Cravings

When restaurant people take a break from their own kitchens

“Getting out to eat can be a challenge working in this industry,” says Michael Barrera, executive chef at Streetside Seafood in Birmingham. Besides that, he and his wife, Alejandra, have two sons, Nicolas (9), and Marcelo (5), so making time for the family also enters in. Recently, for Alejandra’s birthday, the couple dined at Phoenicia “for the first time. Wow! We had a party of six and ordered many dishes. All were perfectly seasoned, fresh, and vibrant in flavor. It truly was one of the better dining experiences we have had in this area. What really stood out were the hashwi and the sweetbreads.” Another favorite spot is Forest Grill. “Chef Nick Janutol is a very good friend of mine and a very talented guy,” says Barrera. “His foie gras torchon with Sauternes geleé is the best around. Very clean and meticulously prepared.” The couple also enjoys Rock City Eatery in Hamtramck. “Nikita Santches is doing some great things out of that kitchen,” he says. “His al pastor ribs are awesome. They might not be on the menu next time we go but we will find something else we love equally. He just opened up for brunch, and the menu looks and sounds amazing. We cannot wait to get there to try it.”

“This is probably not very ‘chef-like’ of me,” says Nikita Santches of Rock City Eatery in Hamtramck, “but I love Chinese buffets (e.g. Fuji Buffet in Madison Heights), and I’m addicted to Costco pizza. When I do go out to eat at other restaurants (this almost never happens), I like to go to Streetside Seafood and experience Chef Michael Barrera’s amazing seafood skills.” He says he also loves Imperial in Ferndale for beer and tacos, and “of course, chef Brennan Calnin.” His list, he adds, wouldn’t be complete without saying that chefs James Rigato and Jessi Patuano “kill it at The Root with their pasta dishes as well. Pretty much anywhere you find a Young Gun you find an incredible meal.”

 

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