Lemons are one of the hardest working fruits a home cook or a professional chef can have in the kitchen, and one look at the menus of Metro Detroit restaurants show they feel the same way. From the bright citrus interior to the fresh zing of its juice to the tartness of its peels, lemons bring acid and intensity to many dishes, especially drinks and desserts.
Whether you want to wake something up or make it taste more complex, lemons are an inventive way to boost the flavor profile. A drink goes from simple to satisfying and a dessert ramps up from sweet to sensational. Lemons work this way because they jump start the taste receptors on the tongue, helping beverages and after-meal treats more interesting.
So the next time you’re looking across the wide array of foods and drinks you can carry out or consume on a sunny outdoor patio, look for how the chef is amping up the flavor and cutting through the richness with a zest for all things lemon.
Here are five Metro Detroit bars, bakeries and restaurants that give lemons a starring role across their menus.
If you’re looking for the perfect dish to bring to a family reunion or to enjoy one piece at a time at home, look no further than Lana’s Bake Shop. Its popular Lemon Cake is a crowd pleaser. The Lemon Cake is a double whammy with a lemon curd in between each layer and lemon cream-cheese icing. Its pound cake also as a signature lemon glaze. In case you need one more option, consider the Limonchello, which is a light lemon cake with mascarpone frosting.
Oprah is a fan of Detroit’s Lush Yummies Pie Company, and if Oprah says it is so, then it is so. Its Lemon Butta Pie is fresh baked with local ingredients and is a fourth-generation recipe. This family classic is a decadent mix between cheesecake and lemon meringue pie – which is why it made it to Oprah’s Favorite Things list for September 2020 in “O” magazine. Because of its popularity and limited quantities, you must order ahead.
There is a large variety of wings on the menu at the Detroit Wing Company, but the Lemon Pepper is one that should be added to every fan’s must-try list. This wing is tossed in butter and loaded with classic lemon pepper flavor. It pairs great with a cold beer loaded up with hops, which brings out the lemon zest in every bite.
Sterling Heights residents and Boba fans know that Kuma’s fresh-squeezed lemonades are like summer in a bottle. Its Pink Lemonade can be served as a regular drink or as a Slush. It includes its fresh squeezed lemonade blended with its Butterfly pea extract. If you want something a little sweeter, try the Strawberry Lemonade made with what taste likes a fresh field of ripe strawberries.
So many options, so worth your time to try them all. Sugar House has one of the best drink menus in Metro Detroit, and its lemon-infused drinks are among its best. It all starts with a classic Whiskey sour. Then you can responsibly try its Adversary RTD with Plantation Original Dark rum, vanilla, lemon, blackberry syrup and Boylan birch beer. There’s Detective Inspector RTD with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cardamaro, lemon, maple syrup, Cruzan black and Angostura. This Corktown bar also has a Lavender Lemonade that is made with Michigan-grown lavender syrup, Liberator gin and fresh lemon juice. You can order it to go where each 12-ounce bottle makes two drinks.