/There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.”

2131 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

9. Union Assembly

2131 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
The outside patio has sofas, stools that face a bar that also opens inside, and has a view of Comerica Park Gerard +Belevender

Union Assembly is Union Joints’ (Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Garage) first restaurant in the city of Detroit. The restaurant group is known for its comfort food, and it brings that to the city in a more upscale fashion (think roasted cauliflower steak, fried perch sandwich, pan-roasted salmon). There’s also traditional game-day fare in this massive multilevel space in a prime spot across from Comerica Park.

2131 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

10. Barda

4842 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48208
Glazed beets with ajoblanco and raspberries are in a dish Emma Sandler

Argentinian restaurant Barda, from chef Javier Bardauil, features dishes grilled on an open fire and created with ingredients sourced locally, or imported from Argentina. Bardauil (nicknamed Barda), a native of Buenos Aires, and co-owner Ignacio Gerson say the restaurant is the first and only Argentinian-inspired restaurant in the city. Menu items include glazed beets with ajoblanco and raspberries, chorizo Argentino with fennel and lemon, tira de asado short rib with pepper-coriander crust, and carne y hueso with bone marrow, beef tartare and horseradish served with toast.

4842 Grand River Ave
Detroit, MI 48208

11. Mumma Maria's House

8122 Kercheval Ave, Detroit, MI 48214

Throughout their 30 years of marriage, Sunday dinner was always a passion of Maria and Carl Giordano and their six children. After Maria passed in 2018, Carl wanted to keep her spirit alive and continue sharing the food with friends and family in this house-turned-restaurant in Detroit’s West Village. Try his famous meatballs, Maria’s ammoglio sauce, ribs, or the homemade pasta and meat sauce. It’s all magical. Please call ahead.

8122 Kercheval Ave
Detroit, MI 48214

12. Joe Louis Southern Kitchen

6549 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Two slices of French toast, halved, topped with peaches and accompanied by whipped cream dollops
Peach cobbler French toast
Joe Louis Southern Kitchen courtesy photo

Named for the famous late Detroit boxer, this restaurant by his namesake serves all-day brunch seven days. The menu features southern favorites, including cinnamon roll flapjacks, bananas foster French toast, bread pudding, key lime pie flapjacks, shrimp and grits, and Joe Louis’s favorite, country fried steak cheese grits.

6549 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

13. Oak & Reel

2921 E Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202
A halibut steak with seven tiny red peppers on top and mushrooms encircling the halibut on a plate. A hand pours sauce from a jar onto the plate.
The halibut steak is served with red peppers and mushrooms.
Karmen Wettlin/Oak and Reel

After nearly two decades away from home, including time at Marea in New York, chef Jared Gadbaw returns and sets up shop in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction. His newcomer offers contemporary Italian dining with a focus on seafood. Sauces, pasta, seafood, meat, wine, and pantry items like salt-packed capers are also available for purchase online. Reservations are highly encouraged.

2921 E Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48202

14. Motor City Brewing Works-Livernois

13950 Livernois, Detroit, MI 48221
An aerial view of the dining room at Motor City Brewing shows dining room with patrons sitting at tables. The hardwood floors have been sanded and polished to a shine.
Owner John Linardos shored up the exposed wooden roof beams and repaired bricks, windows, and the fieldstone fireplace. The hardwood floors have been sanded and polished to a shine. 
Konrad Maziarz

MCBW established the city’s first microbrewery on Canfield Avenue in 1994. This new outpost builds on the owner’s desire for a comfortable neighborhood gathering spot. The staples on the beer list include Ghettoblaster Ale and Lager, Honey Porter, Nut Brown Ale, an American-style Pale Ale, an IPA and its small-batch hard cider. The food menu features unfussy but fresh and shareable items, like the Banh Mi Oh My sandwich, vegetarian “beef” nachos, and a full line of brick-oven pizzas.

13950 Livernois
Detroit, MI 48221

15. Imaginate Restaurant

401 S Lafayette Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067

Chef Omar Mitchell returns to the fine-dining scene after the closing of his short-lived but much-loved Table No. 2 restaurant on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion. Now, he’s in Royal Oak with another fine-dining spot that employs theatrical 3-D projection mapping at the 14-seat chef’s table. The result: Diners will see a thumb-size chef rustle up virtual steaks right on their plates. Besides steak, the menu features caviar, duck, and grouper.

401 S Lafayette Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067

Related Maps

16. Sozai Restaurant

449 W 14 Mile Rd, Clawson, MI 48017

This new Japanese restaurant focuses on sustainable sushi from Hajime Sato. Moving right down the block from the beloved Noble Fish might be seen as risky but Sato’s former Seattle-based eatery Mashiko “defined the sustainable sushi movement in the city.” Sato recently relocated here and his menu does justice to Great Lakes seafood and sustainability.

449 W 14 Mile Rd
Clawson, MI 48017

17. Madam

298 S Old Woodward Ave, Birmingham, MI 48009

Swanky Madam arrived earlier this year, inside the Daxton Hotel in Birmingham. Located on the ground floor, Madam serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and brunch on the weekends. The seasonal menu from chef Garrison Price has featured appetizers like spring pea hummus with seeded crackers, baby artichokes, and mushroom dumplings alongside entrees such as steelhead trout and tagliolini neri with New Zealand cockles. Desserts at Madam lean decadent with items such as an orange creamsicle, rhubarb layer cake for two, and a chocolate custard and hazelnut praline tart.

298 S Old Woodward Ave
Birmingham, MI 48009

18. Sylvan Table

1819 Inverness St, Sylvan Lake, MI 48320

Sylvan Table opened in a 300-year-old Maine barn, serving rustic, elevated, multicultural cuisine (fish, rabbit, goat) made from seasonal ingredients sourced from its backyard and local partners. The farm-to-fork restaurant looks to source from what’s on its three surrounding acres: Rows of growing table grapes are outside the property, as are beehive boxes; a chicken coop; apple, pear, plum, and Michigan kiwi fruit trees; and greenhouse growing green vegetables.

1819 Inverness St
Sylvan Lake, MI 48320

Related Maps