Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Great Lakes Detroit

Tried Noble Pig in GPF, MI (Detroit area)...


Restaurants & Bars 17

Tried Noble Pig in GPF, MI (Detroit area)...

boagman | Jan 13, 2013 12:02 AM

So believe it or not, it's taken me this long to get over to Brandon Kahlich's new place in GPF, he of the oh-so-fantastic crab cakes I've come to love and revere over the years. Donna and I had a friend's dad's visitation to go to at the nearby Peters Funeral Home, and I couldn't think of a better thing to do than have dinner beforehand at Noble Pig and head on over to the funeral home, sated. Makes life easier for me, anyway.

Donna had had his mac-and-cheese years before and loved it, so she was excited to try it, and I was just wanting the crab cakes again. I think I'll do this review in the style of one of my favorite spaghetti westerns.

The Good: the food that we had is still plenty good, and those crab cakes are still the best ones I've ever eaten, by at least one full letter grade. They're thick, they're prefectly cooked, and they taste fantastic. I'm not as sure about the idea of serving them as the meat of a sandwich, as they're doing here, but the whole thing, stem-to-stern, was consumed by me, and I can again highly recommend it. Donna's mac-and-cheese was also plenty good, but she said it wasn't as good as she remembered it being. She ended up taking a portion of the pint home with her. I'm *positive* it didn't go to waste. The rosemary fries I had with my sandwich were good, but they'd be better as steak fries, I think...thicker/bigger would be better. The service was pretty good.

The Bad: currently, it seems they're pretty disorganized in terms of necessities. On this Friday night, they were only offering carryout, and person after person kept coming in and asking for a carryout menu, which they'd run out of...on a Friday night. "It's on our website..." really isn't a solid answer when the customer has stopped by, even if it's still a pretty convenient way to check out the menu. When a customer comes in to a carryout place, there *needs* to be menus for them to take with.

The Ugly: had the food not been as good as it was, and had they not made a concession for Donna and me, I would have been absolutely *livid* with the place. The disorganization I referred to earlier seems to go a bit deeper, too: they really don't know what they're trying to be, yet. Or at least it doesn't appear that way. For some unknown reason (Mrs. Kahlich did try to explain it a bit, but I admit that Donna and I had difficulty understanding a lot of what she said...not necessarily her fault), Noble Pig has decided to be a carryout *only* place on the weekends, and they only recently started this out. By this I mean that there are *no tables* to eat at...that's right, they pull them all out and leave the chairs for people to wait in for their carryouts. I'm not talking about no table service...that'd be fine by me. I'm talking about them literally having *no place to eat but your lap*. There was no notice of this. There's no indication of this on their website, their Facebook page...nothing. It's just what they've done...on the *weekends*. Thankfully, when they realized that Donna and I were going to literally *have to* eat our meals on our laps, they graciously allowed a table to be brought out for us to be able to eat our meals in a somewhat civilized fashion. It was a nice gesture on their part, and we were awfully grateful for it, but it seems so, so backwards to have had the issue pop up in the first place.

Fair's fair: I will be back, as I was happy with my food, and in the end, I was happy that they saw the issue we were having, and did something kind to accommodate us. We really didn't have much of a choice at that point to go anywhere else to eat, and they recognized that and solved the issue for us. This, to my view, is good service. The fact that they're still searching for what they're trying to be? Yeah, that's still an issue, as is the general organization issue. Facts are facts, though, and the food's still really good.

There were *lots* of people coming in that night, too. This was *not* a dead place...I can't understand why they'd want people to not eat while there at any time of day. I doubly can't understand why, in trying to be carryout only, they'd run out of carryout menus. It's quite the dichotomy, that.

So, my recommendation? Go, but *do call first* and find out what the what is on any particular day/night. Will they have tables to eat at? Is there anything specific you should know before you make a trip out there so you don't have a family of five show up with nowhere to sit, or even be, really? Will the wait for carryout be very long, if that's what you have to end up with? Are there carryout menus available?

I know it sounds like I'm being hypercritical about the tables thing, but really...the food was great, and I was happy *after* I was done eating. Before? Well, let's just say that the pot was beginning to boil, per Donna's observations. Making the whole thing a bit more amusing was the fact that *as soon as* we left, a young couple walked in and *immediately* beelined for the table that Donna and I had vacated (the only one in the place, obviously), unbussed though it was. They were promptly told that it really wasn't available, apparently much to their confused chagrin. I can't blame them, as I feel it's a bit ridiculous myself, and I would have done the *exact same thing* that they had were I in their shoes. It's honestly baffling, and I hope that whatever this experiment is that they're doing will end as quickly as it's begun. Bass-ackwards, really. Edited to add a quote from Molly Abraham's review in the Detroit News a couple weeks ago: "It offers just 14 seats at white linen-covered tables, with white linen napkins." You can see easily why confusion is happening.

Great food, good prices, gracious service...really odd experience. I'll be going back, though, I can promise you that!

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound