Atlas Global Bistro's Nikki Barbour & Cliff Bells' Paul Howard
Cravings: Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking.
Nikki Barbour proprietor of Atlas Global Bistro, is fond of food from various cultures, as the name of her Midtown Detroit restaurant attests. “I’m partial to sharing appetizers,” she says. “Dining at the bar at Cuisine late night is always a treat. The sweetbreads are amazing and enough to share.” Other favorites include Café Cortina, because “The Tonons [owners Rina and her son Adrian] do everything well with a graciousness we all should aspire to emulate. Every meal there is a special occasion.” Barbour loves the yogurt and squash soup at Phoenicia in Birmingham, which “transports me back to my grandmother’s kitchen table when I was 7 — actually, anything there does; their seasoning is dead-on.” Barbour says she does a lot of takeout and especially likes the pizza at Supino in the Eastern Market, gumbo from the nearby Louisiana Creole Gumbo, and “anything at Thang Long or Noble Fish.”
When Paul Howard, co-proprietor of Cliff Bell’s downtown, isn’t at his vintage Detroit restaurant, he might well head with his wife, Sue Weckerle, for Hamtramck, where Aladdin Sweets and Café is one of his favorites for its “very authentic Bangladeshi food — very inexpensive and delicious,” or to Hazel Park to the 10-seat Pi’s Thai Cuisine for the “unique, tasty sauces.” He often orders spicy noodles, chicken spring rolls, and gang gai (red curry). Another standby is Vince’s Ristorante Italiano on Springwells in Detroit. He goes for the “family-style Italian with everything homemade, including pasta.” Favorite dishes include cheese ravioli with meat sauce, chicken cacciatore, and “great pizza.” — Molly Abraham