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Restaurant Profile: Rock City Eatery, Hamtramck

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Rock City Eatery

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I was so looking forward to trying Rock City Eatery, a new hip hangout in nearby Hamtramck. And I’m happy to say, this was worth the wait!

Chef Nikita (Nik) Santches brings his eclectic cookery to this cozy diner near Joseph Campau and Caniff, a space formerly occupied by Maria’s Comida.

You may remember Chef Nik from his stint pushing Rock City Pies at Ferndale’s Rust Belt Market. Fear not, he’s still making pie. But now there’s so much more.

“Something for everyone” sounds cliché, but you’ll love this place whether or not you eat meat, and whether you prefer craft beer, craft cocktails or wine. There’s a variety of roasted veggies, available as an appetizer or side. We sampled the green beans, gently roasted with hoisin, marcona almonds, scallions and cilantro. Perfectly cooked, with a savory Asian profile—the hoisin glaze made the almonds quite addictive. There’s also curried cauliflower, and spicy roasted Brussels sprouts, among others.

My visit was lunchtime, so three of us ordered sandwiches, and shared the green beans as a side. Two ordered the grilled cheese – exclamations of ‘best ever’ were heard, while I ordered the Pulled Duck sandwich with caramelized fennel, wild mushrooms, gruyere, and a fried egg, on a locally sourced artisan bun. I usually relegate eggs to breakfast, but this sounded intriguing. Good choice! The tender duck and earthy mushrooms were a perfect pair, with the caramelized fennel adding a touch of sweetness, while the cheese and egg lent a creamy component to the mix.

Service was friendly and attentive, and the lunch tab was quite reasonable. Chef Nik works in an open kitchen, visible from the dining room stocked with mismatched tables and chairs, and some eclectic accent pieces. I’m already thinking about my return trip.

Other lunch options include a Mac and Cheese that everyone is talking about—noodles smothered in creamy melty cheese, served up in a parmesan bowl; Unkosher brisket—braised, sliced, and topped with melted gruyere cheese, manischewitz onions and apricot schmear; and a Taiwanese sandwich of pork belly, hoisin sauce, pickled cucumbers, scallions, coriander leaves and peanuts.

For dinner try Nicole’s Poutine—fries with duck confit gravy and cheese curds; Porchetta with salsa verde, harrissa faro, arugula, caramelized fennel schmear and garlic; or the Lamb Cheeseburger with Bulgarian feta, caramelized onions; za’atar labneh/harissa, and some duck fat fries on the side. Rock City Eatery has a bright future!

Rock City Eatery is located at 11411 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, Michigan 48212 (248) 633-3072. Find them on Facebook too.

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