Monday, December 19, 2011

Cherie Inn, 969 Cherry St - 12/1/11

Anyone who has lived in Grand Rapids for any length of time knows this restaurant, and it’s a very cool little spot. You will find it where Cherry, Lake, and Diamond streets converge in the East Hills business district, and it’s open for breakfast and lunch (closing at 3pm, and closed on Mondays). 
Cherie Inn claims to be the oldest restaurant in Grand Rapids (opening in 1924) and it occupies a building that’s at least 100 years old. It’s divided into two long, narrow dining areas, and we love the eclectic setting, complete with tin ceilings, camouflaged restroom doors, and a small art gallery. 
Since there weren’t appetizers with which to start, we defaulted to the soup of the day and were happy we did. Tomato Florentine soup came with chunks of tomato, celery, carrots, pasta, and a nice dose of thyme.
We were here last March and remembered the Cherie burger as being amazing. Delivered once again medium rare as ordered, and on a pretzel roll with provolone cheese and kettle chips, this burger has to rank among the best in Grand Rapids. It’s topped with lettuce, tomato, french friend onions and cajun mayo. If you would like more fat and flavor, you may also add bacon.
Our second selection was a special of the day: a roast beef wrap served with wasabi mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and cheddar cheese. On the whole, we don’t go for “wraps,” and don’t even like the name. But this time it was a winner. The flavors were beautifully balanced and the sandwich was very wrap worthy. Wasabi mayonnaise was the magic ingredient.
Our server was wonderful - the perfect blend of good service and great personality. We have not visited the restaurant for breakfast but it seems to be a love or hate thing based on online reviews. 

We learned from an online video that the owner (since 1997) pronounces the name Cherie with the accent on the second syllable, and not “cherry.” Now you know.

The restaurant is very interactive on Facebook, where you can also see their specials. Otherwise check out their website at
Cherie Inn on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rush Creek Bistro, 624 Port Sheldon Rd, Grandville - 11/8/11

What used to be open to club members only is now open to the public. The bistro is located in the Sunnybrook Country Club and if you use your GPS, it won’t be hard to find, even in the rain.
The entrance brings you into a large dining room with booths along one wall and tables elsewhere. We walked in and seated ourselves in a booth; there were several other tables occupied. A waiter came up to us and said we should seat ourselves in the bar area.  Hmmm - was it the clothes? The non-golfer look? Whatever it was, it was the most unwelcome greeting ever.

We moved into a booth in the bar area, which is a good-sized L-shaped room adjoining the dining area. The decor everywhere is tasteful and subdued, and the windows everywhere overlook the golf course. Our server here was much friendlier and told us that the dining room was closing, which explained the bum’s rush.
The menu is large and looks like it is trying to be all things to all people: a couple of interesting appetizers, pizza, pasta, seafood, chicken dishes, an enchilada, meatloaf, pork tenderloin, steak, and shepherd’s pie. That’s pretty diverse for one kitchen but maybe it’s due to catering to the country club set and their families.

We picked the crab-stuffed mushrooms for our appetizer and did not go wrong. The crimini mushroom caps were filled with Alaskan crab stuffing, fresh lemon and herbs, and topped with Chablis cream sauce. The crab and mushroom flavors were enhanced by the lemon but remained distinct and not overwhelmed by the sauce. A perfect pick.
Our first entree was the chicken cavatappi: grilled chicken on a bed of pasta with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms, and topped with a light Alfredo sauce and parmesan cheese. Pasta was al dente and the dish was a taste delight.
Shepherd’s Pie on a menu is usually irresistible and today was no exception. It was a beautiful thing to behold, and to consume. The hearty stew consisted of ground lamb, beef, carrots, spanish onion, garlic, and a house blend of fresh herbs and spices. It was wonderfully topped with creamy whipped potatoes.
Both dishes were served with garlic toast and an efficient and informative server. When the bar dining area was invaded by very loud, obnoxious golfers fresh off the course, our server semi-apologized for them and explained that they think they own the club (they are members) and were not used to sharing it with the public. That’s too bad as we didn’t enjoy listening to them shouting about who won and what the losers owed. 

The food was good, the ambiance is pleasant, the golfers indoors were unpleasant, so take your chances. Watermark Properties owns this and two other country clubs, each of which offers a restaurant open to the public. (We had a taste of Fire Rock Grille at the recent Wine Beer & Food Festival). 
Wine, Beer, Food Festival
You can also find them on facebook.
Rush Creek Bistro on Urbanspoon