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The 2011 Tastes of Detroit Food Tour at Expo Icrontic

The 2011 Tastes of Detroit Food Tour at Expo Icrontic

Tastes of Detroit Food Tour at Expo Icrontic

The Tastes of Detroit Food Tour is a long-standing tradition that takes place over a series of days every June during Expo Icrontic. For years, my goal has been to introduce out-of-towners to the unique, wonderful, diverse, and excellent food landscape here in the Detroit area. The Metro Detroit area is lovely in that we have a vast array of ethnicities and styles represented, and do not suffer heavily from the “national chain restaurant syndrome” that plagues much of this fine country (Macomb Township, Novi, and Troy are excluded from this statement).

In 2006, we went on our first food tour. It consisted of visits to a few of my local favorites (two of which are sadly out of business now), and a special visit from the former staff at Pi’s Thai in Hazel Park, where we were given a few gallons of soup for a hungry crowd (since the restaurant was too small to accommodate us). Since then, the Food Tour has been the single most requested and participated-in event at the Expo Icrontic. We routinely fill restaurants and spend hundreds of dollars at local businesses, all in the name of good eats.

As always, it gets harder and harder every year to find new places to accommodate our stringent requirements:

  • The restaurant must be unique. It’s safe to say that if a restaurant has a “corporate office” somewhere, we’ll probably never go there.
  • The restaurant must have some compelling theme or specialty that makes it truly a step above the normal establishment. This can be service, a menu item, decor, price, character, etc.
  • The restaurant must able to at least try to introduce people to something they’ve never had before.
  • The restaurant must be able to accommodate 50 or more people at once, as this is the average size of our group.

I try to accomplish these goals without any repeats, although tour favorites have made re-appearances throughout the years. Here’s the historical list of places we’ve covered so far:


  • Raj Mahal (Indian), Sterling Heights
  • Josephine Crepes (French), Ferndale
  • Thang Long (Vietnamese), Madison Heights
  • Pi’s Thai (Thai), Hazel Park


  • Passage to India (Indian), Berkley
  • New Seoul Garden (Korean), Southfield
  • Red Coat Tavern (British), Royal Oak
  • Thang Long (Vietnamese), Madison Heights


  • Xochimilco (Mexican), Detroit
  • Sala Thai Eastern Market (Thai), Detroit
  • Hu Hot Mongolian Grill (Mongolian-style), Fraser
  • Original Pancake House (American), Grosse Pointe


  • Shilla (Korean), Troy
  • Anita’s Kitchen (Lebanese), Troy
  • Passage to India (Indian), Berkley
  • Polonia (Polish), Hamtramck
  • Tivoli’s (Italian), Utica


  • Buddy’s Pizza(Detroit-style Pizza), Warren
  • Taqueria Mi Pueblo (Mexican), Detroit
  • Red Hot & Blue (BBQ), Sterling Heights
  • Golden Harvest(Dim Sum), Warren

This year we’re presented with a couple of challenges: One common complaint in years past is that the Food Tour takes up a significant portion of time during Expo. Since time is at a premium, this can be off-putting to some, and causes trouble when attempting to rush around trying to make other events. Logistically, the Food Tour is a bad citizen. Second, with the venue change, we’re presented with some transportation issues. Therefore, this will be the first year where we have multiple catered events.

Bostaan Lebanese, Warren, MIFirst, we’ll be heading just a couple of miles away from the Cafe to a new destination on Van Dyke Avenue known as Bostaan. Bostaan serves excellent Lebanese cuisine, in a large and beautiful restaurant in northern Warren, Michigan. Some of the things to take note of are the wonderfully creamy and rich Labne (homemade yogurt dip), the excellent Hummous (chickpea, lemon, garlic, and pepper dip), and if you travel off the standard menu, a truly tasty dish with the innocuous name of “Ginger Chicken”. Also recommended is the Lamb Ghallaba.

Noble Fish, Clawson, MichiganThe second restaurant is something I’ve been trying to figure out for years; since 2006 I’ve wanted to take people here, as it is the best sushi in the area. However, the restaurant itself is like stepping through a portal into Tokyo. It’s extremely tiny and only seats about 15 people, and not comfortably. Therefore, we’ve decided to bring in trays of sushi from Noble Fish in Clawson, Michigan—one of the most authentic, delicious, and fresh sushi restaurants in the Detroit area. Since this will be a catered, “Chef’s Choice” event, there will be no menu: $20 per person will get you enough sushi to make you roll around in delighted agony. If you even remotely like sushi, this is the thing to try. If you’ve never had it before, this will be an excellent opportunity to have a first time experience with this delightful dish.

Lazybones Smokehouse logo

Third, we’re proud to introduce Detroit’s finest BBQ in the form of Lazybones Smokehouse.

BBQ is becoming a contentious battleground in the Detroit food scene. A place called Slows made a big splash with many people and brought a new level of awareness to Detroit’s BBQ lovers that there was a thriving BBQ scene here. While we’re not at the level of Austin, Kansas City, or Memphis (yet), there are new competitors and styles popping up more and more often.

