Exotic Eats in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | August 13, 2013
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While I am an avid Food Network fan who loves to cook, I’m not quite fond of the term “foodie.” Apparently that’s how people who like food are labeled, but really, who isn’t into food?

While I love both eating and cooking, I can also be a bit picky, which means I draw the line with certain things. For example, any food that could be found on “Fear Factor” shall never pass these lips. Similarly, I’m not going to consume anything that has tentacles—they belong in the sea, not on my plate.

I may not be an incredibly adventurous eater, but I know there are some of you out there. If there weren’t, why would alligator bites and oxtail be readily available in our own backyard, er, nearby restaurants?

Should you be an exploratory “foodie,” please read on. However, if you’re squeamish, you might want to skip ahead to the next article.

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When Anthony Bourdain was recently in town to film an episode of his TV show, “Parts Unknown,” he chowed down on oxtail at Full Belly in Detroit. If you’d like to follow in his daring footsteps, check out the following restaurants:

The Quarter Bistro & Tavern, 300 S. Maple Rd., Ann Arbor, has Alligator Voodoo on its appetizer menu. The breaded bits of alligator tenderloin are deep fried and served with a special house sauce. My family ordered this while we were all out for dinner one night and I refused to sample it, so I can’t exactly provide a review. You’ll have to test it for yourself!

Motor City Soul Food, 12700 W. 7 Mile Rd., Detroit, is known for its southern food, with the likes of fish, fried pork chops and mac n’ cheese gracing the menu. If you’re looking for some more unique soul food options, however, I would suggest ordering the oxtails. While I’ve never tried them (and don’t particularly plan to), if you truly consider yourself a foodie who would want to make Mr. Bourdain proud, you know what you have to do.

Al-Ajami Restaurant, 14633 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn, has several menu items that are not for the faint of heart, including a Beef Tongue or Veal Brain Sandwich. If you prefer them sans bread, you can get both for an appetizer as well. Chicken Liver is also on the appetizer menu—it’s served hot and sautéed with onions and tomatoes.

Corridor Sausage Co. sells its products online and at Eastern Market and the Royal Oak Farmers Market. While they offer several run-of-the-mill options like Chorizo, Buffalo Chicken and Bacon & Beer Brat with Aged Swiss, there are also a few more unique choices like Venison & Berry and Moroccan Lamb & Fig. One Charcuterie choice is Citrus & Spice Duck Rillette, which consists of duck confit, orange and various spices.

Sheeba Restaurant, 8752 Joseph Campau St., Hamtramck, was featured on Andrew Zimmerman’s “Bizzare Foods” episode in Detroit. If you want to be like Andrew, you too can try the Lamb Kidney Sub. Perhaps start the meal with some Lamb Soup as well. You know what they say! When in Rome…

If you’re an adventurous eater and/or could be on “Fear Factor” without any issues, there’s no need to go far from home for such an experience. As you now know, there are several exotic and unique eats right in Metro Detroit.