The Ramona's Table menu is filled to the brim of the page with sandwiches, salads, wraps, and breakfast items that are never frozen and always made fresh to order. Wrap your mitts around the mighty sandwich list, including the eponymous Ramona ($8.45)—spice-rubbed chicken or steak, greens, and bruschetta on a French roll—or the Venetian Swing ($8.45), with its sliced ham, brie, tomatoes, and apricot-wasabi dressing on a gondola of sourdough. Ramona's Table also boasts an impressive selection of grilled-cheese sandwiches, with 10 variations to surprise even the most jaded of turophiles. Sandwiches come with a choice of roasted redskin potatoes, kettle chips, homemade coleslaw, or a salad. Make greens your meal with a Michigan cherry salad ($5.95), containing mixed greens, dried cherries, and feta, or add a sea to the mix with the Mediterranean salad ($6.95), offering peppers, cucumbers, onion, feta, and olives on a bed of spinach and romaine. Breakfast, served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday, boasts a creative selection of skillets ($6.95), quiches ($6.95), and other morning fare.
Under the culinary captainship of executive chef Erin Jeffers and chef/owner Dan Weiskopf, Olive's Restaurant & Bar treats diners to a seasonally changing menu that emphasizes local ingredients and dynamic flavor compositions. Invoke the power of the color deities with green goddess hummus ($9), or kick off a mouthy Mardi Gras with New Orleans fried green tomatoes, crusted with cornmeal and served with Creole shrimp remoulade ($10). Disarmingly named "whimpy burgers" ($9), a trio of two-ounce sliders gives taste buds beefy bear hugs with a combination of bacon, blue-cheese aioli, and onion jam, while pan-seared skate ($18) does a perfectly palatable triple axel on the tongue. A truncated lunch menu does away with the entrees but adds an enticing selection of sandwiches to meet daytime appetite demands.
The Michigan Brewers Guild wanted something very specific when it turned 15: it asked the state’s breweries to concoct a 15th-anniversary ale for its summer beer fest. Chef and home brewer Amy Sherman, host of Great American Brew Trail, went behind the scenes at the celebration, where she interviewed local breweries’ staff members about their celebratory brews. Reports like these are typical of her show, Great American Brew Trail, for which she travels to microbreweries across the country and unveils the creative and culinary processes behind beer.
Brick walls and fireplaces surround the nautical-themed dining area of Great Lakes Shipping Co. Restaurant & Tavern. During warmer months, the casual steak and seafood house opens its large outdoor deck that allows diners to pair meals with the melodic tweets of nearby birds. Executive chef Thomas Verlin's menu showcases fresh lake catches such as breaded perch alongside oceanic fare such as Australian lobster and Alaskan king crab, often accented with simple sauces, pastas, and cue cards that let the entree speak for itself. Thomas also lassos hand-cut slices of prime rib, new york strip, and tenderloin fillets onto dinner plates and wrangles juicy burgers and sandwiches to satisfy lighter appetites.
Chefs at Zen Asian Bistro and Sushi serve up Asian-fusion inspired dishes. Behind a full sushi bar, experienced chefs delicately bundle together sushi rolls of eel, cream cheese, veggies, and salmon. Asian-fusion entrees such as spicy mongolian beef stir-fried with green onion complement Western classics such as a rye-bread patty melt topped with swiss. As beer glasses click together, big-screen TVs overhead keep patrons updated on athletic events or the weatherman’s 70-minute-long attempt to pronounce “atmospheric.”
Hailing from Haiti, owner Olga Benoit blends fresh, preservative-free ingredients to craft authentically colorful and flavorful Creole and Caribbean dishes. The signature dish of Creole chicken lures mouths plateward with a siren song of spices adjusted to please patrons’ palates, combining chicken, multicolor bell peppers, and onions bathed in a juicy red sauce with white wine ($8.99). Instead of mouth combing waters for a fill of krill, divers in search of offshore sustenance can plunge into a bowl of gumbo brimming with shrimp or chicken in a bath blended with spices and served with an island of white rice ($9.99-$10.99). Handheld fare can be found with the fried-plantain sandwich, blending savory chicken or beef with sweet, creamy fried plantains, served with spicy coleslaw ($7.99). Diners can temper the heat of each dish with a plethora of island-inspired potables, such as blended papaya and passion fruit ($3.99), or stave off food comas with a cup full of Haitian hot coffee ($1.50).
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.