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Wednesday, April 14,2010

BEST DINING

by City Pulse

Appetizers


Houlihan’s


Runners-up: Tavern on the Square and Beggar’s Banquet


The Houlihan’s chain location inside the Lansing Mall was
voted Best Appetizers, after winning last year for Best Happy Hour. Most likely
it’s for the same reason: The Houlihan’s happy hour features select gourmet
starters for $6, including the lettuce wraps, the calamari and the sushi-ish
tuna wontons. There are also a variety of small plates selections and
half-sized salads that allow you to make a meal out of nothing but appetizers.
5732 West Saginaw Highway, Lansing. (517) 323-3550



Asian food


Sansu Sushi & Cocktails


Runners-up: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Thai Food From
Lamai’s Kitchen


The Best Asian Food winner, Sansu Sushi & Cocktails, is
an event dining experience. When you visit, make sure to request the room in
which you can sit in the shoeless section, which is basically an elevated area
with leg holes that give you the appearance of sitting on the floor. Daily
specials allow newbies to gingerly work their way through the menu, and their 40-foot
long sushi bar puts it in the running for the longest in town. Sushi not your
thing? They have a full menu of traditional cooked Asian food as well. 4750 S.
Hagadorn Rd,, East Lansing. (517) 333-1933




Atmosphere


Golden Harvest


Runners-up: Dusty’s and Enso


Lansing loves it some Golden Harvest. The badass
breakfast/lunch place won in four categories, the most out of any other
restaurant: Best Atmosphere, Best Bang for Your Buck, Best Diner, and Best
Breakfast. Owner/pirate-at-heart Zane Vicknair and his band of cooks and
wenches (ahem, waitstaff) have navigated the tchotchke-packed eatery into a
Lansing weekend mainstay. The line out the door of patient, friendly people
seven days a week tells the rest of the story. And giving directions to a
first-timer couldn’t be easier: Just look for the Jolly Roger flag flying out
front. 1625 Turner Street,
Lansing. (517) 485-3663




Bang for your buck:

Golden Harvest


Runners-up: Dagwood's, Nip n' Sip



Bar food


The Peanut Barrel


Runners-up: Dagwood’s and Irish Pub


The Peanut Barrel won for both Best Bar Food and Best Patio
for the second straight year. While the famous Rodeo Burger and chicken dishes
are a cut above the rest of the late-night bar food fare, that patio is
practically a mid-Michigan institution. Seeing people on the patio has become as
ubiquitous a symbol of spring as the first robin—but earthworms have nothing on
a cold draft beer. 521 East Grand
River Ave., East Lansing.

(517) 351-0608




BBQ


Smokey Bones BBQ and Grille


Runners-up: Turkeyman and BYBQQ Downtown


For Best BBQ, our readers went with Eastwood Towne Center’s
Smokey Bones BBQ and Grille, a chain restaurant owned by the Darden Restaurants
(Red Lobster, Olive Garden). One cool service feature is its two sauces — the
brown-sugar-and-chili-tasting Original and corndog-like Carolina Mustard — that
arrive warm in syrup jars. And if you’re not a barbecue aficionado, there’s a
swell combo platter that gives you a little of everything. 2401 Lake Lansing
Rd., Lansing. (517) 316-9973




Bread/bakery


Roma Bakery


Runners-up: Great Harvest and Panera


Featuring everything from paczkis to pasta, Roma Bakery was
voted for Best Bread/Bakery. For 35 years, Roma has specialized in a huge
selection of gourmet and European foods, groceries and bakery goods — and some
of the best smells in town. Want something that will spice up dinner a little
bit tonight? Need a specialty cake? Just looking for a doughnut? Roma is the
place to get it. 428 North Cedar St., Lansing. (517) 485-9466




Breakfast


Golden Harvest


Runners-up: Sawyer's Pancakes, Fleetwood Diner




Burger


Bonnie’s Place


Runners-up: Peanut Barrel and Red Robin


Bonnie’s Place believes in putting the ham back into
hamburger: Their half-pound burger is topped with a quarter-pound of finely
shaved ham, plus American cheese, Swiss cheese and whatever condiments you
like. (Spend the extra 50 cents to make it deluxe, and you get crisp lettuce
and thick slices of tomato.) If the burger doesn’t fill you up, the generous
portions of french fries and/or crisp onion rings will ensure you don’t leave
with an empty tummy. One more bonus: The waitstaff is exceptionally friendly.
If you think bar food is synonymous with bad food, check out Bonnie’s Place and
you’ll think twice. 415 E. Saginaw St., Lansing. (517) 482-4404.




