Andrea and I celebrated our anniversary several weeks late (it wasn’t my fault) by spending a night at the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids. I had walked through the hotel before and marveled at the impressive sitting room – chandeliers, a fountain, a huge robotic dinosaur that breathes fire and snatches up small children. Very good stuff.
We also took advantage of our location to eat at the 1913 Room. Ranked Five Diamonds by AAA, it is one of the best restaurants (if not the best) in the state. It has also been ranked as the most romantic place to eat in a local magazine, so I thought that was a good choice for a post-anniversary dinner.
The dining area was elegant. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe a restaurant, but that’s the most fitting description. Low lighting, more chandeliers, soft music piped in – very nice environment. Chuck E. Cheese it is not.
The only bad part of the evening was that we had the worst table in the restaurant, near the entrance to the kitchen and the bathrooms, so people were walking all night wondering “What did those two do to get this awful table?” Next time we eat there, we’ll be sure to request any table except that one.
Being a fancy restaurant, we weren’t served a big plate of food and told to dig in. No, fancy restaurants serve lots of small courses to keep you wanting more. You’ll have to excuse the blurriness and darkness of the pictures – I took them with an indoor setting and didn’t use a flash, which probably wouldn’t have been appreciated by everyone else having a nice dinner.
This is a mahi mahi shot. It was served cold and reminded me of sushi without the rice and difficult eating utensils. This course was followed shortly after by the roll tray. Yes, we got to pick which roll we wanted, and we got to pick more than one. I went with an anise seed roll and a Kalamata olive roll, both good selections. Andrea picked the focaccia roll and something that looked like pita bread.
For the next course, the appetizer round, we ordered “A Symphony of Appetizers”, because you can’t go wrong with something name a “Symphony.” That included (from left to right) duck rillettes, foie gras, tuna, a lobster cake, and butternut squash panna cotta. (As I typed this, my spellchecker was going crazy – there were lots of words it didn’t know.) Everything was excellent, though I liked the lobster cake the best.
To get a better description of the items, see the 1913 Room menu.
Round three was a blueberry and lime sorbet served in a bowl atop a small stand that reminding me of the Stanley Cup. The teeny tiny spoon forced me to savor this mid-meal dessert, and it was not too tart, not too sweet.
Now, the big deal, the main course, the entrée. I ordered the grilled mahi mahi over risotto. Whew, that was good. Andrea ordered the Dover sole, which Ian the waiter said had been on the menu for nine years. That was also very good, and the most tender fish I’ve ever eaten. If you are looking for recommendations, I suggest either one of those, but I give the mahi mahi a slight edge.
To go with it all, we split a bottle of the Saint-Veran pinot grigio. Like any good waiter, Ian knew what wine went best with our entrees, and it was a nice pairing with our meals. And since we finished our bottle, we didn’t need to ask to have it re-corked. That wouldn’t have worked anyways – it was a twist-off top.
The final round: dessert. I ordered the Nougat Napoleon which, as I now view the menu online, is not there anymore. Ian wasn’t kidding when he said the menu changed – we were just there a week ago! In any case, it was layers of chocolate will little puffballs of nougat. Andrea had the Milky Way with reminded me of a Drumstick. We were both given little “Happy Anniversary” sugar plaques, since we were there celebrating our anniversary.
And best of all, dinner only cost of fifty-four cents! You just can’t beat that deal. I suppose I should admit that our room package included a $200 credit at the 1913 Room, so our dinner was included in the room. What was nice is that we were upgraded to a suite overlooking the Grand River and the museums on the west side of the city.
We will at some point return to the 1913 Room – it earned it’s Five Diamond ranking, and it was quite an experience to enjoy such a great meal in that environment.