SaltWater’s Justin Schneider & Bad Brad’s Michael Pollard

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.

> JUSTIN SCHNEIDER, sous-chef at Michael Mina’s SaltWater at the MGM Grand Detroit, began his culinary career at the Joe Bologna Trattoria in Sterling Heights and still likes to go there for “fried eggplant rolled and stuffed with ricotta and walnuts, topped with marinara and baked with cheese.” Another fave is Ajishin in Novi. “I love the eel chirashi and the udon in dashi — so much food for less than $15.” Matsuchan in Canton is on his list for “spicy ramen or pork ramen. Both are huge bowls of steaming goodness.” When he’s in the mood for Middle Eastern, he goes for “hummus topped with chicken shawarma at La Pita in Dearborn.” During the summer, he favors the rooftop at Motor City Brewing Works in Detroit: “the best beer-and-pizza joint. They also have salads during the summer featuring lettuce and veggies grown on urban farms right in the city of Detroit.”

> Bad Brad’s BBQ has been taking up much of co-proprietor MICHAEL POLLARD’S time since it opened just over a year ago in New Baltimore. Pollard still has time, however, to check out such favorites as Luigi’s “The Original” in Harrison Township, where “the food is amazingly consistent and the front-of-the-house people, Pam and Scott, are just great.” His favorite dish is “lamb chops Luigi, topped with wilted spinach, feta cheese, and Roma tomatoes, and cooked medium-rare.” He also likes to drop by Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe Farms, “a cool spot for drinks and relaxing while listening to the music.” Bourbon Steak at MGM Grand Detroit has his favorite steak, an 8-ounce American “Kobe” rib-eye, “a little pricey, but worth it.”

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