Japanese Izakaya-inspired Restaurant Antihero Opens Thursday in Ferndale


Working Class Outlaws restaurant group is adding a third restaurant to its popular Ferndale spots, Public House and Imperial. The new eatery, Antihero, takes inspiration from Japanese izakayas, or casual drinking houses, resulting in a mix between a gastropub and tapas bar.

Nick Erven, executive chef of Antihero, came to the metro Detroit food scene from Koreatown in Los Angeles, where he gained acclaim for his plant-based American restaurant, Erven. The eatery was named “Best New Restaurant” by Los Angeles Magazine and was featured in restaurant critic Jonathan Gold’s “101 Best Restaurants.”

Erven created Antihero’s menu, which focused on Japanese comfort food, with influences from Korean and American cuisine. The menu features raw selections, rice bowls, buns, dumplings, noodles, and a wide range of vegetarian options.

A few stand-out menu items include a crispy ramen egg served with kewpie mayo, pea shoots, and caviar; “chicken-fried” tofu with soy-maple caramel, furikake, jalapeno, and cilantro; and spicy kimchi “carbonara” udon with pea tendrils, Spam crumbs, scallion, and a sunny-side-up egg. The menu also includes shareable Hibachi dishes with options either steak, shrimp and scallops, or marinated eggplant and mushrooms.

Antihero will be the first bar in Michigan with a Toki Suntory highball machine, which stores whiskey and ultra-carbonated soda water at ice-cold temperatures that ensures consistency. The beverage menu also will feature Japanese-influenced handcrafted cocktails and whiskey, soju, and sake options.

The 3,500-square-foot building, located at 231 W. Nine Mile Rd., seats up to 125 guests. The space includes communal dining tables and several large booths and tables. It also can host larger groups.

Antihero’s hours will be 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is located at 231 W. Nine Mile Road.