while in detroit for a family event, i managed to find time to try a few local places.
toast (on woodward in ferndale; toastferndale.com) for breakfast. i had the breakfast burrito. very tasty, and huge. my wife had the cure (or the morning after, something like that) which was basically a hash topped with eggs. very good and hearty. my cousin, who turned us on to the place, had the biscuits and gravy (his usual). a huge portion and it looked yummy (although it was topped with cheddar, which i rarely see in the south - can't imagine it hurts it at all). all in all, good, hearty food to start the day right (especially during those michigan winters).
katmandu (sp?) (i believe it was in ferndale, there's a sister store, everest express, in farmington hills) for lunch. opinions varied on this one. we sampled several items. i tried the basil drink (basil seeds, fermented i think, in a water-based drink sweetened with honey) which was vile. it tasted like bananas, which i abhor. the texture of the basil seeds was strange, especially through a straw, though not a turn-off for me the way it was for my wife. my cousin, the same from toast above, seemed impressed with neither the taste ot texture.
my wife and cousin both tried the soup, a hearty chicken and vegetable. i liked the taste i had, and while both of them also thought it was ok, they both felt it was a little thick for soup and too heavy on the cumin (cumin is used heavily in most dishes). i tried the lentil pancake as an app. it was huge, and i liked it alot, especially with the sauce/salsa it came with, but my companions were not enamored of it.
for entrees, my cousin chose the chicken dumplings, which were a big disappointment. they were very dry, and not particulary flavorful. my wife had a stewed lamp and eggplant dish that was pretty good if you like stewed eggplant (i'm limited in my appreciation of eggplant, i prefer it grilled), and pronounced the best of the meal by my wife and cousin. i had the lamb dumplings, which i quite enjoyed. all meals were served with a rather bland rice skimpily topped with a tomato sauce; i thought a more abundant gravy of some sort would have worked better.
all in all, very hit or miss. cumin is featured heavily, if you like it, which i do, that's not a problem. dishes were lightly salted, which i prefer, but might be perceived as lacking for those who use salt more liberally than i do. no beef or pork, lamb and chicken only. cream and butter are not used. this was not a fast lunch, everything was cooked to order, so this might not be suitable for a quick bite. the sole waitress didn't seem particulary knowledgable of the food. in short, with some research you could probably find enough good stuff here to keep you interested, but i wouldn't expect to hit gold on the first visit.
the biggest plus on the food front was that i got my fix of better made. man i miss those chips.