Reimagined Motor City is now relying less on the automobile and more on the energy and vision of entrepreneurs who are taking the city in new directions while building on its remains.
Johnny Noodle King, a ramen bar in an old industrial neighborhood, is as busy as any Ford assembly line, turning out Japanese-inspired dishes—some paired with spirits produced by nearby Two James Distillery. The restaurant's name came from the previous business that was in the building, Johnny Ham King, a small breakfast diner that served mainly ham. "We thought the name Johnny Noodle King fit really well not only because it paid homage to the history of the building, but because ‘Johnny’ gives it a bit of an American feel," owner Johnny Driscoll says. "We didn’t want to come across as being strictly Japanese, and it was a fun play on a name for us.”
The noodles are excellent, but the dish you really want to try is the mackerel, which is quickly cooked table-side (in about a minute) with a blowtorch. It may sound gimmicky, but the fast live-fire cooking is the perfect preparation for this fish. It was one of the most memorable bites we had in this city on the mend.