The chefs at Wrought Iron Grill design dishes that are artfully executed down to the last detail. Take, for example, the housemade sauces and soups that are made fresh daily, or the veal demi-glace they make to flavor hand-cut, marrow-encrusted filet mignon. They also take care to incorporate local ingredients, coating wild-caught scallops with Michigan morel mushrooms and flash-frying fillets of Michigan perch.
Housed in the five-story brick structure that once held Woodard Furniture Company, Wrought Iron Grill's decor harks back to the building's industrial past. Flooring reclaimed from a welding room tops the bar, and 110-year-old windows hang over the heads of bartenders as they pour Michigan beers and mix drinks such as signature bloody marys garnished with spicy Mandingo pickles, 45th Parallel asparagus, and jumbo shrimp. Live bands often play atop the building's loading dock, allowing singers to be conveniently wheeled away after they've finished performing.
At first glance, Courtside Cafe looks like your average café, with gourmet sandwiches, daily specialty soups, and coffee drinks. But then you look bit closer at the menu and see that it's not so ordinary.
It delights taste buds with unusual housemade soup offerings, such as creamy asparagus, sweet-potato peanut with ham, hungarian mushroom, and lasagna. Many of its paninis arrive on grilled caramelized-onion rolls, brioche, swirled rye and more, and its inventive housemade aiolis—such as curry, sun-dried tomato, and lemon-cayenne—add flavor to a variety of sandwiches. Vegetarian and health-conscious options are also available, including a newly added black-bean burger and the garden safari vegetable wrap.
Refined new New American flavors meet international culinary influences at Red Cedar Grill, which fills its menu with familiar classics as well as re-imagined staples. Much like the closets of celebrity dogs, the menu rotates seasonally as the chefs search for freshly harvested produce and other newly available ingredients throughout the year.
These ingredients can lend their vibrant flavors to dishes such as the spice-rubbed cuts of filet mignon and new york strip steak, the chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, or the salmon flavored with a sweet-and-spicy combination of bourbon, ginger, and honey marinade. The chefs may also use the ingredients in fusion-inspired items, including a Mexican-style poutine featuring sweet-potato fries glazed with mole sauce, queso fresco, and salsa verde.
Meals pair with beers from Michigan breweries and artisan cocktails made using spirits from Michigan distilleries. The wine list even incorporates a handful of Michigan wines alongside its selection of bottles from as far away as Australia and Italy.
The cooks at Sparta Grill Coney Island fill their dense menu to feature something for everyone with breakfast omelets, gyro plates, and char-grilled new york strip steaks. They grill third-pound burgers and crown them with slices bacon and cheese or gyro meat, feta, and tzatziki sauce. Dinner favorites include crusty chicken pot pies served with mashed potatoes and gravy, as well as healthier meals such as chicken salad plates paired with cottage cheese and seasonal fruits or greek salads taped to a running treadmill.
Blondie's Barn is never open past 3 p.m., but the kitchen team still manages to whip up three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and brunch. The breakfast classics run the gamut from huevos rancheros to a chocolate-chip waffle topped with chocolate drizzle and countless dollops of whipped cream. For lunch, there's plenty of sandwiches, such as a pulled-pork wrap or a burgers. Then there's brunch, when diners are welcome to eat anything they'd like, including their tables.
Pressing one’s ear to the rim of a beer glass at The Watershed Tavern & Grill’s bar, one can almost hear the small waves lapping against the shores of nearby Lake Lansing. The white Christmas lights strewn across the ceiling similarly evoke the outdoors with their semblance to a starry night sky. The owners of the cozy neighborhood pub didn’t have to look far for the inspirations behind this décor—Lake Lansing Park, with its lush trees and notoriously hungry lake monster, lies just across the street. Additionally, strains of music from live bands and DJs can be heard most evenings, adding to the bar's welcoming atmosphere. Though many visitors stop in thanks to the pub’s proximity to recreation as well as to Michigan State University and downtown Lansing, signature menu items such as the Shed chips ensures a steady stream of regulars. Seasoned, fried, and served with chunky blue-cheese dressing, the homemade sliced russet potatoes remain a staple, as do the home-style chicken Parmesan and spicy buffalo chicken wrap. The all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar is also a crowd-pleaser, offering crisp leafy greens and warming soup pours. High-definition televisions line the pub’s dark hardwood walls, causing draft brews and stacked sandwiches to teeter as Spartans fans slam their tables in celebration of touchdowns and strategic timeouts.