In addition to this blog, we're now writing restaurant reviews for Current! We'll be posting extra photos from our expeditions here. Enjoy the photos, then stop over at eCurrent to read our review of Marnee Thai to learn what we thought of these dishes and others.
Larb Tod — Minced chicken with ground toasted rice, mint leaves, shallots, and green onion in a Thai northeastern-style dressing.
Gajieb Juice — a sweetened drink of dried crimson stamens of okra flowers (yes, okra!)
Marnee Thai interior above; and below, the dipping sauces for our appetizers (in extended post).
Neehee's has brought a type of Indian food rarely found in Michigan all the way from the streets of Mumbai to... a strip mall in Canton. Advertising "Indian Vegetarian Street Food," Neehee's is the first restaurant in the area specializing in chaat — snacks sold by street vendors. With deep-fried breads and turnovers, crunchy sev noodles and nuts, all topped with an array of chutneys, purees, yogurt, and spices, Indian snack food is like nothing else. It's been a (rarely satisfied) addiction of Joe's since he first got to try it in Toronto. They're hard to describe, as they hit on a lot of sensations at once: cold, hot, spicy, sweet, salty, and crunchy. And you have to eat them fast, lest you add "soggy" to that list.
Khasta Khachori (#21, $4.99): "Big spicy khachori filled with chutneys, yogurt, onions, and potatoes"
The chewy fried-bread khachori
are a little hard to cut into with plastic cutlery, but they are
completely worth the effort. We have no analogies for this; you just
have to try it.
In addition to a dazzling 31 varieties of chaat, Neehee's also has Indian sandwiches, South Indian-inspired uttapams and dosas, and a selection of Indo-Chinese dishes that goes well beyond offerings in Ann Arbor. (Indo-Chinese, according to Neehee partner Rikesh Patel, is an adaptation of Chinese flavors to Indian techniques, originating in the Chinese community in Kolkata, aka Calcutta.)
They opened within the past couple of weeks, though they've also got a place in Farmington. We'll be back to Neehee's for a more comprehensive review, but for now, here's a sampling...
A view of the counter at Neehee's
During the time we were there, there was a constant flow of (mostly Indian) customers — a great sign for authenticity and for the health of the business.
Masala Puri (#17, $4.99): "Crisp puris crushed and topped with green peas ragda, chutneys, onions"
Green peas ragda is a puree of green peas, warm and very nice. It's a great contrast to the crunchy puri pieces and crispy sev.
Dabeli Dosa (#91, $8.99): "Dabeli stuffing mixed with ground nuts and onions, cut into pieces"
Dabeli stuffing is a spicy potato mixture which also includes chutney. On this one, you have the option of getting it with or without the additional pungent garlic chutney. By default they'll probably leave it off for non-Indians, so make sure you ask if you want it. The crunchiness of the noodles and the occasional chunk of nut really make this one.
This dish is one of the fusion creations Neehee hopes to become famous for — taking a stock South Indian dosa and combining it with the filling of a Mumbai sandwich. Along with the classics, they've also got items like Mexican dosas, Szechuan Paneer dosas, and Jalapeno Pineapple uttapam. Works for us.
The ice cream case
End your meal with a selection of ice creams made in house. These aren't kulfi, as they have some air whipped into them. Flavors include fig, dried fruit with vanilla, and classics like mango and pistachio saffron. We were impressed especially with the saffron and fig.
neehee's 45490 Ford Rd. Canton MI 48187 (734) 737-9777