Of all the cuisines available in Detroit proper — satisfying burgers, award-winning pizza, coneys, Middle Eastern, etc. — one thing that I thought we could always use more of is Japanese food. Finally, it’s coming.
Not that Detroit was void of sushi. Joe Muer, Wasabi Korean & Japanese Cuisine and even Fishbone’s in Greektown are all options, but as the new restaurants started marching in, few were serving mainly raw fish and rice. Now, a small wave of sushi restaurants have opened or are opening in the city.
Maybe it’s because of the location of my office — the Federal Reserve building — but the most anticipated opening, to me, is Maru Sushi Detroit in the same building, at 160 W. Fort.
Big on presentation and service, Maru has locations in Grand Rapids, Midland and two in the Lansing area. If the Maru location is anything like them, expect inventive sushi rolls like the popular crouching tiger with panko fried shrimp, crab salad and cream cheese topped with more shrimp, avocado, three kinds of sauces, masago and scallions.
Maru’s restaurants use thoughtful plating and the sushi chefs aren’t afraid to get creative with the many sauces, including eel sauce, honey wasabi aioli, Korean condiment gochujang sauce, spicy mayo and others. On a visit to the East Lansing restaurant last month, I noticed something I rarely see in Japanese restaurants: women sushi chefs.
The downtown Detroit Maru has floor-to-ceiling glass on two walls and a high ceiling, which looks up to the building’s mezzanine level. A few details of the 3,400-square-food restaurant were released by Rossetti architects (also in the Federal Reserve Building) in June. While no opening date has been announced, Maru Sushi is expected to debut before the end of October. The restaurant is currently hiring front- and back-of-house positions.
For some new sushi available now, check out the new Super Happy Sushi, a former pop-up that now resides permanently in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. It has replaced Cafe 78, a bar and restaurant operated by the team behind Wright & Company and the Sugar House. The craft cocktails remain, though, to complement the signature and classic rolls. The favorite item here is the “all that and a bag of chips” roll, a spicy tuna roll topped with crumbled Better Made potato chips.
A pop-up that’s still in nomad mode, check out Dr. Sushi. This sustainable sushi-maker appears regularly at St. Cece’s Pub’s pop-up nights. Dr. Sushi also does catering and classes like the one he’s hosting Nov. 3 at the Great Lakes Culinary Center. Find him on Facebook for more info.
Coming later, Itadaku, a recent semi-finalist in the Hatch Detroit grant contest, will also strive to bring sustainable sushi to Detroit. This means they’ll only serve food from responsible fisheries open about how and where their fish were caught.
The vibe of Itadaku will be “fine-casual,” and with chef Mike Han also being a visual artists, expect some beautiful plating. Han formerly worked at Roka Akor in Chicago, which was named one of the top 10 sushi restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit.
The original plan was to open on Trumbull in Corktown, but Han said this week that plan has been scrapped. A new location will be revealed later.
“Rest assured that we are committed to open in Detroit, and will create a special experience with sushi and art,” he said.
■While on the subject of sushi, Japanese-inspired eatery Chubby Duck Detroit recently closed for renovations. They are reworking their seating and counter space in order to be more efficient. The spot, 208 E. Grand River, will be back to serving cone-style sushi as soon as construction is finished.
■Detroit hotspot Grey Ghost began serving brunch last week. Seven main dishes include staples like eggs Benedict, steak and eggs and quiche, plus inventive offerings like Boston cream pancakes, fried bologna hash and a peanut butter and jelly doughnut. Brunch is offered 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Call (313) 262-6534 for a reservation.
■Bistro 82 has added new menu items for fall, including a carrot salad, Scottish salmon, roasted cobia and sea scallop. The Royal Oak restaurant offers a filet and Cabernet pairing for $25 every Tuesday. On Wednesdays diners can get half off any bottle of wine under $100. Call (248) 542-0082.