Saturday, July 9, 2011
Ramona’s Table, 2232 Wealthy, East Grand Rapids - 6/27/11
Walk into the restaurant and you are greeted by a menu board on your left, and a counter straight ahead. A first-time visit to this style of restaurant is always a little confusing and a few minutes are needed to sort out the procedure. We were disappointed it was an order-at-the-counter restaurant but we were glad we stayed.
A host noticed our hesitation and immediately provided us with menus and pointed out the specials on the wall. That was a nice touch. Usually we are left to flounder until we sort it out. There was no one in line behind us so we could take a few moments to scan the board and the menu.
The woman taking our order was friendly but business-like and told us our order would be out shortly, and asked us to take a seat. Luckily there was one table still open. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of the dining area, and the noise volume was unbelievably loud.
The room holds about twelve tables and they are fairly close together. The wood paneled walls and hard wood floor are nice to look at but don’t absorb any sound. In general, the atmosphere is modern and clean, and old black and white photos dot the walls. A fireplace is featured along with an outdoor patio. In nice weather, the patio probably more than doubles their seating space.
Without appetizers to choose from, we both started out with the soup of the day, white bean chicken chili soup - lovely to look at and better to eat. It was nicely seasoned and not over salted.
Before we were finished, our sandwiches arrived, neatly presented in round metal trays with a paper lining. Out of the many interesting sandwich offerings, our first pick was the Derby Racer. Tender roast beef and melted cheddar cheese arrived on a french roll with grilled onions, tomatoes, and horse radish sauce. The horse radish was perfectly proportioned for this excellent sandwich.
All items are accompanied by either kettle chips, cole slaw, a deli salad, or redskin potatoes, all house-made. We didn’t take the time to examine the displayed deli salads and took the redskin potatoes for the Derby Racer and the cole slaw for our second sandwich, the Adult Grilled Cheese. Both sides were satisfactory but the seasoned potatoes were a standout.
Aged cheddar, provolone, and American cheese make up the Adult Grilled Cheese sandwich and it was topped with fresh tomatoes (not sure where they’re coming from “fresh” this time of year) on San Francisco sourdough bread. It’s not for the fat-calculating, cholesterol-watching diner but it was cheesy-delicious.
The aforementioned host was ever-present and as the place cleared out we could finally hear each other speak. These are obviously hard-working restaurant people with plans afoot, according to their website, for an expansion.
Your visit won’t be a fine dining experience but it could be with their catering and pairing with Martha’s Vineyard for private parties. They emphasize locally produced ingredients and house-made food, and are ecologically savvy; our leftovers came in a paper bag. Open for breakfast and with a creative menu all around, the restaurant is worthy of your attention.
You can like or follow them on facebook and twitter, respectively.