This lovely space along the Thornapple River formerly housed the Thornapple Village Inn / The Daily Grill for many years. The deck is still there but the old wood charm and cozy bar have disappeared. Instead, you are welcomed into a very open, modern sleek bar, with casual seating behind it facing the river, and a dining room to the right and to the left.
One of us had been here a few times before but this was the first visit for the two of us together. Last summer, Scott Bell, the event coordinator, had promised a tour when we were both here, and as odds would have it, he led us to our table today. Our year-old promised tour was provided.
The Thornapple River had flooded the lower level of the restaurant in April and the floor had just been re-opened the day before, finally eliminating the need for the outdoor port-a-potties. Although completely redecorated from its Daily Grill days, the lower level still holds its charm and offers two banquet rooms, one for about 50 people and the other more intimate for about 20.
The patio is a lovely setting with a wonderful view of the now receded river and the beautiful garden growing food for the kitchen.
It was a very late lunch and we joined one other couple in the dining room to the left of the entrance. We decided to start with tuna tartare (sashimi tuna, avocado, cucumber, spicy soy, wonton crisps, pickled chiles, wasabi). It was beautifully presented, and the pickled chilis were so delicious but for the amount of tuna, we would have liked more wasabi & spicy soy. And yes, we could have asked and we know they would have been more than happy to provide.
We bypassed the sandwich lunch menu and went right to the main course offerings, first up shrimp scampi (sautéed, herb pappardelle, broccoli, roasted garlic, bacon, classic scampi sauce). The pasta was perfectly prepared al dente, broccoli and bacon were crisp, sauce was light and exquisite, and we know we can’t get fresh shrimp in the midwest but these were fine, and everything is better with bacon...
Seafood pasta was our second dish (linguini, mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, garlic, shallots, fresh herbs, spinach, light tomato broth) and it was another wonderful dish. Again, the pasta was perfectly prepared and the tomato broth was light, mouth-watering delicious, and wonderfully complemented the dish. Mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops - wherever they came from - they seemed fresh and were well prepared.
Both portions were huge and on our way out we asked if lunch portions were available, and the owner assured us that we just had to ask.
A light soundtrack was playing easy/contemporary music low-key enough not to be distracting. Service was exemplary and the food is wonderful. We’re not going to talk about the personal history of the owner and the restaurant name, or the personal information formally displayed in one of the dining rooms. You can read about that elsewhere, or sit in the dining room to the right of the bar.
Happy hour specials and musical events are abundant so check out their website or find them on facebook. Ada is 15 minutes east of downtown Grand Rapids straight down M21/Fulton, so check it out, Grand Rapidians.