Restaurant veteran Molly Abraham noshes around town, tracking down some top spots.
MANDALOUN BISTRO /// Northern Lebanese fare is prepared by the Bitar family — Malake, Fernand, and Melissa — and served in a sophisticated setting in the space formerly occupied by Shiraz, after relocating from their previous restaurant Le Chef in Farmington Hills. The food is subtle, understated, and meticulously presented to linen-covered tables in a room that is all soft gray, white, and black. Dishes include a delicate chicken kafta, sautéed lamb tongue, lamb chops, and pristinely fresh salads.
30100 Telegraph Rd., Bingham Farms; 248-723-7960. L weekdays, D nightly. $18 H
MAD HATTER BISTRO, BAR & TEA ROOM /// The whimsical setting evoking Alice in Wonderland is charming and certainly one of a kind in downtown Birmingham. And it welcomes a diverse crowd, not just the tea-sipping set, with a menu that includes burgers and other sandwiches, falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh made with kale, reflecting the heritage of the proprietor, Eileen Sakko. There are pastries, of course. The tables on the main floor are close together to take advantage of the minuscule space, but the room is charming and the servers so accommodating that guests don’t seem to mind.
185 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-540-0000. L & D daily, Br. Sun. Tea by reservation. $17 Main floor H; lower level not accessible.