Shangri-La

Wednesday, I met Nastassia @ Shangri-La, located on Cass in Midtown. Moderately priced with a trendy, hip feel, this restaurant is not your typical red-carpeted, dragon decorated Chinese place. Known for the best dim sum in Detroit, we decided to see what all the hype was about.

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 4 out of bites bites (unique and extensive menu)

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We started with Spicy Softshell Crab appetizer with a recommendation for our server: Lightly battered and fried softshell crab served with a mix of onions and peppers. The batter was airy and delicious. I got more heat from the onion than I did the peppers, but the fresh veggie salad paired well with the rich crab.

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Dim Sum: noun. a Chinese dish of small steamed or fried savory dumplings containing various fillings, served as a snack or main course.

Shark Fin: Tender steamed dumpling filled with shark fin. The shark had a subtle seafood flavor, with a little chew.

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Eggplant: Shrimp stuffed eggplant. The eggplant was tender and the fried shrimp was huge!

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Garlic & Chive Pan Cake: With ginger. As soon as you took a bite, you tasted the ginger and garlic. The dumpling was the perfect combination of crispy and tender.

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Pan Fried Corn Cake with Shrimp Paste: Delicious! This didn’t taste like authentic Asian at all, but I’m not complaining. It was the perfect fried corn fritter. The outside of the corn cake was crispy and filled with tender shrimp and fresh corn.

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Sushi

Incredible Hulk (on left): Cucumber, asparagus, and avocado topped with seaweed salad. Tempura roll. This roll was huge and pretty good for a veggie roll. The crunchy veggies and creamy avocado balanced out the fried tempura.

Tony Montana (on right): Inside: White tuna and cucumber. Outside: White tuna, bonito flakes, scallions, and ponzu sauce. The bonito flakes sparked our curiosity, but curiosity killed the cat. I wasn’t a fan of this roll. The bonito flakes were smokey, fishy, airy flakes which I didn’t care for. The whole roll didn’t really have much flavor and the scallions and ponzu sauce were non existent. It would’ve been nice to have something to balance out the white tuna and bonito flakes.

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Overall, our experience was a success; I got to try dim sum for the first time. Although I wasn’t fond of everything we ordered, Shangri-La definitely gets points for making some of the most unique and different dim sum in the area. Service was good, but our server forgot to put in one of our orders of dim sum which was removed from our check. If you’re looking for a popular place to try dim sum or even just to enjoy Chinese favorites, try Shangri-La next time you’re out.

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Bill’s Ham Place

My brother was in town for a couple days so we decided to get breakfast. We wanted something quick so we stopped in to this local dive breakfast/coney place in Lincoln Park. I remember stopping in to Bill’s Ham Place located on Southfield Rd, growing up and always liked it. Check out how this trip turned out.

Service: 4 out of 5 stars

Quality/Taste: 2 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars (Friendly & authentic coney feel)

Price: 3 stars

Wow factor: 2

Western Omelette: Huge helping of eggs, ham, green pepper, onion, and cheese. This was enough for two and everything you would expect from a coney breakfast. Pretty spot on.

Tip: Order the hash browns well done.

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I went with the Corned Beef Sandwich: Thinly sliced corned beef on an onion roll. I added a slice of Swiss cheese. It was good, but unlike the omelette, the portion was lousy. I decided to order it because it was marked “Famous” on the menu. More like disappointing. It still tasted good, but I scarfed it in seconds. For around $7, it was not worth it (the cheese was an extra 80 cents).

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Check out what Ma made for breakfast a couple days later. Best of both worlds:

Corned Beef Hash with a fried egg: A great idea for leftover corned beef and it’s way better than the stuff out of the can. Brown potatoes and saute with onions and corned beef and top with a fried egg. When you break the yolk it creates a delicious, rich sauce that melts all over the potatoes.

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OK, back to Bill’s. The waitress was friendly and made conversation the whole time in between greeting and waiting on her other tables. Bill’s Ham Place is a great breakfast and coney spot, but if you’re looking for a huge, stacked deli sandwich that they are “famous” for, try Hops & Barley or Wheat & Rye.

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Eat Food Detroit climbed a couple spots on Urbanspoon!

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Hops & Barley

Located on Allen Rd. in Melvindale, Hops & Barley is a great spot to grab some good food and a cold drink. I made the mistake of going during the middle of the Detroit Lions game last Sunday, but I still received excellent service. The servers were on point, food was amazing, and they have flat screens everywhere for your viewing pleasure (even at each booth for closeups).

Pastrami Sandwich: Hot deli pastrami piled high on a bed of coleslaw, topped with melty cheese and Thousand Island Dressing served on an onion roll. The juiciest pastrami I’ve ever tasted! This monster sandwich was amazing and all for only $6.50.

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Taco Salad: Juicy grilled chicken breast on top fresh lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and jalapenos. I personally prefer avocado and olives on my taco salad, but this bowl still gets an A-. It seemed as though the chicken was never ending and the portion was generous. The cook definitely didn’t skimp out on quality or quantity.

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Hops & Barley has great food deals and even better drink specials. The atmosphere was loud, but the fans were in full effect making the visit fun and exciting. I give kudos to the servers because they were owning their tables, and seemed natural, not flustered even though the place was slammed. I’m making this my new spot when I want to catch a game without spending a ton.

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