Howe’s Bayou

The Joint

22848 Woodward Ave
Ferndale, MI 48220
Phone: 248-691-7145


Ahh, Howe’s. For me, this is one of the culinary pleasures of returning to the Detroit area for a visit. We used to live pretty much around the corner from it, so my high esteem for the place might be tainted with nostalgia. Seems like the Metro Times doesn’t share my appreciation, but that’s OK with me. I know what I like from them, and it’s the Atchafalaya chicken (chicken breast with a wonderful rub of, among other things, cardamom on a bed of rice and corn and peppers, a.k.a., maque choux). They also have a nice selection of beers — some local (to New Orleans, because after all, this is a cajun joint), and some international.

And who (besides Nargan, I guess) could turn down the jalapeño corn bread? This place will stay one of my favorites.


Missing Howe’s is what drove me to learn to cook Cajun (and import ingredients that the Germans don’t bother with). I was a red-beans-and-rice aficionada, branching out into jambalaya with the occasional po’ boy. Unfortunately, upon returning to Howe’s, I find I prefer my own versions of my favorites now! But their cornbread and baked mac’n’cheese are still favorites.


The Joint

2850 W Maple Rd.
Troy, MI 48084-7001
Phone: +1 248 816 2000

We took Carolyn and Max here on advice from an Iranian colleague of mine in Regensburg (she’s from Troy). She said it would blow La Shish outta the water. I have to disagree. It was good, but it couldn’t topple La Shish down off of the pedestal upon which I have placed it.

We got the Falafel platter for starters and had high hopes after that — it was great. They weren’t shy about the garlic in the dipping sauce, and the pickled beets were a little more…I don’t know “real” looking and tasting than the typical “hi-liters” you get at La Shish. I liked ’em. The bread that came with the meal was good; there were chewy pitas and crispy…um, also pitas, I think, to choose from. I guess I would have preferred the still-warm freshly-baked rolls typical of La Shish, but these were still fine. Even better would have been a creamy garlic paste in which to dunk the bread, but no such luck.

Max (also a connoisseur of Middle Eastern fare) and I thought it fair and balanced to throw Grape Leaves a slow pitch for their first at-bat with us. We both ordered Shawarma with Hummous (he got the chicken, I got the lamb), so there could be an even basis for comparison with La Shish (my fave) and other Middle Eastern restaurants he’s familiar with. I can’t speak for his chicken (imagine though, if I could!), but I thought my lamb was a little on the dry side.

Judgement: pretty good, but La Shish (at least the one in Troy, whose ambience factors in) has got nothing to worry about. Grape Leaves is good (thanks for the recommendation, Mariam), but if I’m in Troy, I’ll go to La Shish next time.

I’m still looking for a contender; Carolyn says she and Max know places in Dearborn even better than La Shish. I say, “show me!”


The Joint

Shogun Japanese Steak House
37750 VAN DYKE
Phone: +1 (586) 268-4882

This was my first time at a Japanese steak house. I had one of the combos our pal Heather recommended (filet and scallops, I think). I liked all the extra grilled stuff (fried rice, grilled vegetables, etc.) that came with the meal along the way. But I am sure glad that she treated us that night (thanks again Heather!); I am sure those prices would have kept me away otherwise. It was definitely cool to watch our meal being cooked right in front of us, and it tasted great too, but I’d just as soon not watch the preparation and pay a smaller price.

Again, good food and interesting to watch, but if you have to pay for it yourself, probably not worth it in my opinion.

This in no way detracts from my gratitude toward Heather for taking us out and (finally) giving us a chance to shoot the breeze with her!

La Shish

The Joint

22039 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, Michigan 48124


La Shish, oh how I miss my La Shish. Most people are probably familiar with La Shish thanks to Dearborn (in fact, that’s how I first tried it), but my favorite La Shish has always been the one in Troy. For some reason, it’ just a nicer atmosphere – smaller and quieter and much more brightly lit.

I often think about how darn good the little things at La Shish are. For instance, I’ve never quite had a salad dressing like the one on the standard house salad at La Shish. It’s light and zesty at the same time.

Another Cliff-pleaser: “mediterranean salsa” as an appetizer. Don’t eat too much though – it’s easy to fill up on that and the other starters (hummous with “highlighters” and their freshly-baked bread). Save room for a nice traditional arayis (get rice on the side instead of potatoes), or a fancier shawarma or ghallaba dish. You’ll need it, trust me.


After moving to Detroit, this was my first experience with Middle Eastern cuisine. Now I’m hooked. La Shish helped me develop a taste for lamb, couscous, hummus, turmeric and nutmeg and cinnamon and cloves and any number of exotic flavors. I usually got the traditional Arayis (thin, delicate pita filled with onion, ground lamb and pine nuts served with almond rice) or Ghallaba (rice and vegetable pilaf (sometimes with chicken or lamb) with lots of seasonings). Just wonderful! Cliff’s loyalty is well-placed.