Sunday, March 3, 2013

Restaurant Review: Sweet Lorraine's Cafe

It's another installment of Food Porn!

Our 11 year old is looking at the milestone of turning 12. Because his birthday fall on a Tuesday we decided to celebrate a little early last night. No curfew if it's not a school night. Andrew was given the honor of picking the restaurant in honor of the celebration. Believe me, living with us, he has a long list to pick from but settled on Sweet Lorraine's in Southfield.

The cuisine at Sweet Lorraine's is eclectic, featuring local produce and both meat and vegetarian dishes. I really like the fresh seafood selections that are typically featured in the weekly specials. My husband enjoys their fish and chips which have a little kick and also their steaks.

The place has all those little touches, great decor, a nice muted soundtrack and focaccio bread with tomato dipping sauces before the food arrives, and wonderful mint truffles at the very end. If you sign up for their mailing lists, you get a special coupon to use during the month of your birthday (Andrew redeemed his for $10 off our bill) as well as special offering near holidays, snow days and other random dates on Facebook.

One of our favorite dishes there is calamari. Unfortunately I was so excited to eat the dish I didn't take a picture. I am really ashamed myself quite honestly. I have let you all down. Let's just say that the calamari is one of the motivating reasons to eat here. It's a really good crispy tempura batter and it's accompanied by three sauces, sweet chili, teriayaki, and peanut. Peanut is the bomb! It has some spicy tones but is married with the creaminess of coconut milk. I have been trying to get it right at home for years. I can't. The sauce is so good I pilfer it from the tray when they collect the remnants and save it for fries and other assorted elements of our main dishes.

Andrew was there for a specific item - Macaroni and Cheese. Sweet Lorraine's is so famous for mac and cheese that they have two outposts at called Mac n' Cheez at local malls (Somerset in Troy and Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills) where you can get the basic mac with toppings ranging from a Cuban theme to lobster or more traditional fare like four cheese.  Now, there are all kinds of local places boasting that they may have the very best in mac and cheese but I have to agree with Andrew, Sweet Lorraine's is up there. It manages to maintain a balance even thought it's finished with a quick bake so it's not too dry and retains that creamy texture of the stove top kind. Andrew loves it best with cheddar and bacon. I have to agree the more traditional toppings are better too! You can get all fancy and get it truffled with button mushrooms or some pesto, but sometimes basic simple fare done will is just better.

My husband got the fish and chips. Like I said they have a little kick. It is accompanied by some of the best french fries around - true shoestring. I don't know why but their cole slaw is really good too. Really creamy and also with a little kick.

Are you curious what I got? I know you are. . . I mixed it up a little bit last night. I had a petite Caesar salad topped with fried clams. Sweet Lorraine's uses crisp fresh romaine lettuce. I know that sounds basic but I can't tell you how many places end up having sitting around way too long lettuce that is warm and kind of soggy from being tossed with the dressing in advance. The crispy clams just really add a new dimension to the salad and instead of croutons you get a wonderful Parmesan cheese crisp that is quite delicious and probably gluten free.

I also had a "small plate" of pear and brie quesadillas. This used to be a standard dish on Lorraine's menu years back and then used to moonlight as a special. It's come back a little updated and much improved. The triangles are topped with a chipolte cremora rather than little bits of herbs sandwiched with the filling so it's more subtle. There is also a side of hot pepper jelly that adds a really nice sweet accompaniment to the smoky brie and chipolte. All in all this was a lovely little plate of yumminess. I have to say that there are great little dishes to sample and share at Sweet Loraine's and I was really torn between this and a portebella pizza with blue cheese sauce and whole wheat crust.

Dakota really likes their kid's cheeseburgers. I can emphasize how much but she doesn't waver from them and thinks that hands down their burgers are the best. Medium rare, with a side of fries, hold the pickle. I think she asked for cheddar last night to top it off. She also may have discovered a pickle hiding under those fries but I can't confirm or deny that. It didn't taint it too bad because she asked to take over 1/2 of her burger home and had it for breakfast this morning without complaint. I should add that Andrew had at least 1/2 of his mac and cheese to enjoy today as well. I had nothing :-( as I ate it all with enthusiasm yesterday.

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