Mill Creek Tavern, 3874 West River Dr NE, Comstock Park - 5/26/10
This very comfortable, casual restaurant is divided in two by a narrow hall; it used to separate the smoking bar area from the non-smoking room. We had lunch in the long, narrow bar that features a very lovely, old wooden bar, wooden booths, and about fifteen tables of various sizes. Big groups can be accommodated with a very large half booth and several large tables, and a more intimate setting can be found in one of the high-backed booths. The dark wainscoting shows some wear as does the wood floor, but both add to the charm. Five TVs are strategically placed throughout the room, and interesting, old photographs (sports, Grand Rapids, and more) adorn the walls. Restaurant interior photos can be found on their website and are much better than any we took today.
It was fairly crowded when we entered and it looked like mostly neighborhood patrons with a few business groups. Three servers were handling everything, including the bar. They worked cooperatively as we were helped at various times by two of them, both friendly and polite. The young lady who ended up being our main server was the doppelganger of Kristin Chenoweth, although we don’t know if she can sing (we’ll just leave it at that).
Our appetizer selection was Southwest egg rolls: black beans, chicken, and corn, wrapped in phyllo dough, and deep fried. The menu stated they were served with salsa but they came with chipotle ranch sauce. When we inquired, our server was surprised that salsa was listed because they “never serve that with the egg rolls”. She brought the salsa anyway - very thick and spicy - but the chipotle really did work better. Salsa overwhelmed the great flavors of the egg rolls. Phyllo dough by its very nature is light and these egg rolls were an excellent choice.
Next up was the Mill Creek burger, ordered medium rare, and with fries. Unfortunately, it came medium well. Every accompaniment was good - bacon done just right with melted Colby cheese blending with the haystack onions. Fries were thick, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and lightly salted - fine fries. Too bad about the burger.
Our other item was the Mill Stack: roast beef sauteed with mushrooms and bean sprouts, topped with melted mozzarella and served on a ciabatta square. It was a good meal; the beef was tender and the bean sprouts added an interesting, crunchy texture. Ciabatta was fresh. Homemade potato chips were included and they were over fried, many of them actually had a “burned” taste.
Service was prompt and attentive but not rushed. Dinner and lunch menus vary slightly, and both are online. None of the items will surprise you except for maybe the mussels. Most items are under $8.00 with dinner going a bit higher. The menus we were brought at lunch time listed the website as www.millcreektavern.com - not quite. You will find them at the site listed below. The group that owns Mill Creek also owns a few other bars/pubs, J. Gardella’s, Bull’s Head, Walker Roadhouse, and more. We’re fans of all three, by the way. Next time you’re near Fifth Third Ball Park, try this neighborhood restaurant/bar and enjoy a warm, friendly, pub atmosphere.