Causal dining


Deluca’s


Runners-up: Soup Spoon Cafe and Golden Harvest


Even though Deluca’s Restaurant has a full menu, this
Italian restaurant in north Lansing is synonymous with the word “pizza.” For
the second year in a row, Deluca’s took top prize for Best Pizza, supplementing
that honor this year with Best Causal Dining as well. A Deluca’s pie is loaded
with toppings so thick you can sometimes barely see the cheese, and the
relaxed, friendly waitstaff make this a pleasant night out any night of the
week (except Sunday, when they’re not open). 2006 W. Willow, Lansing. (517) 487-6087.




Chili


Beggar’s Banquet


Runners-up: Mayfair and Harrison Roadhouse


Remember in “Fried Green Tomatoes” how the secret of life
was “in the sauce”? The secret of the chili at Beggar’s Banquet is in the
spices: not just the chili powder, but the liberal sprinkling of cayenne pepper
that gives the dish a little something special. While many chefs toss ground
beef into their chili, Beggar’s Banquet uses shredded beef. The result is
satisfyingly spicy without being so scorchingly hot that your tongue dials
9-1-1. 218 Abbott Road, East Lansing. (517) 351-4540.




Cocktails


The Exchange


Runners-up: Tavern on the Square and Chrome Cat


The Exchange has 23 types of red, white and sparkling wine
to choose from, eight single malt scotches, 20 specialty martinis, and a host
of high-end liqueurs that’ll buzz you up 10 ways ‘til Tuesday. No wonder they
were voted Best Cocktails. Oh yeah, there’s always live entertainment to keep
you moving and there’s never a cover. The chillaxing lounge upstairs is a
low-key seating in which to share a bottle of bubbly with your friends or just
people-watch the crowd below. 314 East Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 319-4500




Cup of Coffee


Biggby


Runners-up: Gone Wired Cafe and Mama Bear’s


With nearly two dozen locations in mid-Michigan and over 100
franchises in the United States, Biggby — not Beaner’s, ya damned
reactionaries! — could have also been voted Most Prevalent Cafe in addition to
Best Cup of Coffee. Biggby has kept many a caffeine habit alive and kicking,
and led many mid-Michiganders to ask “Star-whats?” Its easy-to-navigate
beverage board and uber-friendly baristas make ordering a Skinny Skinny Mocha
Mocha as easy easy as pie pie. 270 W Grand River Ave., East Lansing. (517)
332-1471




Desserts


Grand Traverse Pie Company


Runners-up: Roma and Sugar Shack


Sure, Grand Traverse Pie Company has a whole menu of
sandwiches and soups, but our readers voted the Traverse City-based chain for
Best Desserts. It’s all about, in a word, pie. Six types of cherry pie, five
kinds of apple pie, and different types of berry, peach, lemon meringue, cream
pies, and a revolving selection of seasonal pies enable you to go into Grand
Traverse every day for a month and not get the same dessert twice. Go on — we
dare you. 1403 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing. (517) 203-3304




Diner


Golden Harvest
Runners-up: Fleetwood Diner, Old Town Diner



Fries


Dagwood’s


Runners-up: McDonald's, Peanut Barrel


Gourmet Restaurant

Dusty’s Cellar


Runners-up: Knight Cap and Troppo


Dusty’s Cellar, voted Best Gourmet Restaurant, has slowly
made the transition over the years from a trendy restaurant to an
all-encompassing, one-stop-shop upscale dining adventure. Dusty’s features an
array of seasonal dishes, along with special tasting events that allow you to
pair food with wine or beer. They offer private dining rooms and catering as
well, allowing you to create a unique dining experience for you and several
dozen of your closest friends. The in-house wine cellar and French bakery add
to this restaurant’s European charm. 1839 West Grand River Ave., Okemos. (517)
349-5150.




Italian:

Emil's


Runners-up: DeLuca's, Bravo!




Mexican:

Los Tres Amigos


Runners-up: El Azteco, Pablo's



Middle Eastern Food


Woody’s Oasis


Runners-up: Sultans and Aladdin’s Frandor


This year Woody’s Oasis won for both Best Middle Eastern and
Best Vegetarian/Vegan Food. Woody’s has four locations in the Greater Lansing
area: on Grand River in East Lansing (which includes a full bar); in Okemos;
the original location on Trowbridge; and the newest location, inside the
International Center on MSU’s campus. If you somehow find you still can’t make
it to any of these, Woody’s products are also featured in a number of other
locations around town, including Gone Wired Cafe and Better Health Foods. 970
Trowbridge Rd., East Lansing. (517) 351-2280



New Restaurant


Michigan Brewing Co.


