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 had some amazing Indian… admittedly not in India, but in California (next best thing). The best Indian is always so addicting I crave it weekly… the problem being that Detroit area Indian just isn’t quite as good. I was relieved and happy to find Rangoli Indian Grill Express in Sterling Heights. I passed by it several times without going in- it’s in a strip mall by the AMC Forum 30 movie theatre and looks less than appetizing from the outside. But one day I had a craving and entered, and now “Indian and a movie” is a coined phrase in my lexicon. My first order became my “every time” order. My movie buddy and I order the lamb wrap (with both spicy sauce and mint sauce, wrapped in a freshly baked naan-like bread!) and the chicken kadai, my usual Indian standby. My favorite part of their chicken kadai is the fact that they don’t give me the “American version” of spicy. There’s a real kick to both of these dishes, which have so many more flavors than just “hot” going on. It’s my new favorite since Ashoka changed owners a while back. Don’t let the looks fool you. It looks like fast food and claims to be ‘express,’ but in reality it’s slow the way a sit down restaurant is. Don’t go for atmosphere, go because once you taste it you’ll have it on your list of places to return. Important note: don't get your hopes up on a Monday because they are closed. Those heartbreakers. :)
Rangolis Express Website
What an odd experience… I went in the middle of the Polar Vortex this past winter with a friend. We ordered spicy chicken Kadai and Aloo Gobi (a potato/ cauliflower curry). The food must have been fine, but non memorable- and the heat level in the curry was definitely NOT enough to make up for the fact that they had absolutely NO HEAT on a freezing winter day. Here’s the thing: You can’t be open for customers when their toes could possibly get frost-bite just sitting there. Since I couldn’t remember the food due to the negative experience of being there, I’ll stick with my other Indian restaurants who are delicious and temperature controlled.
Megha's Indian Cuisine Website
You probably know about this place already… so I’ll keep it brief. I’ve had a variety of experiences at this restaurant, partly because this is a chain restaurant that is privately owned. So the Royal Oak and Sterling Heights locations are very different from each other, with different perks. Andiamo is known for quality Italian food, and I’ll admit that I’ve been happy with my food here almost every time. The highlight experience was at the Sterling Heights location, where I ordered whitefish and family style sides: mashed potatoes and vegetables. OK, it doesn’t sound that interesting, but the actual food quality and preparation was flawless. While the bill was very expensive, due to the family style sides that had to be ordered separately because nothing came with the pricey main dishes, no one complained. This is probably due, in part, to the fact that one person in our party had a gift card to eat some of the cost. At the Royal Oak location, I had one magical happy hour with filet medallion in zip sauce, prawns on polenta and half off wine. (Note: When I went back, they had traded their amazing happy hour specials for a much more boring selection of bruschetta). When there’s a gift card involved OR they get their previous happy hour specials back, I will return. Until then, it’s a bit too expensive for my dining style, though I always know I’ll get a good meal there.
Andiamo's Sterling Heights Website
Chung Ki Wa was my first experience with Korean food, and also set the bar that all others have failed to attain. No Joke: This is seriously good Korean food. And I say this knowing that there’s probably better Korean somewhere in the world, probably in Korea. But as for Troy, Michigan, this place is solid- addictive comfort food that I crave often. The first time I went, I ordered the hot pot Bibimbap (chicken). And now I have to get it every time, though I’ll try other meats next time. I wish they had shrimp, but they do have a seafood option. Let’s deconstruct this deliciousness: Crispy rice from the hot pot sizzle, a variety of sweet pickled vegetables, oozing yolk from the egg (which you stir in to finish the cooking process), and tender meat create the ultimate comfort food perfect for a rainy or snowy night… but honestly is just as good in the summer. Don’t forget to drizzle the sweet spicy sauce on top. Since eating this, I’ve tried Bibimbap at several different places and while still good, Chung Ki Wa holds the top spot. The hot pot is where it’s at. It also comes with a variety of fermented and pickled condiments including, of course, kimchi. It’s a great price for a filling meal and enough for two, especially if you order one of their many appetizers.
A little shocked at myself for not ordering their Korean BBQ specials yet… they always look so fun and delicious around me. You cook your own variety of meats over a flame on the table and eat it with rice and the sides. The only reason I’ve refrained is because of the price, which feels steep, especially when compared with their Bibimbap. But it’s always nice to have a meal to anticipate, and I can say with certainty that next time I want to splurge I’ll be back for the whole Korean BBQ experience. The good reviews are 100% correct- and I am grateful to live near this delight.
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.