'GQ' named this downtown Detroit restaurant one of the best new eateries in America


  • Michelle Gerard

Despite temporarily closing in the mid-March in accordance with state-wide closures of restaurant and bar dining rooms amid the coronavirus pandemic, Detroit's Leila has been named as one of GQ magazine's best new restaurants in America.

GQ's Brett Martin traveled to 23 cities, dining at 93 restaurants — back when you could safely do so — to determine the final 16 entries on its best new restaurant roundup. Leila, which opened last fall, is the latest venture with the Eid family at the helm, known for its 38-year-old Birmingham fixture, Phoenicia. The family is also behind Forest, also in Birmingham, which offers “elevated” European and American fare. (Both Phoenicia and Forest are now offering curbside carryout.)

In his write-up, Martin says it's "easy to see how Leila is, in the best way, a restaurant of, by, and for its city." "There are few days of eating anywhere in America that I would choose over one spent wandering far and wide in the Detroit metropolitan area's vast Middle Eastern community," he adds.

Martin celebrates Leila's “modern” yet “rooted in tradition” Lebanese menu, including its lamb Bolognese, “smokey” baba ghanoush and hummus, as well as a famous entree, perfected by Phoenicia — baby back ribs, which are described as being “brined in vinegar and dusted with Lebanese spices.”

Leila, which was named by The Detroit Free Press as its restaurant of the year in February, may see another victory for Sameer and Sami Eid, who were announced as semifinalists for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurateur. The final nominees will be named Monday at 4 p.m. via a livestream, which can be viewed via James Beard Foundation's Twitter.

Other metro Detroit restaurants/chefs up for James Beard nominations? Saffron De Twah, Marrow, Miss Kim, Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie, Selden Standard's Lena Sareini, as well as James Rigato of Mabel Gray, Mike Ransom of Ima, Sugar House, and more.

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