Saturday, February 22, 2014

Restaurant Review: Green Dot Stables

How Did I Miss This One?!!!

I missed this on two levels. 1. Somehow despite my repeated documented experiences on this blog, I have not yet mentioned this wonderful place. 2. I have lived in a suburb of Detroit for years and did not find this wonderful place until 6 months ago.

Good food and drink in a historic Detroit setting. Think old school 1960's that hasn't had an overhaul in a while. Old wood tables and chairs. A bar that is definitely vintage. Old saloon doors to enter the establishment. . . Decorations include old jockey and Detroit memorabilia including black and white photos at the horse races with some photoshop action adding green.

We have all had a burger. They are a staple of American cuisine and come in all sorts of varieties ranging from the classic versions (beef patty with cheese) to the more exotic versions with many offerings in terms of meats and toppings. Green Dot Stables has the whole gamut covered with their version of sliders. These little gems range in price from 2 to 3 dollars and I know I personally can not stop with just one. Choices, choices, choices. You can have a cheeseburger with onion and pickles, or other classic fare such as a BBQ Bacon with sweet potato and BBQ sauce. Vegetarian? You can have a grilled cheese, a Quinoa Burger with Kale and Chimchurri, or a Tempeh with wasabi mayo and Wakame Salad. You can even have a PB&J with peanut butter and raspberry chipolte jelly.

I can't stress the variety of choices. The menu currently boasts 21 (yes 21) different sliders to choose from including the "Mystery Meat". Mystery Meat you ask? Well that's a choice that changes weekly but I have personally experienced Goat with Habanaro Mango chutney and a Meatloaf made with a variety of meats topped with grilled onions and lime mayo recently. Sometimes it's duck, or braised short ribs, or even things way out like buffalo tongue and bull testicles.

I have to say that there was a time that I would look at a certain ingredient and say "no way" internally in my head. I might ask the waitstaff to hold an item or topping but I have learned that Green Dot knows what they are doing and I order them as is with reckless abandon. I will say that other family members that I frequent this place with do NOT do that. Cheeseburgers are always minus pickles or onions, etc. etc. But I have found that Green Dot balances flavors and that often it's a little symphony with a perfect mixture of savory and sweet, salty with heat. I recommend letting them do their thing.

So with so many choices, I have my own favorite list. Let's call it the Top 5 List. I will rank them in descending order like a countdown, so that there will be a little supsense as you get to my #1. Don't look ahead!!!! Wait for it.

Debra's Top 5 List  of Green Dot Sliders. . . . 

insert drumroll here

5. Coney Dog

Hot dog with venison chili and mustard. This was a recent discovery and it's a great interpretation of the Detroit classic taste with a twist. If you like Coneys it's worth a try.

4. Fried Bologna

Dearborn Brand Bologna with fried onions. It's a nice little piece of bologna (it may be a ring bologna) and they cook it to a really good texture with the thickness. They add some grilled onions and it's pure comfort food.

3. Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken with Sage Maple Syrup

Boneless chicken breast fried with Panko crumbs without being too dry. It's drizzled with sage infused maple syrup. It's a complex balanced treat and that maple syrup is a wonderful addition of sweetness with the herbs and the chicken. I know a lot of people that would rank this as their favorite Green Dot slider. I should put in a disclaimer that chicken is not my favorite choice in protein but I really think this is a great take on the slider.

2. Corned Beef

Wigley's corned beef with sauerkraut, pickles and a mustard ailoi. That mustard has a bit of heat and it balances with the sour flavors. The corned beef itself is some of the best I have had, with a buttery texture that just falls apart because it's so tender. Add a white bread slider bun and it's a perfect little meal.

1. Korean

Beef patty with peanut butter and kimchi. It's number one for a reason and while you may think initially that this makes no sense as a combination I think it's the best burger there. Of course if you don't know what kimchi is this may be a bit offputting, or maybe less. Kimchi is a Korean side dish made up of fermented vegetables and is typically spicy and pickled in flavor. Mostly I have had Kimchi with cabbage and I think this is what Green Dot uses. So again, this beef burger is topped with Kimchi and peanut butter and it's the bomb! Peanut butter, a new staple for burger toppings in my house even when we aren't at Green Dot!

Clockwise starting from top left: Corned Beef, Korean, Fried Bologna and "Mystery Meat": Meatloaf made from a variety of proteins with Grilled Onions and Lime Mayo

Burgers are the main reason to visit Green Dot but I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the other aspects of this place. Besides burgers there are also hearty soups to choose from including recently a spicy hot clam chowder that had bacon and sirachi sauce in it along with some diced potatoes. Hearty wonderful soup. What's a burger without fries? Well they have a few choices of different varieties of flavors added to thin crispy fries such as Cajun or truffle herb. There are also salads and while if you are having a burger you probably aren't completely health conscious, the kale salad is very good with quinoa and lemon vinaigrette.

Cocktails. This is definitely a place to also have a drink. Sure they have a good variety of beer but you should have a cocktail. To me, with the history of this place (The Purple Gang uses to hang out here and if they were the ones to keep Detroit supplied with alcohol during the Prohibition perhaps we should salute them), it's almost mandatory. Cocktails are in the $3 range so I've tried quite a few. Mint Julep is a classic with the jockey theme. I recently had a rum spritzer with rum, ginger ale, grapefruit soda and mint. Quite refreshing. There is also a Mystery Cocktail offered each week.

There are often little surprises as Green Dot. Of course with mystery meats and cocktail offerings each week, there are going to be surprises. I have visited quite a few times (we won't try to add the visits up) for lunch, dinner, just the middle of the day. . . Recently while at lunch, the waitstaff mentioned a "special appetizer". Special appetizers?!!! Since when. It was this little whimsical artichoke heart, stuffed with an artichoke kale dip and topped with a fried tortilla chip thing. So cute and so delicious. By the way it was a dollar!

If you haven't been to Green Dot, I suggest you go but it's going to take some planning on your part. With food and prices like this, this place is hot. You can never anticipate if it's going to be crowded at off hours but it's a given that in the evening or lunch that this place may involve a two hour wait. On a Friday or Saturday night there is a little annex to drink at picnic tables while you wait and often it's entertaining to hear the improvised names for parties as they are called to come eat (one day the theme was cereals. . . Captain Crunch, Smurfberry, etc.). They do not take reservations and your whole party must be present. Strategies? 1. Wait for a horrible snowstorm of which we have had plenty this year. They might be empty at 2PM due to bad weather. 2. Go at 11:30 sharp on a weekday. You may be the first one there for lunch. 3. Call and see what the line looks like and then rush over if it's a slow day, 4. Put your name in and drive around for a bit.

It's worth it. 

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