Bistro Chloe Élan mirrors the cultural melting pot of America itself—and the result is a mélange of regional dishes from around the country and the globe. New chef Ryan Bolhuis came to the restaurant with all the inspiration he could carry from New York City, where he trained at The French Culinary Institute before making his work known in the kitchens of highly rated Nobu Fifty Seven and Michelin-starred The Modern.
Bolhuis' menu is built on a foundation on proteins that include Artic char, scallops, and beef filet, each arranged beneath a colorful explosion of seasonings and garnishes. Shareable small plates allow diners to compare notes on lime-scented shrimp ssam, and large plates pile truffle mashed potatoes atop cuts of grilled bison strip loin. Not only do these dishes pair with an eclectic wine list, but they're also served in a space that, like an evening gown sewn from a burlap sack, seamlessly blends rustic and elegant notes. In the main dining room, bare light and dark wood tables sit beneath hanging geometric light fixtures, and the restaurant's other venues offer equally modern accents, both indoors and out.
Cherie Inn has treated Grand Rapids residents to European-style breakfasts and lunches since 1924, and it shows. The century-old building's original tin ceilings glint above a dining room filled with Stickley furniture, vintage artwork, and mugs of Kona-blend coffee. In the kitchen, chefs greet the day by crafting crab-cake benedicts, cranberry-walnut french toast, or the three pancakes, two eggs, and array of breakfast meats that make up the Lumberperson breakfast, which is served only to customers who can prove their grandmother was deciduous. At lunchtime, Mediterranean-style tuna salad and french-dip sandwiches play a savory prelude for chocolate-chip biscotti, house-made lemon bars, and other light desserts. The menu also caters to vegans and vegetarians with dishes such as vegan sweet-potato hash and a hearty veggie sandwich with herb cream cheese.
At Brandywine's casual eateries, an appealing explosion of framed photos and artwork greets guests as they sit down to their morning breakfast or unwind over a leisurely dinner. Chefs warm up the kitchen in the a.m. by cracking dozens of eggs into veggie-stuffed omelets, eggs benedict, and hearty breakfast burritos stuffed with black beans, fresh cheese, and chorizo. During lunch, patrons can pop in for sandwiches and wraps, including a corned-beef reuben or the Northender wrap—a collection of deli-sliced beef with grilled mushrooms, horseradish mayo, and peppers. For dinner, Brandywine's chefs show off their multicultural influence in dishes that blend Caribbean, Asian, or Greek flavors, including the chili-rubbed Norwegian salmon or fettuccine tossed with sautéed capers, artichokes, and black olives.
Sheshco Mediterranean Grill's chefs skillfully prepare a comprehensive menu of authentic Lebanese and Mediterranean recipes. Plates carry bounties of chicken shawarma; beef or lamb sautéed with mushrooms, cilantro, and garlic; and smooth, delectable dips such as hummus and baba ghanouj. Other selections include lentil soups, fattoush salads, shrimp kebabs, and freshly squeezed juices.
At Cobblestone Bistro, chef Eddie Sanders crafts an eclectic, seasonally rotating menu that makes the most of fresh ingredients available from Michigan’s local suppliers and growers. The menu ranges from inspired entrees ($12–$20) such as a Trotter steak, an 8-ounce sirloin lavished with blue cheese and yucca fries, and shrimp chili rellenos, shrimp- and cheese-filled poblano peppers with tomatillo sauce and black bean relish. Classic bistro sandwiches ($6–$10) offer choices such as The Italian, a combo of prosciutto, sopressata, romaine lettuce, green tomato, provolone cheese, and italian dressing on ciabatta bread, or the barbecue pulled-pork sandwich, cooked in a special Carolina barbecue sauce on a toasted kaiser roll.
Beneath the baked bread and vegetable du jour of Restaurant Toulouse's signature cassoulet, pork sausage and duck confit stew with great northern beans, bacon, carrots, onions, and tomatoes into one simmering pot of flavor. The cuisine includes onion soup and a medley of pan-seared scallops and mushrooms smothered in gruyère cream sauce. Bartenders also mix up an extensive assortment of cocktails, including Kahlua- and tequila-spiked coffee or the French Connection, a slowly stirred blend of cognac and amaretto over ice. Wait staff serve these feasts in a refurbished turn-of-the-century building replete with art deco–style posters and a wood- and screenplay-burning hearth, as well as a heated, enclosed patio.