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Sushi and sashimi star at this Pan-Asian hotspot in Dearborn.

Jewish diners thinking outside the box, or at least beyond Oakland County, have discovered some of the Metro area’s best sushi and sashimi are at a Lebanese-owned dining and nightlife hotspot in west Dearborn.

What might seem an unlikely combination doesn’t faze the growing Jewish clientele indulging their desires for food, drink and fun at Crave Restaurant Bar and Sushi Lounge on Michigan Avenue.

Khalil Ramadan, a former nightclub owner as well as a model and actor, transformed the former location of Stormy Records and a Radio Shack into his beautiful, contemporary space.

“We’ve had four bar or bat mitzvah parties here in the last couple of years,” Ramadan says. “And we have more lined up this year, plus all the inquiries coming in.”

And why not? Sushi and sashimi are very popular today — for anyone wondering, sushi is seasoned rice balls combined most often with raw fish and/or vegetables while sashimi is a Japanese delicacy made of thinly sliced raw fish.

Crave offers a Pan-Asian, eclectic cuisine fused with Mediterranean herbs and spices. The fine-dining menu uses high-quality meat, seafood and produce. Ramadan says he and his brother, general manager Alex Ramadan, were exposed to natural, good food like this at a young age. Their restaurant proudly uses some oil pressed from their father’s own olive trees in Lebanon.

The talent of Crave’s two executive chefs helped it earn “Best Sushi Bar” honors from two local publications and the City of Dearborn’s “Best Restaurant” title for four consecutive years.

Daniel Nguyen, of Japanese-Vietnamese heritage, produces noted 12-piece Chef’s Choice or 20-piece Deluxe sashimi assortments. Dennis Kennedy handles the rest of the kitchen, turning out a medley of unique tastes and textures.

A great start is Watermelon Napoleon — a thick slice of seedless watermelon topped with French feta cheese, plus toasted walnuts, Michigan tart cherries, organic Mediterranean olive and micro herbs, extra virgin olive oil and organic vinaigrette. The juxtaposition of sweet and salty tastes was lovely.

Delicious ahi tuna salad is among 10 salads listed. My favorite among the wide-ranging sushi choices was cilantro yellowtail tuna and the Manhattan roll, a Crave special that includes a variety of seafood. Crave buys its fresh fish from wholesale distributor True World Foods in Livonia.

Additionally, the small plates categories includes three chicken entrees. A memorable dish was broiled Chilean Sea Bass, whose honey-and-miso glaze crust provided a satisfying crunch.

A lychee martini with real fruit is an amazing cocktail. Or, accompany Creme Brulee Trio, Lava Cake and other desserts with freshly brewed, non-alcoholic beverages from Ferndale-based Chazzano Coffee Roasters.

Chazzano owner/master roaster Frank Lanzkron-Tamarazo, an ordained cantor, boasts of “carefully chosen coffee for carefully chosen people.” His fair-trade, organic coffee is certified kosher by the Council of Orthodox Rabbis. Crave receives its specially chosen Chazzano varieties weekly.

The uber-stylish Crave decor features black granite-topped tables, custom wire-ball chandeliers and a striking tiled bar. Segmented, classical nude sculptures are mounted on a turquoise wall in a separate lounge area, which has sleek leather couches and black glass-topped coffee tables. A DJ sometimes plays euro-techno background music. At Friday night Bash! parties, the floor is cleared for dancing to house and Top 40 music.

Worth noting is Happy Hour Sushi at Crave — 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — when sushi, appetizers and cocktails are 25 percent off.

Crave Restaurant
& Sushi Lounge
22075 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn 48124
(313) 277-7283
www.cravelounge.com

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