Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reserve, 201 Monroe Ave NW - 4/3/13

This was its first week open for lunch (other than during ArtPrize) so we were happy to be there. Regardless of your feelings about the DeVos family, the restaurant is worthy of a visit. ‘Open Water,’ the 2009 ArtPrize winner (pictured first in its original ArtPrize location), after spending some time in the Art Museum, was purchased by Dick & Betsy DeVos and now hangs beautifully in this restaurant. 
We enjoyed a dinner here last year and partook of the lovely wine bar and charcuterie offerings. But lunch time is different, and the menu reflects that. It’s small, creative, and emphasizes locally obtained ingredients.
To begin, we ordered ‘Bacon Jam with Warm Bread’ - yes, Bacon Jam :-) along with ‘We Can Pickle That,’ which featured winter root vegetables in a pickled state. Both were so interesting and a treat for the tastebuds.
We selected our sandwiches accompanied by Potato Soup (with spicy guanciale & rosemary oil) and the soup was the standout; we wanted to take some home. The roast beef and lamb reuben sandwiches were delicious, as was the fried perch, but the perch sandwich was too large to eat as a sandwich and had to be de-constructed before consuming.
Added to that, we had to happily try the ‘Pork Fat Fries’ with garlic mayonnaise - recommended if you’re not too afraid of occasional tasty fat.
Service was very attentive and a little obsequious, but customers were light on this day and employees outnumbered them. A bored hostess stood nearby waiting for customers and willingly answered our questions about the restaurant.

The menu will be ever-changing and take-out is available. There is a small and somewhat hidden outdoor deck (far left in photo) that we will visit if summer ever arrives. So check it out, Grand Rapids.

Update:  6/1/13 Visit

 Reserve on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Green Restaurant, 2289 East Beltline Ave NE - 3/6/13

This sign is what first led us to Green Restaurant - we had to find out what this was and half-expected to find someone selling meat out of the back of a refrigerated truck.
But this is what we found instead: a clean, neat restaurant with about a dozen tables for two or four, and a juice counter that seats about thirteen, featuring two TVs. Green is tucked in between Noodles & Co. and Biggby Coffee, and adjoins Noodles, with whom they share restrooms.
So what’s different about this place? Several things, the main one being that the food is mostly organic. No factory-farms are supported by this restaurant, and although it’s not vegetarian, the menu serves only free-range, grass fed animals. Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are also available. The best news is that all of the food is free from hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and herbicides, and locally sourced. Restaurant materials as well as the food are environmentally friendly.
We started off with gluten-free chicken & rice soup, which was quite flavorful and delicious. It was perfectly balanced for us being light on chicken and heavy on vegetables and rice.
Next, we had to go with the unusual burgers. The Chipotle Bison Burger with house-made chips was a success (tasty, juicy) but the Elk Cheese Burger less so. The description sounded wonderful: tzatziki sauce, feta, lettuce, tomato & onion. But the huge quantity of feta overwhelmed it all. Additionally, the napkins are small and thin, and entirely inadequate in handling the burgers. 
But that won’t prevent us from stopping in again to support and enjoy this very interesting restaurant. Lunch specials are posted, and calories are provided for food items. Check out their creative menu online and stop in soon for an intriguing meal. Find more information on their Facebook page.

Edited: As of November 2013, the restaurant obtained a liquor license and has a full bar available.
   Green Restaurant on Urbanspoon