Japanese pub Antihero is not without flaws, yet the stunning interior and craft cocktails are top-notch.
Throughout my childhood, my grandparents owned an office furniture business that operated at 231 W. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale. Every other Saturday, my mom took me and my brother to visit my dad at the office. We’d spin around in the fancy chairs and play hide-and-seek under the desks. We even used to ride the rusty furniture elevator from the top floor to the basement, something that probably wouldn’t be allowed nowadays. I loved that store dearly.
More than a decade later, that same building is occupied by Antihero, a Japanese pub. Walking into the building where we spent a lot of time, my parents and I were in awe. Outside of the freshly painted tin ceilings and the upstairs office, the place was unrecognizable.
Sleek and luxurious, Antihero’s interior decor is one to behold. Spiky chandeliers hang from the bar’s low ceiling, and wooden floors and furniture create a sense of cohesion that really make this pub aesthetically pleasing. Among all the aspects of its design, the coolest, by far, was the artwork on the walls, cementing Antihero as an establishment for artistic invention. While the menu was limited, the interior design worked hard to make up for it.
Antihero also shines is with its bar menu, listing a variety of tasty and exotic drinks. Unfortunately, Antihero is lacking in its food menu. While its one-page list of food selection is unique, its limited selection might be a challenge for pickier eaters.
If you’re someone who doesn’t eat non-kosher meat or fish, that immediately eliminates most of the menu. For example, not one of its five “Noods and Such” dishes is without pork, shellfish or non-kosher beef. In addition, those with food allergies will find little on the menu they can eat. Almost every item has either gluten, nuts or shellfish somewhere in it. Even if the dish looks good outside of those allergens, Antihero doesn’t supply (or welcome) many practical substitutions.
I found three things on the menu to order that were kosher-friendly: roasted baby carrots, grilled avocado and salmon poke. While the avocado and salmon needed additional seasoning to pull the dishes together, the carrots were on the opposite end of the flavor spectrum, on the verge of being almost too spicy. In an attempt to make use of what seasoning I had, I ended up dipping the avocado and salmon in the spicy sriracha that covered the carrots.
I can honestly say that Antihero is a great place to have a drink and a couple of appetizers with loved ones. The atmosphere is young and fresh, the interior decor is stunning, and the alcohol menu is positively delectable. Antihero is not, however, a place for people with diet limitations to have a full-course meal.
While I find it complicated to describe how it felt returning to a significant building from my childhood, it’s easy to say that my family was impressed with how Anithero transformed our rundown office furniture store into a gorgeous Japanese pub.
I hope that Antihero expands its menu to include more allergen-friendly options. I would love the chance to make more happy memories in the building that brought me so much joy as a child.
231 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
Opens at 4 p.m.