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Grand Rapids Michigan restaurant suggestions

foie gras girl Jan 20, 2008 11:05 AM

Looking for a great restaurant for lunch. Any suggestions? I am open to any cuisine. We have had lunch at Tre Cugini, Louis Benton, Graydon's Crossing, San Chez, Marie Catrib's, Bombay cuisine. Just interested in something new. Also, any thoughts on Restaurant Bloom? Thanks for the ideas!

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  1. nsxtasy Jan 20, 2008 08:10 PM

    These topics are pretty good guides to GR dining:

    A summary - www.chowhound.com/topics/442118
    A more detailed, elaborate discussion (but with an emphasis on "cheap eats") - www.chowhound.com/topics/379217
    A topic on Restaurant Bloom - www.chowhound.com/topics/388578
    A topic on Saugatuck/Douglas - www.chowhound.com/topics/413534

    You'll see the report on my dinner at Restaurant Bloom in the topic linked above; overall, I thought it was very good. However, the restaurant in Grand Rapids I like best is still Leo's, and I still like Bistro Bella Vita, too. And if Douglas isn't too far away for you, I thought Everyday People Cafe was spectacular. All of these are open for lunch (Everyday People Thu-Sun, the others Mon-Fri).

    1. c
      carenlouise Jan 26, 2008 07:15 AM

      hey fgg, I'm jonesing to give Restaurant Bloom a lunch try, on the corner of Division and Monroe Center. finally made it there for my first time last evening and was entirely blown away by every single element from glassware through consumables! my food preference background is having recently relocated from the twincities area and very much enjoying the plentiful small chef driven restaus there. this place would absolutely hold a candle to them. the attention to detail, freshness, creativity, simplicity and deliciousness is truely a wonder to behold, I can't wait to go back! and back to your specific query I happened to look at their lunch menu on my way out---looks just as appetizing. great food, very affordable for the quality, in my humble opinion the best restaurant in the greater GR area hands down. have fun wherever you go and let us know!

      7 Replies
      1. re: carenlouise
        foie gras girl Jan 29, 2008 03:10 AM

        Thanks for the suggestions...we might try Restaurant Bloom for dinner this week. We ended up at Marie Catrib's for lunch last week. Always a favorite. Has anyone gone to the Green Well yet?

        1. re: foie gras girl
          nsxtasy Jan 29, 2008 06:02 AM

          BTW, if your Chowhound username is an indication of a food you particularly like, that's the one dish at Restaurant Bloom that didn't impress, at all.

          1. re: nsxtasy
            foie gras girl Jan 30, 2008 02:45 AM

            My username is my favorite food indulgence. So sad to hear it was not good at Restaurant Bloom. I was looking forward to trying it. Any place else in GR that makes a good foie gras dish?

            1. re: foie gras girl
              nsxtasy Jan 30, 2008 07:13 AM

              Unfortunately, I don't know of any; maybe someone else can help.

              I enjoy foie gras too. Other than the cold dense foie gras at Restaurant Bloom, the last time I had foie gras on my annual visits to Grand Rapids was at Gibson's, which closed a few years ago, unfortunately. Only the finest dining restaurants are likely to have it, and there are only a few such places in GR. I don't recall ever seeing it on the menu at Bistro Bella Vita (although it's a very good place and worth considering) or at Everyday People Cafe in Douglas (ditto). I haven't been to either of the fine dining places in the Amway Grand (the 1913 Room and Cygnus 27), and I don't see it on the menus on their website, but they would be the most likely place to have it. You can always call ahead and ask.

              Other than those places, you're probably going out of town to find it. I live in Chicago, which is only about three hours away; you may have heard that the city of Chicago passed an ordinance banning its sale within the city (although some city restaurants still serve it). This has had the effect of increasing its demand and availability at restaurants in Chicago-area suburbs, where it has become quite common. The very best, most delicious, most creative preparation I've had was at Michael in Winnetka, where I had a medallion of seared foie gras over foie gras and mushroom strudel. It was just fantastic. You can read the full report of my meal there at www.chowhound.com/topics/119164

              Again, perhaps others can provide local recommendations in GR.

              1. re: nsxtasy
                t
                thesanmi Feb 11, 2008 11:16 PM

                The Chop House does have a foie gras dish on their menu, but have not tried it. Our server did say it was excellent though. http://www.thechophouserestaurant.com/media/chopgrmenu.pdf

                Had a nice lunch at Naya recently (www.nayagr.com). Their kobe burger is amazing and it was actually cooked the medium rare that I ordered it. They also have a nice happy hour with half-off small plates and $2 off wine/martini's. We've been there several times for drinks and appetizers and most have been excellent. Haven't had much off the dinner menu though.

                Our experience at the Green Well was not so good. Nothing that we had for dinner there stood out. It's been a few months and it is all forgettable already. Really don't like the lighting there either, I know they're in with the whole green concept but the atmosphere's not for me. I'll give them another shot, since it wasn't too long after they opened.

                Anyways, new to the chowhound board here. Excited to try Bloom very soon.

