Eatóri Market (Detroit, MI)

Well, every year my group of friends descends on a different city for a ~20 mile march through town, with side explorations into the museum, food, beer, and cocktail scenes that the city has to offer. This year, our destination was Detroit (an old favorite of mine, and a frequent destination of mine for Robotics volunteering), and my long time friend and former college roommate Brian lives there as well. This visit, we started with a visit to a place I had enjoyed on my previous visit in April: Eatori Market. Located in the lobby of the Malcomson Building on Griswold with a nice outdoor patio space opposite Capitol Park, unlike a lot of places with “Market” in the name, Eatóri is actually a market, with a decent selection of high-end produce, pasta, sauces, and similar (mostly Italian) light groceries, and is probably well-received by the folks that actually live in the nearby buildings (Downtown Detroit may be reviving and even gentrifying, but it’s still a classic “Food Desert” with respect to groceries). But the front of the store is also a ~15 stool dining counter, a handful of tables, and some outdoor seating, providing a nice menu of light dinners, appetizers, and a good selection of beer, wine, and house-crafted cocktails.

We started off with one of the hot and trendy foods of 2019: grilled shishito peppers. I’m not really sure why these have sprung to the forefront recently, but it’s one of the food trends I’ve liked: start with some good, still firm shishito peppers, and then sear them on all sides until thoroughly blistered and serve up with salt. These are one of those great examples of a simple dish that can really please, and Eatóri’s version is no slouch: nicely executed, with just a titch of orange, and a reasonably large portion for the price. I’d happily get these as a snack with bear or cocktails if I wasn’t having dinner.

On a previous visit here, I had enjoyed a nicely executed tartare (since I wasn’t particularly hungry at that time), and Brian had had a most-enjoyable hamburger (one of the best he’s had), but this time, I wanted to try one of their signature dishes: the fried chicken. Pitched as “Umami Fried Chicken”, it’s actually a fairly spicy rendition, served up over a bed of wilted spinach greens and a creamy, habanero-based sauce. The chicken itself was nicely executed: fried chicken can be anyplace on the spectrum between a thin and wispy breading (like that at Willie Mae’s or a more substantial, almost bread-like coating, and this was the latter, but it still retained an enjoyable crisp. The chicken itself was nicely tender and moist, and when combined with the greens and the sauce, this had both the namesake umami, as well as a nice, bold peppery flavor that paired well with the breading. I’d happily enjoy this fried chicken another time.

So far, my visits to Eatóri are two-for-two, both times having a thoroughly enjoyable lighter meal with some good beer and cocktails, in a pleasant and efficient dining room. I’d love to come back on a future visit, get some more of their great tartare, and try some more of their menu like the burger, steak, or duck bolognese.

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