At any rate, Slows is a very popular local destination, but there are those of us who think other places are better. My choice? Lazybones Smokehouse.

We’ll be having Lazybones catered in, to make it (much) more convenient for Expo attendees. Please consult the catering menu to pre-select your choices. I’ll be collecting this information on Wednesday, the 22nd. One of the highlights of Lazybones is the depth and breadth of their sauces.

See everyone next week!


  1. Winfrey
    Winfrey I'm assuming these will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night respectively?

    Looks tasty.
  2. primesuspect
    primesuspect Yes. Thursday is Bostaan, Friday is Noble Fish, and Saturday will be Lazybones.
  3. RyanMM
    RyanMM In for Noble Fish and Lazybones!
  4. fatcat
    fatcat what are detroit style rib tips?

    I know all the other BBQ styles (mizzou, texas, carolina, kentucky)

    also, if you don't know BBQ, Kansas City burnt ends, Texas beef brisket and Carolina pulled pork is always win.

    IMO, St. Louis spare ribs are overated
  5. RyanMM
    RyanMM I hear the burnt ends at Lazybones are to die for.
  6. fatcat
    RyanMM wrote:
    I hear the burnt ends at Lazybones are to die for.

    I hope so. Will look forward to see how they compare to Kansas City's Jack Stack burnt ends
  7. Thrax
    Thrax I find lazybones to be pretty uninspired compared to some of the other options, frankly. Last time I went there it was a greasy, nasty mess, with grizzly meat, terrible chilli and undercooked fries.
  8. primesuspect
    primesuspect Can't please everyone :)
  9. RyanMM
    Thrax wrote:
    I find lazybones to be pretty uninspired compared to some of the other options, frankly. Last time I went there it was a greasy, nasty mess, with grizzly meat, terrible chilli and undercooked fries.

    Their fries are awesome. Sounds like the kitchen had a bad day.
  10. CrazyJoe
    CrazyJoe Can I request a Tuesday sojourn to Canada for that Burger Place you mentioned? I will be bringing my passport card just in case...
  11. primesuspect
    primesuspect If we can fit it in, it's a possibility, although I can't really afford it, to be honest. My new job = I don't get my first paycheck for another two weeks :(
  12. GHoosdum
    GHoosdum I'm in for Bostaan and Noble Fish.
  13. CrazyJoe
    CrazyJoe I am up for everything except Noble Fish. I am not a fan of sushi...
  14. GnomeQueen
    GHoosdum wrote:
    I'm in for Bostaan and Noble Fish.

  15. RootWyrm
    RootWyrm In for all. My wallet is going to be sobbing for mercy.
  16. Annes
    GHoosdum wrote:
    I'm in for Bostaan and Noble Fish.

    Yup. Same for me.
  17. mertesn
    mertesn In for all three.
  18. CB
    CB I'll stay behind from Bostaan to hold down the fort and get the boardgaming started, and I can't eat sushi, but I'll be down for some BBQ. Is this the same place you brought me to last time I was up there?
  19. primesuspect
  20. fatcat
    fatcat do we get to choose what kinds of sushi we want for the $20?
  21. primesuspect
    primesuspect No, it's chef's choice.
  22. Canti
    Canti In for all, so much nom.
  23. Colgere
    Colgere In for the BBQ.
  24. HumerusMeg
    HumerusMeg In for Noble for sure, not sure if I will be able to make it for Bostaan I have to close at my work that day, we shall see :D
  25. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx In for all.

    Is Noble Fish the place where the owner was pimping that giant Buffalo Fish to you?
  26. primesuspect
    primesuspect No, that was an Iraqi fish restaurant
  27. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen As far as Noble Fish goes- I assume by Chef's choice you mean that there will be a wide array of rolls and we can just pick which ones we want? I ask only because shellfish and my digestive system don't get along.
  28. primesuspect
    primesuspect Yeah, it will just be a large assortment of rolls and nigiri.
  29. GnomeQueen
    GnomeQueen That's what I figured, thanks!
  30. Thrax
    Thrax Hey guys, have you heard? Jackie's sensitive to shellfish. :p
  31. Zanthian
    Zanthian In For Bostaan and Lazybones
  32. pseudonym
    pseudonym I like to eat so I'm in for everything.
  33. sharkydart
    sharkydart I was about to ask if they would be providing sashimi and/or nigiri zushi! I can't wait! I'm in for Noble Fish and Lazybones :D
  34. wax
    wax hot tip: there is an arcade right next to bostaan. just remember arrive with zero expectations and hand sanitizer
  35. lershee
    lershee Hooray for Noble Fish! ::happy dance::
  36. DogDragon
    DogDragon Darn:tim: There's going to be sushi this year
    and I can't make it :grumble: Darn doctors appointments.
  37. Bandrik
    Bandrik In for all three. Sounds delicioso. Bring on the noms!!
  38. RyanMM
    DogDragon wrote:
    Darn:tim: There's going to be sushi this year
    and I can't make it :grumble: Darn doctors appointments.

    Next time you're up here there'll be a special 'dogdragon goes to noble fish' trip.

    Your cherries will be missed this year!

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