                1. re: thesanmi
                  nsxtasy Feb 12, 2008 07:39 AM

                  This is the first I've heard of the Chop House or Naya, although I've eaten at a different Mainstreet Venture restaurant in Toledo. (Remember, I'm from out of town; I just visit Grand Rapids!) Could you please tell us a bit more? I looked on their websites - by the way, if the link for Naya doesn't work, it's because of the way the Chowhound board deals with punctuation characters, you can use www.nayagr.com - and the Chop House sounds like a fairly conventional steakhouse with some upscale dishes added on. Is that accurate? Are the steaks and seafood good? Naya features foods from around the world; in fact, I've never seen a restaurant with more variety of nationalities and ethnicities represented on its menu! How good is it? (I'm usually leery of places that do too many kinds of food, as they tend not to be as good as places that specialize in each, but I'm open to persuasion!)

                  TIA...

                  1. re: nsxtasy
                    t
                    thesanmi Feb 13, 2008 11:18 PM

                    You're exactly right about the Chop House (which btw is directly accross from the Amway on Monroe). Traditional upscale steakhouse, with everything ala carte and prime aged beef.. Very nice... Here's a little insight though - go on your (or someone else's) birthday. It does have to be the day of your birthday, and of course they card you! But It's 50% off the entire tab for you and a guest (not including alcohol, but does include any appetizers, sides, etc). I highly suggest the seafood platter and scallops for appetizers and the bone-in filet for an entree (not on the menu right now but I believe it's typically a featured item). My girlfriend's brother and I share the same birthday (January 4th) so our tab was 50% off for our party of four. Turns a $300 tab into $150 (well, plus the booze, so maybe it's still $300 but hey it's a lot more fun, lol!) Also next door is their dessert & cigar lounge, called La Dolce Vita. Very nice.

                    Anyways, Naya on is owned by the same owners as Bar Davani downtown. It's in Cascade, so you don't have to worry about parking and the like (it's located in the upscale Terrazzo shops on East Paris near Cascade Road - right near Bonefish Grill) Like I said, haven't had a lot of the dinner entrees yet, but everything we've had has been very good. Definately sit in the bar area as opposed to the dining room. It's a wine bar/bistro so the atmosphere is very inviting. Even if you don't want to hit a full dinner, go during happy hour and test out some of their great small plates (half off) and some very, very nice vino.

                    BTW, Anyone been to six.one.six in the new JW Marriott yet? Haven't seen too many reviews but the one's I've seen have been very, very good.

      2. m
        Mestralle Feb 28, 2008 04:21 PM

        I, too, greatly bemoan the passing of Gibson's, and I still have out-of-town friends that discuss that foi gras dish at length (and perhaps ad nauseum). My husband and I have only recently started eating out more often, as we've been through some start-up-business belt-tightening, but I was raised in Grand Rapids and have had a lot of experience with many of the area restaurants.

        I'm intrigued to try Restaurant Bloom, as is my husband (after I read the above posts to him). I did, however, want to chime in a little bit on a few of the mentioned restaurants.

        I've yet to dine at Naya, but I am very familiar with their executive chef (we grew up together), and I'm a big fan of Bar Divani. I agree that sometimes, restaurants try to diversify too much, and that can be quite detrimental to the overall experience, but I don't think that is what is happening here. I look forward to going to Naya soon, but as we live in the Heritage Hill area, it may be a while, as we just don't get out to the Cascade area that much.

        The reason I'm posting at all at the moment (despite lurking for some time on these boards), is that my husband just ate at the Green Well with a friend. He was generally unimpressed. He had no prior opinions of the restaurant, as neither of us had heard of it, and though he said he had a good meal (the Cuban sandwich), it was nothing memorable and quite overpriced. (He did not know about the eco-friendly spin on the whole place, though that wouldn't really sway either of us one way or another).

        I admit that I am still a bit of a "Grand Rapids nostalgia freak" in terms of a few places. I still believe that the best perch in town can be found at Sayfee's, and it's highly affordable. In fact, that's the most-recent place to which I dragged hubby - still great service and old-school menu items. If you get a craving for Chateaubriand or liver and onions (or, of course, pan-fried lake perch), and if you can deal with a decidedly "older" crowd, I still recommend it.

        I am also a big fan of the duck at Bull's Head Tavern (and of Bull's Head in general). Again, we're on a bit of a budget, and though I'm not opposed to spending the money when it's warranted, I have never subscribed to blithely paying over-blown prices because something happens to be "hip" or "new." (I do, however, always get slightly teary-eyed when I think of Churchill's, which used to be housed in the same building.) I should also add that the duck at Bull's Head is rapidly becoming a favorite of hubby, who has "issues" of pairing meat with fruit (I know, I know).

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mestralle
          nsxtasy Feb 28, 2008 06:50 PM

          Thanks for your additional comments! I just looked at the menu for Bull's Head Tavern on its website ( www.bullshead-tavern.com ) and I added it (along with the Chop House) to my list of places to try the next time I come to GR. I assume the duck dish you're referring to is their "Blackberry Chambord Duck Breast", which sounds very good. I look forward to trying it.

          I must add that, since you and your husband enjoy duck (as I do), the very best duck dish I have ever had in my entire life was at Everyday People Cafe in Douglas, about 40 miles from GR. You can read the detailed report of my dinner there at www.chowhound.com/topics/413534

          Thanks again!

          1. re: nsxtasy
            foie gras girl Mar 22, 2008 01:09 PM

            Has anyone been to HopCat yet?

            1. re: foie gras girl
              nsxtasy Mar 23, 2008 05:56 AM

              No, but from their website ( www.hopcatgr.com ) it sounds more like a bar/pub than a restaurant: "HopCat was envisioned and staffed with one mission in mind:to bring you great beer."

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