Christine Gill's New American restaurant, 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. Christine has 29 years of restaurant-industry experience from around the country—from Washington DC to Arizona to Michigan—including owning and operating the Sierra Room in downtown Grand Rapids.
Executive Chef Mike Kehl bases his menu on proteins such as salmon, bison, beef filet, and red snapper, arranging each beneath a colorful explosion of seasonings and garnishes.
Not only do these dishes pair with an eclectic wine list, but in the bistro's dining room, their aromas mingle with another element: music. Live musicians provide the soundtrack for brunch and dinner Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Throughout the summer, a special dinner series focused on regional cuisines—from Caribbean to Appalachian—features band performances on the lawn.
Like an evening gown sewn from a burlap sack, the bistro's design seamlessly blends rustic and elegant. A mismatched collection of light wood and dark black tables gather beneath modern, geometric light fixtures, some of which dangle strings of crystals. A small, square fireplace warms the room, contrasting with the cool silver of an undulating wine rack that stretches across one wall.
Voted Best Chef by the readers of Grand Rapids Magazine, Eric Chaitin, executive chef of all three restaurants, oversees an edible empire emphasizing creativity and customer service. Take your taste buds on a dream date to The Grille and ponder its sophisticated menu, which entices eaters with wood-fired pizzas, hearty pastas, and meaty marvels such as a Wagyu New York strip ($18.95). Rush Creek Bistro's menu slays cravings with an eclectic assortment of sandwiches and rib-sticking entrees, while the menu at FireRock Grille includes shrimp ($9.95) and steak ($15.95) that can be cooked on a 500-degree FireRock like those used by Stone Age tailgaters before the first Super Bowl. Each menu changes seasonally, accentuating locally grown, seasonal produce and fresh meats. All three locations feature scenic country-club views, outdoor dining, and bar areas for debating with strangers over which of the Founding Fathers had the nicest singing voice.
At Quick Wings, traditional and boneless chicken-wings sate appetites with 21 different sauces. Flavors include chipotle BBQ, garlic parmesan, and teriyaki, as well as varying degrees of spicy, which range from mild to lava. Also available are chicken wraps and sandwiches, burgers, and fish sandwiches, alongside fries, onion rings, and fried cauliflower.
The Kitch'Room stresses the importance of local agriculture with a focus on farm-to-table seasonal ingredients sourced exclusively from Michigan. Chefs prepare all dishes from scratch, such as pulled pork 'n' beans and top-round steak with cauliflower purée. Because the menu changes just about every day, a chalkboard lists current selections, sometimes causing diners to furiously solve mathematic equations. To further commit to local agriculture, the restaurant hosts a dinner spotlighting a regional farm every other Tuesday night.
At Centennial, links enthusiasts tee off on a private, par-70 course designed with the secluded beauty of a country idyll. The tree-lined course boasts a slope rating of 132, as well as wildflowers, gently rolling hills, pastoral ponds, and roaming gangs of staff-wielding shepherdesses. An included golf cart makes zipping from hole to hole a much more pleasant experience than riding around on a golf partner’s buckling shoulders. The country club, which prides itself on its friendly employees, maintains a dress code of golf shoes with soft spikes and slacks, shorts, or skirts that are no higher than 4 inches above the knee. Call ahead to schedule a tee off, as the course is sometimes reserved by golf leagues, club members, or live-action role-playing games about golf.
Rock Fire Grille fills grumbly stomachs with classically prepared American fare, complementing an eclectic array of steaks, pastas, and pizzas with a stellar wine list. Diners can watch their meals being meticulously prepared in Rock Fire Grille's open exhibition kitchen, an experience far superior to viewing an episode of Top Chef and eating the TV screen at the end. The restaurant's expansive menu begins with seafood-infused appetizers, such as beer-battered, coconut-crusted shrimp ($8.95) and pan-seared Maryland crab cakes ($9.95). When the main course rolls in, treat taste buds to the Sienna chicken penne, served with sundried tomatoes and spinach and tossed in a creamy parmesan sauce ($14.95), or the bacon-wrapped pork fillet ($15.95) with a smidgen of pineapple salsa. Pizza purveyors can bite voluptuously into the wood-roasted mushroom pizza, with melty feta cheese, savory bacon, and spinach on four-cheese bread. For dessert, discuss your status as the Statue of Liberty's husband-to-be over a slice of Julia's New York cheesecake, drizzled with wild berry coulis ($6.95).