Mint and Fresh Herbs Add a Kick to Metro Detroit Menus

By: Karen Dybis | May 28, 2021

Photo Courtesy of Firebird Tavern.

In days past, people thought that imported spices were one way to show off your wealth and kitchen prowess. Today, chefs and home cooks alike agree that fresh spices are the best way to kick up the flavor and quality of any meal, especially those drinks and dishes that need something special to elevate them from meh to marvelous. 

Fresh mint is that kind of herb – a dessert or main course that doesn’t have fresh mint when called for in the recipe will immediately fall away instead of standing out. There are many Metro Detroit restaurants and bars that go that extra mile to get fresh herbs and spices such as mint, basil and more to ensure that their offerings are delicious and savory. 

There are many examples of Metro Detroit restaurants making fresh herbs the stars of their dishes. For example, Firebird Tavern makes sure that Derby Day is celebrated even in the Midwest with its heavenly mint juleps and service as Detroit’s unofficial Derby headquarters, according to locals in the know. 

Nearby Golden Fleece also wins accolades for its Greek eats, including the lamb chops served with mint. Greek food generally focuses on fresh herbs and spices throughout its menus, and both Firebird Tavern and Golden Fleece offer a variety of items on their menus that highlight how these ingredients are the proven winners for flavor. 

Here are a few more great spots to stop by when you’re in the mood for mint or some spiciness in your everyday life. 

Mint29

Dearborn’s Mint 29 is an upscale fusion cuisine that serves international dishes. It got its name from the coins found on the walls of the historical building during renovations. The place was built in 1929 and was a federal bank for several years, then a music store before it became a restaurant. Mint 29 serves organic kobe beef, fresh seafood, sushi, signature drinks and draft beer. However, some items change seasonally, mainly in the summer when its chefs get fresh produce from Michigan farmers. Try the Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Cocktail with Cilantro-Mint Coulis or the Margaret and Rita, which has Blue Nectar Reposado, Cointreau, Lime Juice, Real Strawberries and Fresh Basil.

Standby Detroit

There is a great blend of savory and sweet when it comes to how fresh herbs and spices are used at this Detroit favorite. You can start with the Grilled Romaine Salad with green goddess dressing, tomato, olive and fennel. Then add “More Life” with this specialty vodka drink. Which features green chili vodka, passionfruit, demerara, lemon and mint.

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails

Detroiters know there always are fresh herbs on the menu at this Midtown favorite. Check out the Lamb Tartare with black garlic, tarragon, crispy mushroom and cured yolk or the Cold Smoked Salmon with dill. There’s also Blood Orange olive oil cake, which has fennel seed baked right inside. 

Keisling

This Detroit bar is special to locals because they are always innovating with new drinks. There’s the Old Cuban, which has mint along with El Dorado, lime and bitters. Another must-try drink is the Southern Exposure with St. George gin, mint, lime, gomme and celery juice. That definitely will make you feel like you’re eating and drinking well. 

Mudgie’s

They’re experts at sandwiches and deli favorites, but Mudgie’s in Corktown also has a great beer, wine and drink selection. If you want to try something non-alcoholic but also gives you a spicy kick, then you need to sip some of Mudgie’s Detroit Tea. It is its own blend of tea that is slightly sweet with a touch of honey, orange, lemon, mint and cinnamon.

Remember to drink responsibly and plan ahead with a designated driver or take advantage of one of these local designated driving services.