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Southfield, MI 48034
32 June 2012
I RD HIM
By EstherAllweiss Ingber
noted place for vegetarian fare is
no longer exclusive to Ann Arbor
since Seva Detroit took root in
Maren Jackson, who spent years
with previous Seva (say-VAH) owner
Steve Bellock, bought the popu-
lar vegetarian restaurant with her
husband, Jeff, in 1997. She's the
operation's "food person," creator of
imaginative menus, while Jeff is a
certified sommelier (wine expert) and
The Jacksons were perfectly happy
in Ann Arbor and never planned to
establish an outpost in Detroit —
that was the goal of their customer,
George N'Namdi. His association goes
• back to when Bellock and a partner
operated the very first Seva (no longer
in business) in Columbus, Ohio.
N'Namdi, owner of G.R. N'Namdi
Gallery, bought an old building on
East Forest, between Woodward and
John R, that previously housed a re-
pair shop and a preschool. He helped
the Jacksons secure financing for a 99-
seat restaurant behind his gallery.
Seva Detroit exudes industrial chic
with its exposed pipes and faded
brick walls. Its second dining room is
painted a serene green.
Intent on hiring staff primarily from
Detroit, Maren spoke of wonder-
ful synchronicity" in finding Matteo
Burns, their young, energetic chef.
The veteran of vegetarian restaurants
in Chicago and Colorado came to
the Jacksons'attention just as he was
seeking a chef's position in his native
Detroit. Roy Jackson, 21, the owners'
son, manages Seva Detroit.
Customers hungry for vegetarian
and/or vegan foocfcame flocking
once the restaurant opened its doors
in December. Lunchtime is especially
busy. Some check the website before-
hand for daily specials, possibly the
creamy potato kale soup, black bean
torta, mushroom sliders or unforget-
table char-grilled fava beans in a
lemon-coconut sauce. Lunch combos
($8.95) are available until 3 p.m. week-
days, consisting of house salad and a
bowl of soup or half-sandwich with a
cup of soup or side salad.
General Tso's cauliflower appetizer
($7) is among the core menu items
brought from Ann Arbor. Slightly
sweet and spicy, the lightly breaded
cauliflower pieces are perfect for shar-
ing.They could make anyone forget
the original Chinese chicken version.
Grilled on sliced rye bread from
Midtown's own Avalon Bakery — a
supplier to Seva for six years — the
Reuben sandwich features organic
Eden brand sauerkraut, smoked moz-
zarella, tomatoes and roasted garlic
dressing. Find salads galore on the
Dining with friends, we found the
service to be prompt and capable.
When tomato soup with coconut
came across as too one-note and
spicy for my friend, the item was
taken off her bill without a word.
The popular tempeh burger with
Chihuahua cheese really tasted like
a traditional burger. Pad Thai was an-
other great choice. Butternut squash
enchiladas came smothered in cheese
with a tangy tomato sauce.
Besides coffee, tea and alcoholic
drinks, the menu has milkshakes,
variations on mango lassi from India
and raw juices.
Special features include a free birth-
day entree (bring picture ID); weekday
"Happy Hour,"from 4-7 p.m., featuring
small plate appetizers and daily drink
specials; Sunday brunch; lower prices
on Margarita Mondays; and half-price
Seva Detroit held its first wine
dinner ($50) on May 7. Guests had a
six-course gourmet vegetarian meal
with matching California wines.
"We plan to do these regularly,
featuring seasonal wine and food,"
66 E. Forest
Detroit, MI 48201
$$ out of $$$$$