Thursday, May 18, 2017

Butcher's Union, 438 Bridge St NW ~ 5/18/17

It's been open less than a year and we first visited back in February. We liked it even then. Just don't try to enter through the middle door.
This is the old Monte's Lounge reborn into a very cool restaurant. The dining room and bar run front to back, side by side, and have an old speakeasy feel to them. (The owners, who owned Monte's, also own O'Toole's, now with outside seating, and have sold Rockwell/Republic on Division.)
A portion of the ceiling in the back was cut out to create a courtyard and we were happy to see it coming last February,
but we were happier to be sitting in it today, and charming it is.
There were 11 tables for 4 out there and it is much nicer than sitting at the few tables outside on Bridge Street with the cars driving by.

The menu changes with the seasons and we saw some items we remembered from last time but others were new. Here's a quick run-down from our February visit: Caribbean Spiced Meat Pies, Smoked Pastrami, and a BBELT (bacon, bacon pate, egg, lettuce, & tomato). All were superb, especially the Meat Pies, and our service.
Fast forward to today, and we started with the Mild Mannered Meatballs served over Polenta. We couldn't get enough, especially of the Polenta. The meatballs were nicely seasoned and not overly salted.
Next up was the Summer Strawberry Romaine Salad with Chicken, sprinkled with quinoa and covered with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette. All in all, a wonderful and fresh combination.
This is a meat and whiskey place and while we held back on the whiskey this time, we didn't on the meat. Here are the Double Cheeseburger and the Smokehouse Barbeque Pork sandwiches.
The burger was not ordered to taste (not asked, not requested) and came medium well but was still juicy with tons of flavor. The apple barbeque sauce and cole slaw made the pork sandwich a delicious mess but the side of snap peas was a mistake as they were not chewable. When they get older, they get more fibrous so that was unfortunate.

Just in case you were wondering, here is your whiskey list, from back in February. That list remains for another night.
Your tab comes with a postcard, which is cute but I'm not sure how many postcards are still used these days.
The dining room doors open to the street, which we love. You're almost outside.
This is a great atmosphere with excellent food and service, and blue skies smiling.
Butcher's Union Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fusion Dish, 400 E Division St NE, Rockford ~ 5/12/17

This is not the easiest place to find or it may just be the fault of failing GPS. Either way, the restaurant is located in a strip mall just off Wolverine Blvd (M-44) and the signage is small.
We finally honed in on the location and were happy we persisted.
We thought it might be counter service when we first entered but there was a server working the small room. There were four tables for 2-4 along each side wall and a table for 8 filling the center of the room. A 7-page menu greeted us, with the last page containing the lunch specials. There were two pages of appetizers/soups, one with dinner selections, one with noodle selections, one for fusion cuisine, and one listing beverages with a brief kid's menu.
They have an interesting way of updating their menu :-)
As is our way, we had to start with hot and sour soup. It came in an interesting bowl and was more than adequate but lacked the requisite tang that makes the hot and sour soup from Wei Wei Palace & Beijing Kitchen the best you will find in Grand Rapids.
The dumplings (Gyoza, Hong Kong pork dumplings) were typical, not extraordinary, but nothing to complain about.
The lettuce wraps, however, were extraordinary. Very flavorful and we could easily have consumed two orders.
Our first main dish was Thai Sweet Chili with Pork, spice level 6 (1-10). Fresh and spicy!
Next was Thai Fried Noodles, spice level 4, and this photo says it all. It was delectable.
Last up was Peanut Noodle. The 'crazy good peanut sauce' ended up being sweeter than expected due to the coconut milk (not listed in the ingredients) but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Finding the restroom is quite an adventure. Walk down the hall, follow the homemade signs, and end up in their kitchen, in the one male/female restroom in the place. It was an interesting journey.
There might be an issue with some of their electrical work. This was found on both sides of the restaurant. But maybe that's totally kosher.
The place does a big to-go business and has been here for several years, according to our server. Decor is mostly tasteful, the food and service are good, and the atmosphere/set-up is a little strange. But the large menu has plenty to choose from so it's worth a trip, if you can find it.
 Fusion Dish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Garibaldi, 3375 S Division Ave ~ 7/22/16

This place is not the easiest to locate but the food will make it worth your while. From what we could find, this is the third location for this restaurant, all of them being on Division (1627, 2850). When we hit 34th Street we knew we missed it, so we circled back and took a turn down this driveway.
The entry was less than welcoming and we couldn't tell if it was even open.
It was, and we saw this huge old space that was mostly empty, populated here and there with businesses, some shuttered, some manned. But we found what we were looking for.
There were a few people in the place and we picked a table and checked out the counter menu that had not too many English translations (know your Spanish).
Gorditas were our choice, along with a guacamole start. And this guacamole, chunks of avocado, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro, was accompanied by homemade pita bread chips. It was a great beginning!
It looked like a family business and the food was made and served with care. Nothing was rushed and everything was obviously homemade.
The rice needs special mention as it contained chopped vegetables and had more flavor than you'd find in most (any?) Mexican restaurants. The steak gorditas were just as great. We loved this food located in a place that shares the space with two other ongoing businesses.
We'd like to come back to try the pupuserias and more from Garibaldi but the venue is a little iffy. We wandered through the "mall" on our way out and it was eerie.
It looked like a multi-purpose space but with no people around today.
So check it out if you want some great, homemade food in kind of a shady space where people will stare at you and you'll be looking over your shoulder. Garibaldi does have its own entrance if you want to skip the empty mall walk, and like we said, the food is fantastic.
Garibaldi Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato