Put together a meat lover like myself and a vegan like Stephanie, and it gets a little interesting when we want to go out to eat. This past Saturday, we decided to head to Detroit to see Dan Auerbach at the Majestic Theater and required dinner and drinks before the show. Going to concerts on an empty stomach just isn’t an option for me. In fact, doing anything with an empty stomach isn’t for me. Normally in Detroit the obvious choice is either Mexican Town or Greek Town. Not an option anymore for this couple. Gotta find a place that has respectable veggie dishes. In our search for a joint with good food and beer we came across the Woodbridge Pub, which promises vegan friendly eats and quality beer. This place came through, for sure.
On the way, the neighborhood looked a little sketchy after we got off the freeway. The thing about Detroit is you can be in a very nice area, make a wrong turn, and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the ‘hood. Turns out this place is in a pretty good area right on Trumbull av. across from Wayne State University. The Pub looks great from the outside. Huge windows on the front of the building make this place look very inviting, which is what Detroit really needs more of. Walking in, you notice the decor right away. It’s obvious the owner has really put a lot of time getting the place looking completely unique. The bar is all recycled hard wood from an old church, while the rest of the place is a collision of new materials and salvaged goods from other buildings throughout the Detroit area. It has all of the prerequisite amenities: the recycled materials, the awesome bar, good food, affordable beer, art showcase on the walls, and a TV. It’s only been open since September, but it has the comfortable feel of a place that I have been going to for years.
The menu had a nice range of items for both meat eaters like me and for Stephanie who only eats the green stuff. It focuses on salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and burgers, and offers a good variety of flavors to choose from. Before dinner, I had to grab a pint of locally brewed Ghettoblaster. From there we moved onto a bottle of house wine, which is only $10 after 5:00 PM on Fridays. Not bad stuff.
For starters I decided to go with the queso fundido dip which was pretty basic blend of cheese and chorizo, which happen to be two of my favorite things in the world. It turned out to be a very rich and delicious dip which came with tortilla chips from Mexican Town. A bit much for one person, but I’m not your average eater.
Stephanie had been looking forward to trying one of their vegan soups, so she was excited to see the harvest grain and portabella soup. From what we could tell, this a potato and vegetable broth based soup with lentils, corn, carrots, and chunks of portabella. Beyond that, it was a mystery to us. Honestly, this was some of the best soup I’ve ever had. They’ve really succeeded in creating a hearty soup using all vegan ingredients. It’s become our mission to try and re-create it. We’re currently plotting to break in and steal the recipe. Maybe writing that on a public forum isn’t a good idea.
For dinner I had to go with one of the pizzas which come on a 10″ extra thin crust. I said before that I was looking for meat but the artichoke, spinach, and brie just looked too good to pass up. There’s just something about creative uses of brie cheese that gets me every time. This pizza was solid, but not great. Definitely a good amount of food for one person, but it was missing something(chicken). The crust is good, the brie tastes fresh, the spinach was a little light, and the artichoke hearts were tasty. They drizzle a garlic infused olive oil over top which adds a little extra taste, but I think a little fresh garlic on top would’ve worked well.
Stephanie went with the “Stevers McFever” black bean burger, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite non-meat dishes. This was by far the most interesting black bean burger I have ever seen. The huge patty is surrounded by two giant pieces ciabatta bread, and topped with avocado, marinated tomato, caramelized onion, and a balsamic glaze. The combination of the bread, the vegetables, the spice of the patty, and the sweetness of the glaze really created an incredible flavor. I’ve only been eating black bean burgers for a few months now, but I will say that this is the best I have had. There may be a credibility issue here, but you’re just going to have to take my word for it.
It’s nice to find a gem like this in Detroit, especially one this accessible. I’ve written before about all of the great food in the city before, and this is a perfect example of it. Not only can you find great bars, authentic eats, and entertainment, but also a friendly neighborhood pub or two. Woodbridge Pub definitely gets a recommendation from me.