Joey Roberts sometimes shows up twice a day at Soul Café, his home away from home at the Farber Soul Center in West Bloomfield.
He and his late wife, Dr. Linda Roberts, were regular customers at the kosher dairy restaurant. Going to Soul Café continues to brighten his day.
“It’s a place full of love and positive energy,” said Roberts of West Bloomfield. “I come to breathe the air … and have coffee.”
Soul Café is part of the Epicurean Group’s kosher division.
Under general manager Shalom Shomer, it also includes Epic Kosher Catering/Milk & Honey. Supervision is by the Council of Orthodox Rabbis.
Hunny Khodorkovsky handles the kosher operations. Born in Israel to Moroccan parents, she came to Southfield via California with her husband, who is of Russian Jewish heritage. They have four children.
Not only is Chef Hunny a fabulous cook, she claims to be the only kosher graduate of the culinary arts program at Novi-based Art Institute of Michigan. At the school, she carefully measured ingredients and used her senses of sight and touch to make non-kosher dishes.
Hunny was a private caterer when Bassie Shemtov, co-founder of the Friendship Circle with husband, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, recruited her to run a kosher restaurant, in partnership with Epicurean, for the couple’s new Soul Center.
Located on Drake Road, north of the Jewish Community Center, the Soul Center offers an inclusive environment for adults with special needs. Clients receive guidance to create, and sometimes sell, arts and crafts they make in the Soul Center’s Dresner Foundation Soul Studio. Some learn restaurant skills for pay at Soul Café.
Features of the restaurant’s modern décor are white subway tiles and walls adorned with Jordan Hartz paintings, concrete floor, exposed ductwork, clear Lucite chairs, bare tables, cloth napkins and real silverware. The high-top, butcher-block table seats 14.
Choices are plentiful at breakfast, starting at 8 a.m. My companion, Aviva, enjoyed her veggie-filled Soulful Frittata. I preferred lunch food, offered 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. (1:45 on Friday). My cream of zucchini soup was flavorful, not bland.
I considered the Falafel Plate, including eggplant, matbucha (Moroccan salad of cooked tomato and roasted bell peppers), pickles, beets, hummus and pita. I ordered whole-wheat pasta with rose sauce, adding optional seasonal vegetables (broccoli, colored peppers, mushrooms and asparagus). Very good. The side salad had a delectable, house-made Green Goddess dressing.
Grilled salmon tops Hunny’s Ancient Grain Salad that I enjoyed another time. Ingredients include dates, green apple, seeds, caramelized onion, butternut squash, greens and silan vinaigrette. It’s a healthy dish I hope remains because the summer menu change over occurs.
Sabich pizza — eggplant, Israeli salad, egg, feta and tahini — is among four varieties made in a brick pizza oven. Cauliflower crust seems unique. Friendship Bakery bakes challahs on Thursdays for Soul Café .
The extensive non-alcoholic beverage list includes Starbucks, Chazzano Coffee Roasters, espresso drinks and seven smoothies.
This from-scratch kosher restaurant with delicious food is exactly what Metro Detroit needed. I happily joined Soul Café’s rewards program.
5586 Drake Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Phone: (248) 788-7400
$$½-$$$ out of $$$$$