Monday, July 12, 2010
Six One Six, 235 Louis St, NW - 7/7/10
Located on the ground floor of the J.W. Marriott, Six One Six swirls around the front of the building and overlooks the Grand River. We’ve been here several times before and it’s always been a positive experience.
The restaurant is horseshoe shaped, and the decor is warm and tasteful. Open lounge seating along the windows greets customers first. From here, one moves into the bar or down a short hall, both of which coalesce into the dining room. The bar faces the river and has a few high tables for two right at the windows. It moves seamlessly into the dining room, which continues along the windows, contains a few center booths, moves past a chef’s counter with an open kitchen, and circles back to a small semi-private draped dining area. In addition, outdoor seating is available on what they call the “jdek”. The entire atmosphere is sophisticated and swanky.
From our table we could see the river and the restaurant’s garden. Like several other restaurants in Grand Rapids (e.g., The Winchester, Blue Water Grill), Six One Six emphasizes buying and serving local food, and this philosophy carried them into growing their own. At each of these restaurants, one is free to walk about the garden and look at the soon-to-be ingredients in your next dish.
The lunch menu is small, interesting, and creative: seven appetizers and eight entrees. We started with California Rolls: dungeness crab (west coast crab named after Dungeness, Washington), cucumber, avocado, and lemon mayonnaise. It came beautifully prepared and presented. The flavors combined wonderfully and the crab tasted fresh.
Our first main dish was the brick oven grinder: smoked ham, spicy coppa, sopressata, oregano aioli, and provolone, accompanied by a very attractive spring market salad. The sandwich arrived smoking hot and delicious. It had a subtle salty/sweet taste and was enthusiastically consumed. The salad was fresh and flavorful.
Our second selection was the wild ramp and morel quiche that was prepared with dancing goat creamery chevre. When asked where they were getting morels in July, our server thought that they had been preserved in some way, maybe pickled (I guess we could have asked the same thing about ramps). Accompanying the quiche were some mixed greens: mud lake cress, trillium petite lettuce, and icicle radish, with a little balsamic dressing. (If you’re unfamiliar with some of these descriptors, it’s because they are names of local farms, noted for chemical-free product.) The quiche was exquisite. The fresh goat cheese blended superbly with the eggs and it was cooked to perfection. But the mixed greens were made too bitter by the cress; cress tends to become that way during the heat of summer, and we’ve certainly had plenty of that recently.
Service was satisfactory. When our server figured out that we were leisurely diners, she stopped coming by every five minutes but remained professional and friendly. Park in the J.W. Marriott parking garage and the restaurant will validate your ticket. Multiple menus are online along with additional information about the restaurant. But you should sample this ambience in person.