Food & Drink

If you like spicy chicken sandwiches, Ima in Midtown brings the heat

December 11, 2019, 7:24 PM

Ima restaurant now serves udon noodles and more at a second Detroit spot.

Freep food writer Mark Kurlyandchik visits the new Midtown site and tastes a notable menu addition -- "what just might be the city's finest fiery fried fowl."

Open since Tuesday at the corner of Cass and Warren, the third location of Japanese-inspired noodle hotspot Ima is also its largest to date and the first with a kitchen that can support a fryer. As such, the menu is expanded even more than that of the stellar Madison Heights location that debuted this time last year, which itself went beyond what's offered at the minimalist Corktown original. . . .

In addition to the brothy ramen and udon bowls Ima made its name on, there's an entire section of the menu now dedicated to brothless yaki udon, three of which are vegan unless you add a meat-based protein and three of which are gluten-free.

Barbecue unagi don (Photo: Facebook/Ima)

What has the writer raving is spicy chicken on a brioche roll -- "new and novel to this latest location."

This is a sandwich truly worth waiting in line for, thanks to its assertive-bordering-on-aggressive Nashville-level heat and the crispy and juicy dark meat that's all balanced by the hint of sweetness from the bun and the fresh crunch of tangy slaw. (Note: This sandwich is not for spice wimps.) . . .

It's $11 and served with a lemon wedge and a bag of Better Made chips.

Another local food journalist, Tostada Magazine publisher Serena Maria Daniels, describes "a crisp skin that crackles with each bite and the juiciest of juicy meat."

The karaage chicken sandwich at Ima is made with chicken thighs and comes available in a spicy version with the house chili oil, and a non-spicy version. . . .

That chili oil is so tear-jerkingly firey, that you just might be in need of relief to extinguish the heat. On the lunch or dinner side, I'd recommend an order of the fried Japanese yams for a sweet and savory balance.

Ima info

  • Where: 4870 Cass Ave., at West Warren Avenue (alongside Wayne State)

  • When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday; Sunday hours come next month

  • Menu: At its website

  • Phone: (313) 883-7988

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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