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» SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Widest variety of beers, crack fries.

your Mom loved beer.” That’s specifically true for HopCat’s beerbar cheese, cheese ale soup and porter braised beef, but mom would also love the Hippie wrap (it’s vegetarian), the crack fries (they’re not real crack), and the Killer Mac and Cheese. Because what mom doesn’t like mac and cheese?

J Bar 20 Monroe NW. 616-356-2000 STEAKS. Oft-awarded as Grand Rapid’s top steakhouse, featuring grass-fed beef selection plus an ample selection of seafood, chops and house specialties. Extensive wine cellar and tastefully upscale ambiance that’s comfortable rather than stuffy.

SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Closed on Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Choice-cut prime rib, 10-oz. Baseball Filet, 14-oz. Top Sirloin.


J. Gardella’s Tavern 11 Ionia AVE SW. 616-459-8824 TAVERN. A popular Grand Rapids nightspot, J. Gardella’s is conveniently located next to Van Andel Arena. The architecture and decor is much like that of a Chicago tavern, complete with wood floors, an embossed metal ceiling, brick walls, and hand-carved moldings.

SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Low priced beverages, large portioned meals, selection of single malt scotches and microbrews.


JD Reardon’s Bar & Grill 940 Monroe Ave NW. (616) 454-8590 AMERICAN.

Neighborhood pub offers 15 Michigan beers on tap and more bottled, along with a full menu of handmade appetizers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and 16 half-pound burgers. Nightly drink specials and karaoke on Tuesday night.

GO THERE FOR: Burgers. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days.

Louis Benton Steak House 35 Ionia Ave NW. (616)-45-GRILL STEAK. Grand Rapids’ premier steak house offers a variety of different steaks, along with soups, salads, seafood and starters. This fine dining restaurant also has a variety of drinks and desserts to choose from and valet parking.

Lunch and Dinner. OPEN ON: Closed Sundays. GO THERE FOR: A good steak.


Lumber Baron Bar 187 Monroe Ave. NW. (616) 774-2000 LOUNGE. Settle into the warmth and charm of this historic bar – complete with a fireplace, leather club chairs and a large selection of premium drinks and appetizers.

» SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sundays and Mondays GO THERE FOR: Scotch or Brandy after a

Symphony concert.

Maggie’s Kitchen 636 Bridge St. NW. 616-458-8583 MEXICAN. The storefront restaurant on GR’s west side has quietly built a reputation

» SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: T W Th F Sa Sn. GO THERE FOR: Tex-Mex.

Marie Catrib’s 1001 Lake Dr. 616-454-4020 ECLECTIC. The East Hills eatery has one of the most hard-to-categorize menus in West Michigan, but this line from its website begins to do it justice: “a twist of Lebanese, a hint of Yooper and yen for unique pastries.” Everything is made from scratch with local ingredients, and there are plenty of items suited for vegetar- ians and vegans. Get there early for lunch, as there is almost always a wait.

Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Salads, soups and sandwiches.

Mixology 235 Louis St. NW. 616-242-1448 LOUNGE. Casual, upscale service and atmosphere allows guests to relax and enjoy the city views. This type of service allows guests to complete business tasks while still enjoying the accessibility to great food and libations.

» SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Specialty cocktails.

» SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON:

as one of the best places in town for authentic Mexican food, especially its tacos and breakfast items like huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled eggs with onions and jalapenos).

The Muze 925 4 Mile Rd. NW. (616) 608-4506. AMERICAN. Warm and contemporary ambiance with natural wood and silver metals. Five levels, plus a large outside deck. Come on Wednesdays for two for one wet burritos – one of the best burritos in town.

» SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN

ON: Closed Sundays GO THERE FOR: Smoked pulled pork and ribs.

Olive’s Restaurant 2162 Wealthy St. SE. 616-451-8611 ECLECTIC. The Gaslight Village restaurant is a mainstay for Easties looking to have a cocktail and casual dinner. The menu is surprisingly broad, with innovative starters (e.g., Napoli fritters, Paella cakes) and diverse entrées like Southern meatloaf, braised short ribs and mobu tofu.

Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: A broad selection. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON:

Ottawa Tavern 151 Ottawa NW. 616-451-8000 AMERICAN. Downtown hot spot for lunch and happy hour, featuring varied entrées and a “build-your-own burger” menu with more than 50 toppings to choose from. As name suggests, OT has a tavern casual feel, with lots of plasma big screens for watching games. A favorite during March Madness for downtown business people. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Build your own burger.

Grill Your Veggies to Perfection A

PART FROM MOSQUITOES, ants and sunburn, grilling season is just about the perfect time of year. And while many conjure thoughts of short ribs slathered with sauce when they think of barbecue, the start of summer holds opportunity for delicious dishes for herbivores, too.

Because of the size and shape of many vegetables apart from, say,

corn on the cob, being tossed on a standard grill is akin to being thrown directly into a fire. And cooking your veggies evenly without scorching them to carbon is quite another task. There’s hope, though, and it comes in several forms. Jousting a line of mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and

cob-lets with soaked shish kebob sticks has long been a trick of the vegetable griller, but new flexible grilling skewers offer an even better option. “They keep the vegetables centered on the grill so the heat is uniform

and they cook evenly,” said Annica VanderLinde, a salesperson at Art of the Table in Grand Rapids. The flexible skewers, offered by the Firewire brand, are stainless

steel and allow a range of movement that not only exposes more of the vegetables’ surface area to the heat, but also flexibility when space on the grate is hard to find. Curly skewers formed from hardened metal are also a valuable item

in vegetable grilling. While they aren’t designed to be handled as kebobs fit for a single person, they keep vegetables in place, exposing them evenly to the heat and can be flipped easily halfway through cooking. They’re larger than single skewers and can handle more items but do take up more space on the grill.

When it comes to cooking loose vegetables on a

grill, placing a griddle or grate with smaller perforations on the grate might be necessary. “I have one and it works really well with asparagus,”

VanderLinde said. Art of the Table offers one such model that is half textured

griddle and half grate with half-inch holes. “There’s also a lip on the edge to keep items from falling off into

the grill,” VanderLinde said. As veteran grillers know, while letting those veggies sizzle, you’ve no

doubt a bottle or bowl of your favorite marinade by your side. Application on kebab stick, pan, griddle or grate might vary in frequency, but an essen- tial tool in any situation is a good basting brush. VanderLinde recommends the silicone variety over fiber—not only are they easier to clean, but they’re heat resistant to a higher temperature. “You’re probably not going to lay it directly on the grill, but if

you do, they won’t instantly burst into flames,” she said. There’s something uniquely primal about grilling over an

open flame, and for that reason, many barbecue enthusiasts resist the urge to benefit from modern technology. If this fits your BBQ M.O., perhaps you’d rather stick with a casing of tin foil for your cooking method. The trick is to keep the vegetables from sticking back. Add few tablespoons of oil and maybe some spices before you wrap up your items and in a couple minutes you could even eat right off the grill. n — Matthew Russell

FLEXIBLE SKEWERS (such as Firewire) help you grill veggies like a pro.

76 | REVUEWM.COM | JULY 2011



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