The slider I had at Greene's was the best I've ever had. From the soft and crisp patty and onions to the expertly toasted bun to the cheese than became one with the beef, everything about this slider was absolutely perfect. When I travel, I typically have an elaborate eating itinerary that demands I don't overeat at any one place. As good as the rest of the food I had in Detroit was, a big part of me regrets not eating at Greene's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
24155 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington MI 48336 (map); 248-474-7980
Hunter House Hamburgers
Nobody did a better job on the onions than the man working the grill at Hunter House. The blend of soft caramelized chunks and crispy bits were enough to catapult this place into the top tier even if the burger had been mediocre. Fortunately, the beef was almost as good on its own, and together this made for a pretty special slider.
I wasn't expecting a lot when I walked into Comet Burgers, a place filled with faux fifties décor and located in the relatively well-off suburb of Royal Oak. See, most great slider restaurants are old; there's a decent chance nothing about the place has changed since the doors opened several decades earlier. And when I saw that pre-formed patties were being used, my expectations dropped even further. But more than any other place I visited, the griddle work at Comet stood out. When the burgers were almost done, the cook took a large metal tray cover, placed it over the burgers, and then squirted water around the edges of the pan, giving the patties a thorough steaming. With some outstanding crisp onions on top, this was a prototypical slider from a nontraditional restaurant.
207 S Main Street, Royal Oak MI 48067 (map); 248-414-4567
Most of the places in this slideshow serve the sliders without condiments and with pickles on the side. At Bates, they ask if you want everything on the burger and if you say yes, you'll get one with a mixture of ketchup and mustard and a few thin pickle slices placed directly on top of the meat. Thanks to some radiant heat from the beef, the pickles become a part of the burger and, combined with the generous dose of condiments, create an extra tangy edge to an expertly executed slider.
The Telway gave me the most tender slider I've ever had. While that meant no crispy bits of meat or onion, there was something about the melt-in-your-mouth nature of this beauty that made everything seem right in the world.
6820 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, MI 48210 (map); 313-843-2146
Having read Kenji's glowing post on Motz's sliders, I went in expecting to find greatness, but I received something I had to force myself to eat. I think the problem on this visit was that the griddle wasn't nearly hot enough. Neither the patty nor the onions had any crispy bits at all and the beef seemed to be untouched by steam, which is too say it was a chewy and relatively dry griddled patty. The cheese was nicely melted, but that wasn't enough to come close to saving this thing.
Brayz wins the prize for best décor thanks to a giant statue of a horse on top of the restaurant. Unfortunately, that's about only good thing I have to say about the restaurant. I fully accept that I'm not going to get quality beef in a slider, but whatever they were using in theirs didn't work at all; there was almost no flavor other than an oddly gross aftertaste. The addition of unmelted cheese didn't help matters one bit. This was the worst slider I had in Detroit.
22941 Dequindre Road, Hazel Park MI 48030 (map); 248-542-8878