Fusion food lovers from all corners of Detroit are flocking to the Avenue of Fashions to experience a divine cultural concoction that’s turning the food and beverage industry on its culinary ear. The International Kitchen and Café, best known for its eclectic mix of menu items, from burritos and pizza to rice bowls and tacos, is responsible for the craze that’s taking The Avenue and Detroit by storm.
While the concept of the egg roll is not a new one — invented in New York in the 1930s — it was perfected in Detroit this year. The savory appetizers were typically filled with pork or chicken and encased in a pastry-like wrapper. But Detroiters, being Detroiters, are famous for bringing our own flare to everything we touch and the egg roll is no exception. The Avenue International Kitchen and Café fills the delicate dish with top shelf delicatessen meats, egg rolls filled with corned beef or steak are making their mark with a fierceness.
Restaurant proprietor Vince Sheffield, who has garnered major respect in the business community for putting the customer first, confirmed that he and his staff spared no expense in taking the relatively new food favorite to the next level.
“Our motto, is can we offer this product, give it an amazing taste and make it healthier for our people. We don’t use anything processed,” says Sheffield. “We spent weeks analyzing the product put out by our competitors and decided there were several ways we could improve the product, especially in terms of making it more nutritious and flavorful by using the best ingredients available. So, we tested and tasted until we got it just right.” And with 50 percent more meat, these egg rolls move from the appetizer category into the realm of small plates fare.
The Avenue’s corned beef is purchased locally, from the oldest and most renowned corned beef cooks in the country, E.W. Grobbel Sons, located on Orleans Street in Eastern Market. In addition, both the corned beef and steak and cheese egg rolls are made with 100 percent cheese from French provinces that are long-time favorites of master chefs for their centuries old recipes and their extraordinary brands of fromage.
“The corned beef egg rolls are the best I’ve ever tasted,” says Yachecia Holston, a minister from the North End of Detroit, and a leading competitor in Season 8 of the popular “Master Chef” cooking show with notoriously judgmental, temper tantrum-throwing chef Gordon Ramsay. “The quality of the product is absolutely top shelf and par excellence from the egg roll rapper to the finest in Swiss cheeses.”
Sheffield’s, whose mantra of quality first, extends beyond egg rolls and producing the best product possible, recently removed the popular schwarma from the menu after Detroit’s iconic Bucharest restaurant opened its doors on Livernois Avenue just a few doors down. “Although schwarmas were popular with our patrons we removed them from the menu,” he explains.
“Bucharest is the king of schwarmas. I can’t make them better, so rather than compete with them, I prefer to support them.” Sheffield and his staff are recognized for sending patrons to other dining establishments on The Avenue including Kuzzo’s and the American Bistro to satiate their cravings for the best fare.
Avenue customers Dawn and Delbert Williams say they were making their first foray to The Avenue specifically to sample the latest food craze.
“We found out about the Avenue on Facebook and when I saw the menu I told my husband we are going to have to roll by there today and try [the egg rolls],” says Dawn, a food lover and self-described critic. “I have had them before at other places and didn’t really care for them. But these are great, not too salty and not too greasy.
The others we had at different restaurants had wraps that were smaller, but too bready, so we were chewing for about half an hour,” quips her husband.
These joy of cooking chefs and cuisine connoisseurs contend that their customers deserve nothing less than the best they have to offer. And although the fare could fetch a relatively hefty price for the filling and incredibly satisfying egg roll, they are regularly priced at only $2.99. But for the duration of the summer the Avenue is offering food lovers a special deal.
“We’re celebrating the 93 official days of summer with a special on our most popular egg roll, and offering customers a chance to buy them for only $1.99 until Sept. 21,” concludes Sheffield.