Friday, April 27, 2018

Citizen, 2115 Plainfield Ave NE ~ 4/27/18

Grand Rapids now has its own Tiki Bar and Restaurant and it is a cool little spot. Parking is around the back and you have to walk down the side of the building to get to the front door entrance.
There are back doors, and most restaurants with parking in the rear also have a rear-door entrance but not here.
The walk through is nicely decorated, complete with patio lights.
And the patio is now open for business, which should do wonders for their street visibility.
At lunchtime, customers are invited to seat themselves. It was wide open so we picked a table in the middle.
A padded bench runs along one wall, high-tops fill the center, and the bar is located on the opposite wall. The space is long and narrow, and creatively decorated.
There are 17 menu items divided into Small Chow, Big Chow, and Hand Held Chow. We really wanted to try everything on the menu but settled on Fried Peking Duck Spring Rolls to start.
The sweet chili mango sauce nicely accompanied the duck, rice noodles, carrots and onion. Both of our next selections came from the Hand Held column. The Luau Burger arrived with grilled pineapple, marinated red pepper, sliced onion, spicy mayo, and huli huli bbq glaze on a Hawaiian sweet roll. It was big and messy, but pretty tasty. Unfortunately, the burger was overdone, particularly on one side. To be fair, we didn't ask for medium rare nor did our server ask how we wanted it done.
Our second item was Banh Mi. It's not what you'd get at Ly's Sandwiches (4242 S Division) but it was decent and flavorful. Citrus marinated pork, herbed chicken liver pate, cilantro, pickles carrots and daikon with hoisin sauce glaze on French bread.
Of the three sides available with the Hand Helds, we chose spicy togarashi fries, and carrot and ginger salad (the third choice was smashed cucumbers).

The leftover boxes are superb (no styrafoam!) and the bill and receipt came as creatively as one would expect from this restaurant.
So we like this place, a lot, but think coming here for dinner is more interesting (or ordering from the Big Chow list). Thankfully, a group of us did just that a few weeks ago so I'm going to include a few photos from that visit just to round off this review. First of all, the cocktails. The reverse side of the food menu lists the alcohol selections: Tiki Bowls, Tiki Cocktails, Sake, Wine, Drafts, and Bottles & Cans. The cocktails are glorious to behold and even better to consume. Pictured here are Tiny Bubbles, Mai Tai, Little Grass Shack, Snowbird, and a weekend special, Tropical Negroni.
One of us may have poked herself in the face with that long piece of green vegetation in the Snowbird :-) We started with the Ahi Tuna Poke,
and moved on to Pork Belly Ramen, Green Curry Noodle bowl and Pepper Steak Stir Fry. They have a very good chef. Service is also superb (both visits).
You can see why dinner is so much more exciting than lunch (unless you're drinking cocktails and eating bowls of food for lunch). The restaurant opened last November and should not be missed! (P.S. They have a fun instagram account at #citizengr)

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