Discover the top 10 new restaurants and dining experiences in Metro Detroit for 2024, curated by The Narrative Matters. Explore the Motor City’s best food scene.

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tacos-hernandez food truck . Photo: Kimberly Mitchell

Lyndsay C. Green. I Detroit Free Press

Re-branded this year to the Top 10 New Restaurants & Dining Experiences, this year’s list recognizes the evolution of the program to include traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, as well as pop-ups, food trucks, craft cocktail bars, bakeries, outstanding chefs and any place or person bringing outstanding food to the Detroit area.

This year’s class brings the total number of Top 10 honorees to 100. Here’s to another decade of culinary excellence.

No. 10: Midnight Temple, Detroit

Behind the graffitied door of a nondescript Eastern Market warehouse, just steps away from the city’s longest standing meat markets, is Midnight Temple, a trove of Indian traditions, both culinary and otherwise. At the top of a steep staircase lined with vibrant saris the color of gemstones, shades of rubies and sapphires, emeralds and amethysts, is a majestic dining room filled with Indian iconography and Hindu relics, ornate lanterns and crispy palak chaat cloaked in cool yogurt and sweet tamarind sauce so tasty you’ll devour the entire bowl.

Read the full review on Midnight Temple.

No. 9: Secret Bakery, Ferndale

When he started the Secret Bakery out of his Hamtramck home kitchen in 2018, Maxwell Leonard would quickly learn that a sure way to spread the word about a new food business is to tell people it’s a secret. It’s hard to keep Leonard’s breads and pastries a secret. In a world where packaged rolls and sliced bread have become household kitchen staples, the presence of a bakery that serves bread so fresh that it’ll scorch your fingertips as the chef hands it over is a welcome addition. While customers enjoyed the thrill of visits to the underground bakery, Leonard’s neighbors were less impressed. A nuisance complaint forced the pastry chef to shutter his home operations, but eventually led to the Secret Bakery’s expansion into the commercial space in Ferndale where he maintains the enigmatic air that has shaped the bakery’s identity.

Read the full review on Secret Bakery.

No. 8: Shell Shock’d Tacos, Detroit

Shell Shock’d Tacos, a place where Mexican street food meets Detroit street culture for an edgy fusion of bold flavors and cool-kid vibes. Where birria tacos are served to the rhythm of hip-hop tunes piped through a sound system and Mexican street corn is seasoned like lemon-pepper wings. “We are Latin-inspired, Detroit-style street food,” said Shell Shock’d co-owner Cedric Andrews. “We take the history of Latin culture and respect that, but we are Detroit and one thing that is very important for us is the flavor profile of Detroit being represented.”

Read the full review on Shell Shock’d Tacos.

No. 7 Chef of the Year: Aaron Cozadd, Detroit

Vigilante chef and partner Aaron Cozadd started cooking at age 16 and went on to earn his education from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York — only the appeal of a career in hospitality for Cozadd was, in part, the restaurant industry’s more toxic traits. A singer, rhythm guitarist and frontman of a punk-rock band, Cozadd aspired to the live-fast, party-hard lifestyle of a rockstar, and working in restaurants enabled that path. Ultimately, Cozadd would break into the industry and fall into the same traps of drug and alcohol addiction that many restaurant workers face across the country. During a stint in the Oakland County Jail, Cozadd committed himself to a life of sobriety and conceived of a restaurant that would support the needs of recovering addicts like himself and so many of his colleagues. That restaurant is Vigilante Kitchen and Bar. Chef Cozadd is the 2024 Detroit free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Chef of the Year for his commitment to creating a healthy work environment for restaurant workers in recovery from addiction and substance abuse.

Read the full profile on Aaron Cozadd.

No. 6: Peridot, Ann Arbor

Vietnamese influence runs through the food and beverage menus at Peridot. Fried chicken wings are drenched in a sweet-spicy, caramelized fish sauce glaze and cocktails wink at the tropics of Vietnam with spirits made from sugar cane and agave, like rums and tequilas, blended with tropical fruits, such as hibiscus, pineapple and tamarind. Though it’s an entirely new concept, Peridot is the brainchild of Watershed Hospitality Group and Duc Tang, each longtime Ann Arbor restaurateurs. Watershed is the group behind the cult-favorite downtown Ann Arbor cocktail and whiskey bar The Last Word, while Tang has operated the Pan-Asian restaurant Pacific Rim by Kana for more than two decades. The team banded together to develop a new establishment that would meet a demand for an eatery that puts equal emphasis on its food and beverages.

