The food concept at Detroit's old-but-new-again Green Dot Stables is delightfully affordable and ingenious: a whole menu of $2 and $3 sliders with fillings that take the idea of meats-in-mini-buns to new levels of flavor and fun.
The 18 little sandwiches range from your basic cheeseburger with onions, pickles and Velveeta to the peanut butter-and-kimchi Korean slider, lamb with rosemary hummus and pickles, cornmeal-crusted catfish with tartar sauce, and the BCT -- for bacon, cucumber and tomato jam.
For more traditional tastes, there's a pulled pork slider (deliciously fancied up with red-cabbage slaw and fresh Granny Smith apple), Dearborn ham with Swiss cheese, and Wigley's corned beef with kraut, pickles and mustard aioli.
There's also a weekly changing Mystery Meat slider. Recent offerings have included braised pheasant with crispy carrots, and braised rabbit with pistachio-sage pesto.
Vegetarians have a nice selection of sides and salads -- also $2 and $3 -- plus sliders that include PB&J with raspberry-chipotle jam and a black bean version with mixed greens and sliced tomato.
Owners Jacques and Christine Driscoll hoped to open the restaurant on West Lafayette months ago, but bureaucracy involving Detroit liquor licenses kept them in limbo. Finally, about four weeks ago, they decided to open for lunch without drinks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and Jacques Driscoll has been pleased and surprised at the response.
"This has been a blessing in disguise," he says, because the delay allowed them to fine-tune their service and menu and put the spotlight on chef Leslie Molnar's tasty, inventive food. "We wanted this place to be a restaurant -- not just a bar, like it was before," Driscoll says.
Molnar, 28, of Detroit studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago and worked in the city until returning to metro Detroit, where he has worked at Town Tavern in Royal Oak and at Roast at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit.
He's making everything from scratch -- except the buns, kraut and kimchi -- and sourcing virtually everything locally. His diminutive sandwiches are packed with flavor from chef-y touches like fresh orange zest grated atop the chicken-curry slider and apple matchsticks on the pulled pork. He's doing seven kinds of fries and at least six salads, including a very tasty fingerling potato-and-roasted-cauliflower salad with sun-dried tomatoes and capers.
Driscoll should have the liquor license in hand soon -- maybe even by the time you read this. When that happens, Green Dot will be open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. The kitchen will stay open late, too, for downtowners' late-night food cravings. (For schedule updates, keep an eye on the Facebook page. )
The inside of this old dive bar on the edge of Corktown has been lovingly cleaned and restored to retro glory, and horse racing plays on some of the TVs. So do live satellite broadcasts of world soccer games, which are already attracting a following, Driscoll says. (2200 W. Lafayette; 313-962-5588 and www.greendotstables.com)