Cravings: December 2014

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.

Rosalie Vicari, co-owner/operator of the Andiamo Restaurant Group, is willing to admit that “I know the menu at La Saj Lebanese Bistro in Sterling Heights possibly as well as I know our own at Andiamo. It’s our go-to Middle Eastern restaurant for carryout or dining in because it’s always consistent with both quality and quantity.” “I rarely, if ever, change my order at La Saj,” she says. “Our family orders a variety of dishes including hummus with their incredible, fresh-baked individual pitas, fattoush salad, spinach and meat pies, which they make in-house, mjadara, chicken shawarma, and the chicken ghallaba is a beautiful blending of flavors and spices served with slow-roasted vegetables. The kibbee nayee is freshly prepared to order and is favorite of my husband, Joe, and son-in-law Christopher Ahee,” she says. If not at La Saj, “you will probably find us at Ocean Prime or Capital Grille,” Vicari adds. “In the summer, I love dining on the patio at Ocean Prime and order the featured fish special because it’s always amazing and fresh. Capital Grille is the only place I order the same thing every time — a rib-eye.”


Sandy Levine of Ferndale’s craft cocktail emporium, the Oakland Art Novelty Company, says he had a hard time narrowing down his favorites to “my essentials.” “My wife and I are serious eaters, so when we go out we try to make it count,” Levine says. “My day always starts with a hearty dose of Stumptown cold brewed coffee from The Red Hook in Ferndale to get me going. Breakfast at Rose’s Fine Food is a huge treat — their atmosphere is really charming but the food and pastries are incredible. “Lately my wife and I have been obsessed with Rock City Eatery in Hamtramck,” when it comes to dinnertime, Levine says. “If we want a special dinner we love ordering a tasting menu from Iridescence or Torino. When we feel like getting away from our regular spots we’ll drive to see James [Rigato] at The Root, Zingerman’s Deli, or Trattoria Stella if we’re up north. If I need a late-night snack on the way home from The Oakland, I usually grab a burger from The Emory.”

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