Brie, Mozzarella & Gouda: A Cheese Lover's Guide to Local Dining


It’s getting to be that time of year when the temperature drops significantly, and with that, gone is the desire to dine lightly on salad and grilled chicken. The fall season brings hibernation mode, when many of us seek comfort foods to warm us from the inside out. And what is one of the very best comfort foods around? Cheese.

Cheese can be turned into countless different dishes, from appetizers to entrees to desserts. I don’t know about you, but when a recipe calls for a “sprinkling” of cheese atop something, I tend to ignore that suggestion and accidentally drop a heavy handful instead. If you’re looking for some cheesy goodness this weekend other than the Lifetime network, you’ll want to consult the following list of cheesy dishes in the D.

I now present you with “The Essential 11 Cheese Dishes of Metro Detroit,” in no particular order:

Mozzarella sticks

The Majestic Café, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit, is located in Midtown in the Majestic Theater complex. Here, you’ll find mozzarella sticks rolled in Italian breadcrumbs and served with pomodoro and pesto dipping sauces. Take note that happy hour takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., when you can enjoy those cheesy babies for half price!

Baked Brie

The Metropolitan Café, 52969 Van Dyke Ave., Shelby Twp., is a bit on the fancier side, but not too upscale to reject something as simple as cheese. Try the Crispy Brie Cheese Triangles for Two as an appetizer the next time you’re out with your sweetheart. The crispy imported cheese bites are accompanied with Michigan apple chutney, crackers and candied pecans. If you’ve never had baked Brie before, you haven’t lived.

OPA! (Flaming cheese)

Pegasus, 558 Monroe Ave., Detroit, is one of my personal favorite restaurants in Greektown. If you like your cheese so melted that it was just lit on fire at your very table, you’ll want to head this way immediately. Greek Kasseri cheese and brandy makes for an incredibly decadent appetizer. I must recommend the Pastitsio while you’re there, too.

Cheese platter

Traffic Jam & Snug, 511 W. Canfield St., Detroit, has been in Midtown for nearly 50 years, and I couldn’t write a cheese article without including this place because, well, the restaurant makes its own cheese. Try TJ’s Own Cheese Platter for lunch, which consists of a variety of house cheeses, strawberries and hazelnut-fig compote. Don’t forget to wash it down with a house brew like Rust Belt Brown or Citrus Session IPA.

Cheese bread

Guido’s Premium Pizza, with several locations in the Metro Detroit area, is home to some of the best cheese bread in the area. Trust me, I had plenty of this in my college days (Guido’s is also all the way in East Lansing—Go Green!). “Motz” Bread is covered in mozzarella cheese, Muenster cheese, Parmesan cheese, butter and garlic. This heavenly bread is served with your choice of dipping sauce: Guido’s original recipe, chunky tomato or spicy fire roasted. Hey, tomatoes contain lycopene, which is scientifically proven to lower one’s risk for various diseases. Do yourself a favor and eat some cheese bread!

Cheese soup

Detroit Beer Company, 1529 Broadway St., Detroit, has up to eight of its brews on tap at a time, and some of those beers even make their way into the food! Forget the burger this time and try the Detroit Beer Cheese Soup, made with Muenster cheese and Detroit Ale. It’s served in a beer grain bread bowl with a side salad (because, ya know, greens are kind of important amongst all this cheese).

Cheese ravioli

Amantea Restaurant, 32777 Warren Rd., Garden City, has been serving up made-from-scratch Italian food for approximately 40 years. At this point, the folks at Amantea obviously know what they’re doing when it comes to Italian food—especially cheesy Italian food. Try the “pick a pasta” with cheese ravioli topped with creamy Alfredo sauce and even more Parmesan cheese on top.

Potatoes au gratin

The Whitney, 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit, is one of Detroit’s most historic buildings, that just so happens to be a mansion. This place is the definition of class, so please dress accordingly. While the sophisticated entrée choices on the dinner menu will surely impress, no matter what you do, make sure to order the Crab & Shrimp Potato Au Gratin side dish, which can be found under “Sharable Sides.” At nearly $20, the price for this add-on might be what you regularly pay for an entrée itself, but allow yourself this indulgence, just this once.

Grilled cheese

Hermann’s Olde Town Grille, 195 W. Liberty St., Plymouth, is located in Plymouth’s Old Village, and allows you to indulge in both cheese and fall flavors at once. The menu’s Special Grilled Cheese consists of Gouda and Muenster cheese, bacon and granny smith apples on raisin bread. It doesn’t get more “fall” than apples, right? The sandwich is served with chips, or you can substitute fries, hummus, onion straws or a side salad. But really, it’s all about the cheese.

Mac and cheese

R.U.B. BBQ Pub, with locations in Detroit and Ann Arbor, is one of Detroit’s many barbecue joints. This one just so happens to make some of the best mac and cheesy cheese around. You can add Texas beef brisket, Tennessee pulled pork or pulled chicken to the top if you’re one of those people who can’t eat a meal without meat. The entrée is served with your choice of two sides, and the real question is, can I make both sides mac n’ cheese?

Cheesecake

Peteet’s Famous Cheesecakes, 13835 W. 9 Mile Rd., Oak Park, just opened its secondary location in West Bloomfield earlier this month. You’ll turn your nose up at plain ol’ cheesecake for the rest of your days after trying out some of Peteet’s flavors like Strawberry Shortcake Vodka Cheesecake, Apple Crumb Cheesecake, French Vanilla Cappuccino Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cheesecake and Peach Cobbler Cheesecake. Peteet’s also offers sugar free and gluten free options, and there are free samples daily. Yes, I said daily.

Cheese is quite the diverse food item, as it can be converted into just about anything, including dessert. When it comes to comfort food, the cheesier the better, right? These Metro Detroit restaurants certainly take that notion to heart.