Harvest - Traverse City, MI
Harvest reminds me of the 2014 movie Chefs with Jon Favreau. You know? The movie where Favreau goes a little crazy, gets himself a food truck, makes delicious food and lives happily ever after. I don't know if Simon went a little crazy, but I'm sure hoping that they have a happily ever after because their food is awesome. These guys are changing up what eating is and how you see food AND more importantly they are having a lot of fun doing it.
Trizest - Troy, Michigan
This is not your mama’s Chinese (read: American) restaurant. In fact, if you're white, you'll be the only white person in the joint. This is a Szechwan restaurant by the folks who created spicy for the folks who love it. And it changed my definition of “good Chinese” forever. My usual experience goes like this: “Can you please make it extra spicy?” They say “sure,” but the execution tastes just like mild. I had almost given up when Trizest was recommended by a Mandarin friend as THE authentic place to go in the Metro Detroit Area. So I headed over and fell in love. Everything I ordered felt a little TOO spicy to me, but it actually increased my tolerance and love for truly spicy cuisine. Like any perfect meal, heat alone is not enough- complexity added through other flavors is a must in order to rise in the ranks to truly memorable. I remember cumin and smoky flavors, whole peppers and a variety of crunchy vegetables. You’ll want to be adventurous and order based on reviews as I did. Or you can ask the staff what their personal favorites are- the two I asked did not steer me wrong. Here are my favorites:
I’ve written some reviews putting down Americanized Chinese and hailing the authentic places. However, sometimes you just need a solid sweet and sour chicken, or hanker for an almond chicken done just the way you remember from your childhood. And when you do have this craving, it can be very difficult to find a place that does it right- not too much grease (though not too little), with the flavors you remember and fresh quality that won’t offend your adult foodie sensibilities. LC’s Kitchen accomplishes these checkpoints well, and even though I discovered them because my mom ordered take-out (they live a couple of blocks away), I’ve been back on my own and will drive a little farther to enjoy the goodness over the other Chinese places by my house.
LC’s has a few characteristics I have to laud: First, when I asked for extra spicy, they actually added extra spice that I could detect. This is incredibly rare in a Chinese restaurant, and wins points and return visits from me in its own right. Second, their vegetables are fresh and their meat tastes tender and high quality. Even their fried food isn’t swimming in grease, which makes their Americanized choices a fine way to go instead of an afterthought, like many more authentic Chinese restaurants. I usually enjoy the Szechuan chicken, and share with my friend who gets the almond chicken. Egg drop soup, wonton soup and egg rolls- usual suspects, but still necessary accompaniments (all good). If it’s in your neighborhood, go for your next craving.
LC's Kitchen Website
Sy Thai - Troy, Michigan
It’s a little bit of a shame that I’m reviewing this place AFTER my actual trip to Thailand, but also a testament to the quality that I know I’ll return. Thai food is on most foodies “constant craving” lists, and I’m no different. It’s hard to find a place that sets itself apart, because I’m sorry, but a lot of pad thai tastes exactly the same. And red curries, though always good, are pretty standard. I must add that the best I’ve had in all categories are all blown away by my actual trip to Thailand, a foodie’s paradise. However, Sy Thai just does these items better than most in the Detroit area. I don’t usually order pad thai anymore, but it’s hard to visit Sy Thai without getting theirs because they have the flavor balance down: Spicy enough without being too spicy (rare to find a “medium spicy” that is consistently that, every time!) Sweet, nutty and citrusy rounds out the profile. I always add veggies. My only comment is about the meat- there never seems to be enough chicken and/ or shrimp, which is essential because the next day I find myself eating a bunch of veggies and wishing for more shrimp.
Their menu has lots of items others don’t: Crispy fish being on the list of things I’d like to try that I loved in Thailand. I have to mention their Hot and Sour soup- included when you sit in instead of take out. It’s divine. I was really sad when I realized that this soup is alternated with their cabbage soup, which I haven’t tried… but I will only sit in on Hot and Sour soup days because it’s that delicious. To sum up- Sy Thai is a chain, and it’s more expensive than most Thai restaurants. But you will notice the freshness and flavor balance, and the fact that you still have leftovers, which is a requirement of any Thai restaurant. And you might have to come back as a result, which is also true of me.
Sy Thai's Website
Siam Spicy - Royal Oak, Michigan
I remember eating at this place years ago and liking them. I now don't live as close and Sy Thai is so close... excuses, excuses I know. It wasn't amazing, but it wasn't a place I would write off my eating list.
I really just want to say I loved their pork fried wontons and sweet and sour dip. You can stop in for an appetizer snack and a drink. Mantra in Koh Samui, Thailand had some similar snacks and now I just want to sit around and eat crackling pork and wontons. Thailand... you ruined me. :)
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.