Restaurant veteran Molly Abraham noshes around town, tracking down some top spots.
Dragonbones: Meat Plate: Sampling of sausages, olives, marinated peppers, pickles, and crackers (shown served with a beer sampler).
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOE VAUGHN
CLAWSON STEAKHOUSE ///
This venerable spot, still run by the Alexopoulos family, is the red meat emporium of choice for many people, who prefer it to the slicker versions that have sprung up since it opened in 1958. They serve not only the titular steaks but also a menu of solid favorites from the roadhouse era. Completely unpretentious and friendly, it has a loyal clientele who love the solid fare and avoid anything trendy. And it still offers live music and dancing Wednesday through Saturday.
56 S. Rochester Rd., Clawson; 248-588-5788. L & D Mon.-Sat. $20 H
The kitchen at Dragonmead Microbrewery is now in the hands of Deni Smiljanovski of the Lazybones Smokehouse in Roseville, and the smoked brisket chili, bratwurst, and Italian and Cajun pork sausages in assortment platters or sandwiches on pretzel buns are sturdy and appropriate accompaniments to the house brews. The setting is pure beer hall.
14600 E. 11 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-776-9428. D Mon.-Wed., L & D Thurs.-Sat. $10 H
Skewered chicken and grilled corn from the ‘Union Family’
EXECUTIVE CHEF AARON COZADD rides herd on Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Garage, Fenton Fire Hall, and Clarkston Union — and the focus is “the depth given to fresh ingredients on a grill fueled by natural hardwood,” he says. You can get similar results with natural lump charcoal; or on a gas grill, place soaked wood chips into a heavy-duty foil pouch with holes on top. Place on top rack and preheat until smoke escapes, then cook with lid closed. “I first had Mexican street corn in Spanish Harlem when I was attending culinary school,” Cozadd says. “I never forgot the combination of flavors.” Serve this combo “street style” — carried around the backyard or campsite. — Molly Abraham
YAKITORI (GRILLED CHICKEN ON SKEWERS) (SERVES 6)
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons garlic
2 ½ cups mirin (rice wine)
2½ cups soy
1 cup sake
¾ cup Michigan honey
1 cup water
1 small piece kombu (dried seaweed)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
15 6-inch bamboo skewers
Cut chicken into ½ inch strips. Refrigerate. Soak skewers in cold water. Thinly slice green end of scallions; cut white ends into 1-inch pieces. In large saucepan, sauté ginger, garlic, and green scallions over high heat in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add mirin, soy, sake, honey, water, and kombu. Simmer until reduced by half (about 1 hour). Strain and cool sauce. Skewer chicken, alternating white scallion pieces. Oil grill to prevent sticking. Toss skewers lightly with oil and grill, basting often until chicken is cooked through with a nice caramelized char. (Hint: Use a slightly cooler spot on the grill.) Pour reserved sauce over skewers.
ELOTES (GRILLED CORN)
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
6 ears of Michigan sweet corn in the husk
1 cup grated Cotija cheese
Cayenne pepper to taste
Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, and cumin. Refrigerate. Peel back corn husks but leave the stalk intact as a handle. Lightly oil the corn and grill until lightly blackened (8-10 minutes). Allow corn to cool slightly. Brush with the sour cream mixture and coat evenly with the cheese. Dust with cayenne.