Lafeyette Coney Island
 Detroit, Michigan        Date of Visit  05/25/11          No Known Website

We had just walked out the door of American Coney Island and took the two steps to the front door of Lafayette Coney Island. Could they be any different? Yes, they are. What had provoked the Food Network and the Travel Channel both to declare American superior? I can’t tell you. I found the run down and tiny shop next door to be vastly superior. We wound our way through the small space as other morning dog diners moved their chairs in to let us by.



Close Competition

The servers here couldn’t be more Greek. They are difficult to understand when they ask what you want and impossible to understand as they shout the order to their comrades in the open kitchen. The speed of service is ridiculous. Once your order verbally flies through the air the server then walks to the front, picks it up and brings it to the table. You should see the guy at the front of the kitchen at the window that looks out onto the street put these gems together. He has the practiced speed of countless repetitions.

If you saw the pictures from American you will see things look very similar. Same plates, same menu, etc. The Coney sauce has a browner hue than the red sauce at American but not enough you would notice if they were not sitting next to each other.

Juicier, More Flavorful Dog

And the Toppings Are Perfect and Different

Chili Cheese Fries, Look Familiar? They're Not.

No Chance of Completing with American's Baklava

Where the difference comes is in the taste. Lafayette’s sauce has a much more diverse profile to me, there is even a slightly detectable note of sweetness which appears somewhere in the middle of the progression of flavors. The dog appears juicier which means more taste and works so well with the sauce and the onions. I know all of this is based on personal opinion and always will be but everyone at our table suddenly brightened after tasting the sauce at Lafayette, as if to say Oh…Okay…now this is something unique and spectacular. And for me, it is. Instead of Greek offerings Lafayette has three pies, the coconut version we tried was a pale comparison the the Baklava from next door but could never make up for the difference in dogs. It is clunky and thick and feels frozen.

The service is more brusque and loud but both give the place a really authentic feel that seems to have been erased at the originator next door. Next time there is a game in Detroit you will find me at Lafayettes.




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