My favorite new carryout: Oak Park's Pink Garlic
While it's been wonderful to be back safely eating inside restaurants this year as indoor dining returns to "normal," carryout is still a huge part of enjoying local flavors and neighborhood favorites.
Once you're sick of Thanksgiving leftovers, I have to suggest a meal from Oak Park's Pink Garlic, a very new carryout-only restaurant at 11 Mile and Coolidge. There are more than 100 items on the menu to try, but I keep returning to the generous serving of creamy butter chicken over lightly seasoned basmati rice.
There's a reason that the phone is always ringing when I come in, and a pick up during weekday dinner time can take 40 minutes to an hour. Don't wait until you're hungry to call in your order. Because Pink Garlic makes everything fresh to order and because it's a popular new place with quality food and friendly service, there is often a long wait.
Co-owner Kamrul Islam, who goes by the name Alfy Rayman, said he and his team have received a very warm welcome from the city of Oak Park and the surrounding communities.
"Fantastic ... it is amazing," he said, giving a shout out to Oak Park mayor Marian McClellan specifically for her support. "All the credit goes to local people who are trying us, they like us, and the most important thing, they are coming back. Within a very short time we are fortunate enough to have such an immense response from the local community around this area."
"These people are food-orientated people," he said. "I'm just trying to represent Indian food around this area and I found this location to be convenient for everybody. I can cover Berkley, Huntington Woods as well as Oak Park, obviously, Birmingham. It's a center part of the area and Oak Park has a got a large number of multicultural diversity."
He says Pink Garlic's menu covers a lot of the popular cuisine from all over India and is similar to the Indian cuisine served in England, where his grandparents first opened a restaurant and where he got his training.
The massive menu offers something for so many diets, and the organic spices and interesting seasonings that go into these dishes make me want to return again and again and try something new.
It's a good value, too. Although it's listed as an appetizer, a perfect lunch is the chicken tikka wrap, diced up bright orange chicken tikka folded into a soft naan wrap with pickle, tomato, lettuce and creamy dressing. It's a steal at $6.99.
Also on the appetizer list are two kinds of samosas, deep fried and crispy papadom, marinated and baked chicken wings and egg rolls. There's more Indian-Chinese fusion on the menu with chicken manchurian, mango chicken (the house's secret recipe), shrimp noodles and hakka noodles with either chicken or vegetables. Rayman said one of their more unique dishes that we don't see a lot around Metro Detroit is naga king prawn, a spicy seafood entrée made with naga chili peppers.
It's tempting to pack your order with little inexpensive additions like the super, super soft and charred naan ($1.99-$3.99) or flavor-packed chutney like mint sauce, spicy pickle or onion salad (75 cents).
Pink Garlic has only been open since October and it's been a very welcome addition to the southern Oakland County food scene. Rayman said he's hoping to open another restaurant down the line, possibly in Ferndale, with a focus on fine dining.
Find Pink Garlic at 26661 Coolidge in Oak Park. View the menu at pinkgarlicmi.com/menu and then call (248) 808-6495 to order, or walk in and order. Pink Garlic is open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 11:30 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. They'll be open on Thanksgiving, too.
Spice Bowl now open in St. Clair Shores
There's a new Indian restaurant on the east side, too. Spice Bowl Indian Grill and Eatery opened less than a week ago with a menu featuring six soups and a long list of vegetarian, chicken, seafood and lamb entrees.
Offering carryout and dine-in service, Spice Bowl is at 24060 Harper where Olga's Kitchen used to be. Call ahead (586) 298-6757 or order online at spicebowlus.com. It's open for lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon., closed on Tuesdays.
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