The name of this snappy new spot on the corner of Woodward and Willis in the heart of the Midtown district refers to the latitude and longitude of the Mediterranean/mideastern region from which the menu takes its inspiration.
And that means it serves the fare of such countries as Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Iraq and others that have inspired the appealing offerings from the open kitchen that stretches across one wall.
Here’s how 2941 Street Food works: Diners take a metal tray and move along the counter in front of the kitchen, picking the size portion they want, from the mini bowl of five items at $8 to the top of the scale, the $16.50 bazaar meal which includes a portion of pretty much everything turned out by the chefs headed by Nic Saad.
Each bowl includes rice, a protein, ranging from tandoori chicken, grilled lamb, pork or chuck steak, one of the eight sauces, followed by a choice of pickled vegetable (torshi) such as turnips and beets, mushrooms or Turkish peppers, then a portion of one of five salads. Those who prefer may choose the items stuffed sandwich style rather than the bowl. The bread is warm, housemade samoon, a diamond-shaped Iraqi bread, and it is notable.
It’s important to note that substitutions aren’t frowned on, in fact, they are encouraged. Don’t want rice? Have hummus instead. Or more salad. Or pickled vegetables. It’s up to the diner.
The service may be cafeteria style, but there’s an advantage in being to choose the combinations before taking a seat at one of the knotty-pine picnic tables under open-filament bulbs shaded by rustic straw baskets. Over the nine-seat bar — which is scheduled to open Friday — in one corner of the 50-some seat spot are colorful glass hanging lamps, and these touches help take away any sense of a fast food setting.
This is fast/casual dining with real style. The food is obviously fresh, and management maintains the ingredients are all natural.
Just a glance around the handsomely designed space indicates that 2941 Street Food is no amateur production. In fact, the Midtown outpost is the second of the local 2941 locations, with the first at 87 W. Auburn in Rochester Hills and a third opening soon at 176 Old Woodward in Birmingham. The brain trust headed by chef Jacques Van Staden has thought of pretty much everything.
And they would have been pleased had they seen the two very well-known Detroit restaurateurs who were having lunch at the spot this week, and especially when these gentlemen noted that it was their third visit to 2941.
It’s off to a good start.
2941 Street Food
4219 Woodward at Willis, Detroit
Call: (313) 338-3466
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Prices:Snacks $4-$6, soup $4, main dish bowls or sandwiches $8-$16.50
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Small list of wine, beer and signature cocktails debuts Friday
Noise level: Moderate
Parking: Street or nearby lots
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good
★★1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent
★★★★ — outstanding