Bastones - Royal Oak, Michigan
Alright, European-fusion or American-New I don't know, but what I do know is that Bastones has good pomme frites. That really should be all that you need to know to stop in. Their food is good. I have sampled a variety of their sandwiches and appetizers. But to be honest, I really just like their fries and potato soup. Is that weird? I basically will stop in to get those two items and drink.
Royal Oak locals love this place, but a great majority of Royal Oak locals never leave Royal Oak. So (I'm going to generalize), but they love places like Oak City Grille, Black Finn, and Tequila Blue. I won't even ever bother reviewing those places because I don't frequent there. Have I been there? Of course, I checked them out. Can't make an assessment until you go. But do I like them? Ehhhh... I just can't go places where the men spend more time on their wardrobe and hair than I do and the women have fried themselves at the tanning bed and wore their best stilettos just to meet up with a man that's prettier than them wearing an Ed Hardy shirt and fist pounding the air. Ha! I just like more low-key places where you can actually hear the people you are with. At some of the places the food is quite good, but I can get cheaper versions of the food at my local Chilis/Applebees.
Ok, back to Bastones. It's not my favorite place, but if a friend wants to meet after work for a drink here I won't refuse. However, I wouldn't go back on my own free will.
I was excited when this place opened. I thought, "good! Bastones is finally utilizing their space and are opening an awesome microbrew place!" So, I scheduled a time after work one day to go check it out on their happy hour down time. I honestly was first caught by their clean website and nicely done logo (graphics nerd alert), but disliked that they still have their cafehabana.com domain. Come on guys, go buy the domain and then redirect. Ok. non-food rant over.
They have a wide variety of belgian beers to choose from, which I can't have since they aren't gluten-free, but beer lovers will enjoy new beers that aren't at the other local watering holes. From the descriptions of their food one would think this is a goto place every week. Mussels, burgers, mac and cheeses, waffle sandwiches!@#@(! With descriptions like, "Pork belly, house made tasso ham, bacon pancetta, spiced bbq sauce..." who has time to think about going anywhere else. This obviously is the right choice to go to...
THEN you go there. You order. You taste and you feel a little sadness in your heart. The wonderful descriptions that made your mouth water suddenly left you with deep deep food regrets. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they were off that day (They only had two customers - me being one of them). Maybe they were still fixing the kinks and they weren't quite ready for customers. I mean Rock City Eatery was kind of like that. But I knew that Rock City Eatery was going to be great if they fixed their sh*t. But I'm not so sure about Beer Monk. I think that they will always be an OK place. The ahi tuna burger was overcooked (super dry) and the flavors didn't quite mesh well together. The hummus and kimchi didn't really work. Maybe try something pickled and keep the siracha mayo? Then there were the sliders. You can pick any three from the main burgers and have a mini version of them (Char-grilled elk, maytag bleu cheese and pancetta with French fried onions, hand-pattied Belgian Blue beef, barbecued pork belly, cheddar, apple slaw and Hand-pattied Belgian Blue beef with housemade bacon, edam). The best one of the burgers was the regular belgian blue beef with bacon. All the other burgers were overcooked and again their flavors didn't mesh well. I think the items were made to go together, but something went wrong in the execution. The pork should be tender and moist. It doesn't really need the cheddar hiding the BBQ and the apple slaw. That is, if it's good. The grilled elk was really dry so I can't make an accurate assessment of what it would taste like because I stopped eating it. The fries were fine. They come from bastones and they are made on the regular. It's really hard to mess up fries unless they are drenched in grease, ridiculously over salted and cold. So that went well.
I haven't been back to BMA. Maybe I will someday, but it's not looking good in the near future.
Beer Monk'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. :)
First and best double fried Korean chicken for me. Their soy garlic is a must! It beats out Seoul Street in Ann Arbor for best chicken. Please be aware that this isn’t KFC: If you want fast chicken, call ahead and order. It takes around 25-30 minutes because it’s made fresh for you when you order, and is double fried. It’s worth the wait! Hot, juicy, moist meat… and you’ll be shocked at the size of those drums. I love it spicy, but skip their spicy wings and add spicy sauce to their soy garlic flavor, which is phenomenal and bold. The other YES food is the kimchi fries. I’ve always wanted to like kimchi, but never really got into it- before these fries, which also have a spicy drizzle of yum on top. You want to go here soon, because you’ll really want this tiny place on Catalpa in Royal Oak to succeed- they took a big chance and they deserve some props for unique food.
Cafe Muse - Royal Oak, Michigan
Alright, well I don't want to waste my time on this review. I am just not a fan of Cafe Muse. I used to go here when I was new to Royal Oak because they have tons of reviews and everyone says they are good. I think they do have good food and it photographs well. Meaning that whoever is putting it together knows how to plate it. Yes, Oprah Winfrey said the grilled cheese was amazeballs. Cool.
I just don't think it lives up to the hype. For some reason (this is my own peev), I just don't like the seating of it. It doesn't feel comfortable to me. I don't mind being crammed into a small restaurant. There are plenty of small restaurants I love such as Monty's Grill. If you've been there you know what I mean... it's smaller than small.
It's hard for me to eat here because they don't have gluten-free options. They used to have a hash. I think it was a special at the time I went, but they don't always have it. They should make it a permanent menu dish. Cafe Muse to me just seems like they are just making it on their old rep alone. We have so many other excellent brunch places in the area. I don't know why one would waste time (they normally have a wait) and money on this place. Go somewhere else if you want a hearty meal like One Eyed Bettys, Maes, Breakfast Club, Beverly Hills Grille... You will pay just the same amount at these places or less and get BETTER food. Take a chance and trust me on this one. :)
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.