This Week's Dining Review: Jim's Coney Island



In this week's dining review, Scene restaurant critic Carrington Fox proclaims Jim's Coney Island "a shrine to the delicacies of Detroit."

Chris Chamberlain and several Bites readers have already chimed in on the delights that Jim's serves up in the unlikely but convivial setting of a small shop in a gas station parking lot at 4663 Trousdale Drive (445-3006). Carrington says:

The real ode to the classic Michigan Coney Island is the natural casing — the length of sheep intestine used to contain the 80/20 blend of beef and pork — and of course, the chili.

"Michelle and I know, when someone asks for a 'hot dog combo,' they mean they want ketchup, mustard and relish. But if they ask for a 'Coney combo', they want chili," Butler says. The chili in question is a yellowish, oatmeal-textured medley of ground beef and cumin — not the deep-red pepper-fired and kidney-riddled stew of the ubiquitous chili dog. The slop on top adds just a touch of moisture and subtle spice to the frank, without smothering the signature snap of the casing when it pops between your teeth. That feeling — akin to biting into one of those long balloons used to fashion animals at children's birthday parties — can be something of an acquired taste, but it's a sensation ardent Midwesterners will defend until their last dying swig of Vernors ginger soda or red-dyed Faygo Rock & Rye.

For Southerners who don't cotton to the elastic crack of natural casing, Jim's serves up a burger that's easy to love. With telltale ragged edges of hand-patted beef, the generous burgers lop over the sides of sweet, soft flour-dusted buns, loaded with lettuce, tomato, onions and melted American cheese.

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