New discoveries, that’s one of the major perks of being a Hungry Dude. Just the other day a couple of the “dudes” were invited to visit and go through an extensive sampling from Chef Clifton Ely, owner at Ely’s Catering in Detroit. Chef specializes in Southern cuisine with a twist on the soul. Ely’s Catering has been serving customers since 2008; however Chef Ely has been cooking and catering since 1990. Most of his recipes are derived from his mom and grandmother with some, like his very popular egg pie; dating back to his great grandmother.
Roughly 70% of their customers are regulars visiting on a weekly basis, sometimes more. After tasting several of their most popular dishes, it’s no wonder why people keep coming back. Chef Ely has high hopes to add a sit down restaurant later this year or next with an expanded menu, and is also considering adding a curbside assistance to his current location.
Now, on to the tasting:
Gumbo – The beauty about dishes like gumbo is it can vary from place to place. The one we tasted had great flavor with traditional ingredients including okra and shrimp. It was a perfect way to start our night.
Baked chicken, mac n cheese & green beans – There’s something delectable about juicy chicken spiced just right and that’s exactly what we got, accompanied by traditional macaroni and cheese topped with a great cheesy crust, which added a wonderful texture contrast to the creamy cheese sauce.
Parmesan crusted tilapia, candied yams, & collard greens. As far as entrees go, this was the Pièce de résistance. The Dudes agreed that this was the best tilapia, and possibly the best fish we’ve ever had. Unbelievably moist fish bursting with a great creamy Parmesan taste. Light, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. The collard greens delivered on Ely’s southern cooking background, with a hint of nutmeg to balance the earthy greens. The candied yams are sweet, hence the reason they call them “candied”.
Peach Cobbler – As you can tell from the photo, the crust was flaky while still maintaining enough body to support wonderfully tasting peaches. Add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and you’ve gone to heaven.
Egg Pie – There’s a good chance you’ve never eaten egg pie before. Give yourself +K on Klout under Food if you have. This dish is simple in its ingredient list and preparation, and reminded us of pecan pie minus the pecans and being a touch more eggy. It was light, even after an extensive tasting menu we found ourselves going back for another bite, after bite.
To see the entire tasting menu pictures, visit our Flickr Page.
We had a wonderful time meeting Chef Ely, learning about his background, passion for southern cuisine, and tasting his delicious food. If you find yourself in the 7 mile and Livernois area, we highly recommend you visit Ely’s Catering in Detroit. Their address: 7108 W 7 Mile Rd, Detroit, MI
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Written by: David Benjamin
Photos by: Aly Darin