Southwest Detroit is a treasure trove of authentic Latin American cuisine, and diners are about to be invited in to share the wealth with the area’s second restaurant week.
From the pupuserias to the taquerias, this neighborhood is home to longstanding businesses like Armando’s Mexican Restaurant and Mexican Village and new restaurants like seafood-centric Centro Botanero and cocktail-forward Peso Bar.
The variety is celebrated with the returning Southwest Detroit Restaurant Week, Friday through Oct. 13. (Friday is also National Taco Day, as if you need more persuading.) Two dozen places will be showcased and will feature specials and dishes not found on their everyday menu.
Event organizer Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez said instead of making things cheaper or doing fixed-priced dinners, he wanted the restaurants to make something that is specific to the region of the world in which they specialize.
“Each one of (these restaurants) have these skills, and this food that takes so long to make and it’s very under-appreciated in the world,” he said. “So we wanted them to not have lower price-points but instead have higher-quality products. Especially something that’s more unknown and make that available for people to try.”
This is not the kind of dining promotion where advance tickets are required. You don’t even need reservations for many of these places.
Centro Botanero is a seafood restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the coastal region of Nayarit, Mexico. There’s no alcohol service here yet, but I’m told it’s in the works. I popped in a few weeks ago after I was struck with a serious fish taco craving. The shrimp tacos hit the spot, but the house beans and rice really stood out, too.
For Southwest Detroit Restaurant Week Centro Botanero is showcasing a shrimp-and-cheese-stuffed pablano pepper with a bright chipotle sauce. It’s served with their killer rice and pork beans.
For a taste of northern Mexico, halal steakhouse El Asador will feature chuleta de borrego con barbacoa, which is lamb chops served over slow-cooked and shredded lamb shoulder with white rice, black bean stew and salsa verde.
Traveling outside of Mexico, Asty Time serves cuisine from the Dominican Republic. This week their special will be sauteed fish with spiced coconut milk served with seasoned rice and fried bananas.
From the smallest Central American country, El Salvador, Pupuseria Y Restaurante Salvadoreño is where Detroit dives into pupusas (thick, stuffed flatbreads), tamales and a variety of soups and stews. For Southwest Detroit Restaurant Week, the pupuseria will offer a Salvadoran breakfast with pupasas stuffed with chicharron, cheese and beans and served with cabbage slaw and fried plantains.
Here’s a full list of all the participating businesses and their unique specialty dish. All restaurants are in Southwest Detroit.
Antojitos El Catracho, 4627 W. Vernor. (313) 784-9361. Steamed fish with coconut milk, white rice and seasoned yucca. El Salvador and Honduras.
Armanado’s Mexican Restaurant, 4242 W. Vernor. (313) 554-0666. Roasted poblano peppers with Spanish rice, fried beans and tortillas. TexMex and Cuban cuisine.
Asty Time Dominican Cuisine, 7340 McGraw. (313) 285-9390. Fish sauteed in coconut milk with rice and fried banana.
Camino Real Mexican Grill, 1100 Central. (313) 297-8804. Steak stew. Jalisco, Mexico.
Centro Botanero, 2302 Campbell. (313) 918-4183. Shrimp-stuffed poblano peppers. Nayarit, Mexico
El Asador Steakhouse, 1312 Springwells. (313) 297-2360. Halal lamb chops. Northern Mexico.
El Barzon Restaurante, 3710 Junction. (313) 894-2070. Entomatadas. Mexican and Italian.
El Rancho Restaurant, 5900 W. Vernor. (313) 843-2151. Enchiladas potosinas. Mexico.
El Rey de a las Arepas, 7701 McGraw St. (313) 307-2210. Chicken stew. Columbia and Venezuela.
El Parian Taqueria,1628 Lawndale. Pozole Verde. Jalisco, Mexico.
La Posada, 1930 Springwells. (313) 841-1690. Vegetarian ceviche. Jalisco, Mexico.
La Rosita, 7849 McGraw. (313) 297-3145. Cecina asada. Michoacan, Mexico.
La Terraza, 8445 W. Vernor. (313) 843-1433. Octopus cooked in butter and seasonings. Mexico.
Los Altos Restaurant, 7056 W. Vernor. (313) 841-3109. Capirotada (toasted, sweet bread). Jalisco, Mexico.
Mariscos El Salpicon, 8600 W. Vernor. (313) 914-2214. Del Mar Dream, a mix of seafood. Nayarit, Mexico.
Mexican Village Restaurant, 2600 Bagley. (313) 237-0333. Chalupas o Burrito Tejano. Mexican.
Peso Bar, 2547 Bagley. (313) 974-6197. Chicken enchiladas with mole negro. Mexican.
Pupuseria y Restaurante Salvadoreño, 3149 Livernois. (313) 899-4020. Breakfast pupusa. El Salvador.
Rincon Tropical, 6538 Michigan. (313) 334-8526. Arroz Mamposteao (white rice and stewed beans). Puerto Rico.
Senor Lopez Restaurant, 7146 Michigan. (313) 551-0685. Skewered meat with Mexican rice. Hidalgo, Mexico.
Taqueria El Caporal, 1414 Junction. (313) 551-4920. Birria and mole poblano. Jalisco, Mexico
Taqueria El Nacimiento, 7400 W. Vernor. (313) 554-1790. Steak stew. Jalisco, Mexico
Taqueria El Rey, 4730 W. Vernor. (313) 357-3094. Morisqueta (pork stew over rice). Jalisco, Mexico. Cash only.
Triangulo Dorado, 8065 W. Vernor. (313) 652-5247. Sushi de aguachiles. Northern Mexico.