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.
Sushi Kuni's decor is a fitting preamble to its cuisine. Blond woods complement pillars that take inspiration from shoji screens, eloquently easing diners into a Pacific mindset. Once there, they find plenty of surprises. Along with the requisite sushi, sashimi, and Japanese entrees implied by the surroundings, a full menu of authentic Korean dishes shows off the skill of the restaurant's chefs. Beef dumplings in bone soup can share table space with stir-fried squid and veggies. Then there's the emphasis on healthful culinary traditions. Whole-grain, organic, gluten-free, and vegetarian options cater to guests with dietary restrictions as well as those eager to venture into unexplored culinary territory.
Most diners won't need to travel far beyond the expansive sushi menu. Grilled yakitori skewers and teriyaki-glazed chicken appear alongside more than 50 rolls filled with everything from red snapper and mozzarella to lobster tempura and avocado. And for the traditionalist, a variety of fresh sashimi arrives to tables on a carved wooden bridge, which serves as both a symbolic crossing between chef and diner as well as a practical crossing for tiny people who have to cross tiny rivers.
Cherries from Michigan bedeck rainbow trout from a farm in Harrietta. Mrs. Dog’s Disappearing Mustard, from Grand Rapids, drapes across sausage made from lamb raised on a family farm in McBain. Though many of the ingredients at Bar Divani are local, the chefs draw culinary influences from around the world. They dunk Bay of Fundy salmon in walnuts and apple horseradish relish, and combine dollops of aged cheddar-cheese grits with small plates of cajun-spiced black tiger shrimp. The trio of lamb sliders prance through a range of flavors, from sweet cinnamon honey yogurt to pickled carrot and pistachio butter.
The earthy scent of simmering bourbon barbecue sauce suits the warmly hued dining room, where light dances off rich wooden accents. An illuminated wine cellar showcases 40 varieties, allowing patrons to find the ideal pairing for any dish or discretely cheat through the Wine Connoisseur Weekly crossword. Servers cut among bronze columns beneath exposed-brick walls, leaving a wake of aromas that hint at alligator and exotic grains of paradise as they visit curved booths swaddled in ornate fabrics.
January 30, 2013 was a big milestone for the team at Cranker's Restaurant & Brewery. The date marked the release of their first-ever bourbon-barrel-aged beer, appropriately titled the Barrel #1 Bourbon Porter. But Cranker's taps were no strangers to innovative beer or the high-pitched squeals of happy pint glasses. The brewery had already racked up awards at the World Expo of Beer for their Professor IPA, Crankenstein Amber Lager, 5th Voyage Coconut Porter, and Honey Kolsch.
That last brew, the Honey Kolsch, is the beer of choice when ordering a basket of Cranker's fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce. Indeed, the bartenders and servers are always happy to make beer-pairing suggestions for their homey entrees. For Detroit-style coney dogs, for instance, they recommend their Bulldog Red Irish Ale. Or if diners show up early, they pour Oakenshield Stout to go with eggs, sausage, and other breakfast staples. They also have the perfect substitute should diners want a less potent beverage: a cool glass of homemade root beer, either served by itself or as a float.
Hailing from Haiti, owner Chez 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 plate ward with a siren song of spices adjusted to please patrons’ palates, as well as chicken, multicolor bell peppers, and onions bathed in a juicy red sauce with white wine ($7.99). The goat ragu similarly sates with savory goat meat, mushrooms, onions, and a side of white rice ($10.99).
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.