Food & Drink

Gallery: Southwest Detroit's 2nd Restaurant Week Showcases Latin Food Variety

October 01, 2019, 6:00 AM by  Alan Stamm

Asty Time Dominican Cuisine, 7340 McGraw Ave., will serve Filete de Pescado al Coco -- fish sauteed in spiced coconut milk, with rice and fried plantain. (Photos by Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez)

If this preview doesn't make you hungry, you must've just eaten.

Photos tease some of the off-menu items to be offered at Southwest Detroit Restaurant Week, an Oct. 4-13 event with 24 participants representing seven countries. Yes, this neighborhood's meals reach way beyond tacos, burritos and refried beans.

Its diverse Latin tastes come from chefs preparing dishes from Honduras, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and regions of Mexico. 

"While much of Southwest Detroit is identified as Mexicantown," the event site says, "there is a vast variety of other countries represented in all the foods of this dynamic area of the city." 

Los Altos Restaurant, 7056 W. Vernor Hwy., is the only participant offering a special dessert -- capirotada, made with toasted bread sweetened in piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), raisins, pecans, coconut and sweet milk. It's typically served in Mexico during Lent or at holidays.

Restaurant Week is organized by business owner Monica Echeverri Casarez and Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez, a Cass Tech graduate ('07) and marketing agency owner. He took these 13 appetizing photos and created (with help from his wife, Joanna) a comprehensive site with detailed food descriptions, regional context, location maps and parking information.

Chef Norberto Garitra at El Barzon Restaurante on Junction Avenue, for example, will serve entomatadas -- rolled tortillas filled with queso fresco, topped with a tomato salsa and avocado. At El Asador Steakhouse on Springwells, Chef Luis Garza offers lamb chops atop shredded lamb shoulder.

Selections elsewhere during the ten days include shrimp-filled poblano peppers, vegetarian ceviche, stuffed sushi and Mexican-style octopus (all shown below).

Unlike other restaurant weeks, this one sponsored by the Southwest Detroit Business Association doesn't have uniform lunch and dinner prices and doesn't use reduced-price samples to introduce "otherwise out-of-reach restaurant experiences," the website explains, adding: 

Since the price point of the meals is already quite affordable, the goal is to present a "heritage dish" that is representative of the culture and country of each restaurant. The dish will only be available during the celebratory week.

We hope that the experience will make it easy to try new foods and enjoy a meal prepared as a full cultural experience. 

Here's a look at what organizers and chefs mean by that. Buen provecho -- disfrúta tu comida!

"Del Mar Dream" at Mariscos El Salpicon, 8600 W. Vernor Hwy., reflects the cuisine of Nayarit, México, with seafood, shrimp, prawns, mussels and octopus, served with rice and salad.

Entomatadas at El Barzon Restaurante, 3710 Junction Ave., are rolled tortillas filled with queso fresco, topped with a tomato salsa with Mexican spices, lettuce, crema mexicana and avocado.

Cecina Asada at La Rosita, 7849 McGraw Ave., has dried beef, salt, oil, beans, rice, nopales, onion, jalapeño, avocado, tomato and cheese. Its roots are in Michoacan, México.

Señor Lopez Restaurant, 7146 Michigan Ave., will serve Agujas Hidalgo -- two skewers with a choice of meat over Mexican rice, with two grilled meat enchiladas (green or red salsa), onions and peppers. This combo represents the cuisine of Hidalgo, México.

Pulpo Enojado is octopus cooked in butter, garlic and other seasoning. It's Mexican fare at La Terraza, 8445 W. Vernor Hwy.

A shrimp-stuffed Poblano pepper comes with cheese and chipotle sauce at Centro Botanero, 2303 Campbell St. As alternatives, fish or cheese can fill this Mexican-style chile relleno. It comes with pork beans and white rice with carrots.

At El Asador Steakhouse, 1312 Springwells St., the northern Mexico selection is Chuleta de Borrego con Barbacoa -- double-bone lamb chops served over slow-cooked, shredded lamb shoulder. They're served with rice, black bean stew and green salsa.

Peso Bar, a newcomer at 2547 Bagley Ave., offers three black enchiladas with chicken and cheese (queso chihuahua), topped with mole sauce, queso fresco and cream. It's pure Mexico.

At Taqueria El Nacimiento, 7400 W. Vernor Hwy., the restaurant week special is carne en su jugo -- chopped steak stew with bacon and pinto beans in beef broth, served with grilled nopales, grilled onions and avocado.

Antojitos El Catracho, 4627 W. Vernor Hwy., has a Honduran/Salvadoran dish -- Antojitos El Catracho, a steamed fish with coconut milk, accompanied by white rice and seasoned yucca.

Cuban/TexMex fare at Armando's Mexican Restaurant, 4242 W. Vernor Hwy., features roasted poblano peppers, with onions and corn, cooked in cream sauce. The entree includes Spanish rice, fried beans and tortillas.


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