Read the full review on Peridot.

No. 5: Tacos Hernandez Food Truck

Diana Gomez has set out to widen the scope of Mexican flavors in Detroit with the same tacos she grew up on in El Paso, which draw influences from New Mexico in the states and northern Mexico across the border. No, she will not serve you a side of sour cream, but if you require a creamy additive to quell the pinch on your tongue after a bite of hot sauce, she will hand over a mild avocado crema that’ll do the job without masking the warm notes of the grilled chicken or the naturally sweet nectar of cooked cabbage. Yes, she will serve you a burrito, but don’t expect the California-style variety of Chipotle acclaim overstuffed with rice beans and whatever fillers you desire. Instead, Gomez will ladle a slow-cooked stew of brisket, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and chiles pasado as dark and smoky as aged mole over a soft, handmade white corn tortilla.

Read the full review on Tacos Hernandez.

No. 4: Le Suprême, Detroit

No project was more ambitious nor impressive than Le Suprême at the Book Tower. The Book Tower project is one of historic preservation in which artisans went to great lengths to restore the venue, and that emphasis on honoring history extends to Le Suprême, the first restaurant to reach completion on the renovated premises. Starting with a French restaurant honors the city the buildings have called home for more than a century by celebrating its foundation as a French territory. Here, moules marinière are served in a Dutch oven, an umami broth of wine, butter, shallots and thyme pooling into each onyx shell. An herbaceous hunk of butter slides its way down a hot hanger steak for a plate of steak frites and trout amandine packs on the most generous helping of thinly shaved almonds you’ll have ordering the dish anywhere else in town.

Read the full review on Le Suprême.

No. 3: The Rind, Berkley

On the opposite side of a charcoal-painted wall at Mongers’ Provisions’ Berkley location, a wall that is lined with rows of olive oils and jarred peppers, is The Rind, a cozy farm-to-table restaurant and wine bar with soft yellow lighting and charming wallpaper illustrated with rows of tinned fish. When it opened last summer, The Rind introduced a mature yet relaxed menu of dishes that works to democratize wine, cheese, charcuterie and other traditionally upscale ingredients. Incorporating a number of Mongers’ offerings, also allows The Rind to support local, small businesses committed to creating craft products.

Read the full review on The Rind.

More:This year’s Restaurant of the Year Classic never lost sight of Detroit’s French roots

No. 2: Noori Pocha, Clawson

At Clawson’s Noori Pocha, the new, family-owned Korean gastropub is attached to Noori Chicken, the fast-growing Korean fried chicken franchise with locations in Michigan and other parts of the country. Physically, all that separates Noori Pocha and Noori Chicken is one narrow doorway, but the characteristics that set the two apart are vast. By day, diners visit Noori Chicken for their fast-food cravings. At around 4:30, thirty minutes before Noori Pocha opens, a line forms around the parameter of the building. Each person in the ambitious crowd is hoping to nab one of the 11 tables in the quaint space where they’ll sip on soju, a distilled grain spirit and beers like Cass and Terra, or nosh on sweet and savory bulgogi filled with crisp onions and slivers of carrots.

Read the full review on Noori Pocha.

For subscribers:Restaurant of the Year Alpino brings a foreign, yet familiar cuisine to Detroit

No. 1: Coeur, Ferndale

Chef Jordan Smith’s ambition to present a no-frills establishment is no indication of a bashful pedigree. The Culinary Institute of America alum has cooked in America’s biggest food cities, including Boston, New York City and San Francisco, and worked in Michelin-starred kitchens, such as Daniel Boulud’s Daniel and the three-starred California darling, Quince. Having spent is more formative adolescent and teenage years in the Detroit area, Smith sought to bring his bring his skills back to a place that felt like home. At Coeur, the Ferndale restaurant that moved into the former Assaggi Bistro, Smith’s west coast sensibility manifests as a menu anchored in farm-fresh, seasonal produce and an air of ease.

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