Runners-up: Enso, Downtown Doghouse and Maru Sushi


After keeping most of us on the edge of our seats for over a
year and a half, MBC finally opened last year. Apparently it was worth the
wait. With a menu heavily leaning on fish and things that go well with their
locally handcrafted beer, this satellite location of the Michigan Brewing
Company in Webberville has been slowly tweaking both beer and food menus since
opening. Kudos to Maru Sushi, Downtown Dog House and Enso, which our readers
also welcomed to the scene. 402 S. Washington Sq., Lansing. (517) 977-1349.




Patio:

Peanut Barrel


Runners-up: Dublin Square, El Azteco




Pizza:

DeLuca's


Runners-up: Pizza House, Cottage Inn



Sandwich shop


Jersey Giant Subs


Runners-up: Jimmy Johns and Soup Spoon Cafe


You won’t need a lot of money to get a lot of food at one
of the many Jersey Giant Subs locations around town. The subs are piled high
with the meats and vegetables of your choice. For example, the Jersey Devil
includes roast beef, ham, turkey breast, salami, pepperoni, cheeses, capicola
(Italian ham), prosciuttini (more spicy ham) and the additional fixings of your
choice. Fifteen inches of that ought to tide over even the heartiest appetites
for a while. Locations at 3019 E Saginaw St, Lansing (517) 351-1616; 529 E
Grand River Ave, East Lansing (517) 332-2969; 3700 W Saginaw St # 2, Lansing (517) 323-6800; 2546 E Jolly
Rd, Lansing (517) 327-1843; 3525 S Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Lansing
(517) 882-2300; 1866 W Grand River
Ave, Okemos (517) 347-8400; 13157 Schavey Rd, Dewitt (517) 669-5452; 516 S Clinton St, Grand Ledge (517)
622-4855; 2900 N Williamston Rd, Williamston (517) 655-9303; 23112 Allen Rd,
Trenton, (734) 362-0575.




Seafood


Mitchell’s Fish Market


Runners-up: Red Lobster and San Su


If you like your fish to spend a couple weeks in the
deep-freeze before it makes it to your table, steer clear of Mitchell’s Fish
Market. “We get deliveries six times a week,” says dining room manager John
O’Meara, “so all the fish is fresh.” Top sellers include the ginger crusted
Atlantic salmon, the hoisin-glazed yellowfin tuna and the Shang Hai seafood
sampler. Shang Hai is Mitchell’s signature way of preparing fish: First, it’s
steamed with fresh ginger and scallions, then it’s served with sticky rice,
spinach and ponzu (rice wine soy sauce). You can even take home some seafood
from the restaurant’s Catch and Carry counter — although if you’ve got a
craving for Asian carp, you’re out of luck. 2975 Preyde Boulevard, Lansing.
(517) 482-3474.




Sports bar


Tripper’s


Runners-up: The Nuthouse, Champps and Buffalo Wild Wings


Billiards, arcade games, jerseys framed on the wall,
photographs of stadiums, big-screen TVs — lots of them — conspire to make
Tripper’s a favorite hangout for the big game. Beyond televised spectacles
though, there’s plenty to do at Tripper’s, including games for those without
much athletic ambition. The charity poker room gives couch-potato warriors a
venue in which they can compete without breaking a sweat while contributing to
a good cause. Plus, the bar is large and fun, the food is delicious, and with
great-looking and friendly staff who make innovative and colorful drinks,
Tripper’s is the perfect complement to a game (or an evening out) that has gone
into overtime. 350 Frandor Ave.,
Lansing. (517) 336-0717.




Steak


The Knight Cap


Runners-up: Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steak House


There is no doubt that our voters think The Knight Cap has
the Best Steak in Lansing — it received nearly three times as many votes as the
second-place finisher. All beef is growth hormone- and antibiotic-free, is cut
daily in-house, and seasoned with a special blend of spices dubbed “black
magic.” Every day there is a choice of six cuts, including the phenomenal Steak
Medici, with additional steak specials to mix things up. 320 East Michigan
Ave., Lansing. (517) 484-7676.




Sushi:

Sansu


Runners-up:Ukai, Ai Fusion




Takeout


Bangkok House


Runners-up: Famous Taco and Rice Kitchen


City Pulse readers must have a yen for Thai food, because
Bangkok House was voted this year’s Best Takeout. Cheap, fast, and consistent
with the spiciness level, Bangkok House is a popular favorite call-in for
downtown workers who want something on the go besides cheeseburgers and chili
dogs. And once you know your way around the menu, it’s easy to find items that will
help you if you’re staying on the healthy side of things (Pad Thai, the
vegetarian dishes) or if you don’t care about your calories (anything with
coconut milk). 420 East Saginaw St., Lansing. (517) 487-6900.




Vegan/vegetarian:

Woody's Oasis


Runners-up: Mama Bear's, Better Health Food Store

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