Feb 8, 2011

The Green Well Gastro Pub

My favorite! Steamed Mussels . roasted garlic . onions . citrus . real good beer .
chili flakes . toast points
The Green Well restaurant in the Cherry Hill district of Grand Rapids has been busy since its doors opened a few years ago. Whether it's happy hour on a Monday or dinner time on Saturday, this place is always a good bet if you want a livelier place to eat. I first visited the restaurant a few weeks after it opened in 2007. The chef recognized my party and he requested that we allow him to "just do his thing." One good dish after another came out of his tiny kitchen and
from that moment on, I decided that The Green Well was going to be my "go-to" restaurant. The service is always friendly, the food is always delicious and its neighborhood ambiance is as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold Michigan winter's night.

I invited the JW's new executive chef, Justin Dalenberg, and his lovely Brazilian wife, Roberta, to The Green Well to help celebrate their arrival to West Michigan from Aspen. Our server suggested the Breads & Spreads ($6.99) as a starter to our dinner. We were all starving and this plate was a good starting off point for the rest of the meal.

I have a soft spot for soup, and despite the fact that asparagus wans't in season, I went ahead and ordered the Creamy Asparagus soup to warm me up during one of the coldest days of the year. Unfortunately, the soup was too salty and I had to have chef Justin reassure me that it wasn't just my taste buds that were being too sensitive. A former boss of mine always told me to taste the restaurant soup (and the sauces) every single day to make sure that it was made perfectly. The restaurant chef obviously didn't taste the soup that night. Things like this happen even to the best restaurants so I didn't make a deal out of it.

A bowl of the Steamed Mussels followed, and unlike my previous dish, this one was delicious. So good in fact that I determined that it's one of the best mussel dishes I have ever had. I always use wine for my broth. Using "real good beer" certainly gave the dish some body and smokier flavor.

The rest of the menu items also garnered approval from our table. Both the Warm Spinach ($6.99) and Michigan Harvest Salads ($6.99) were full meals by itself. I like simple salads with two to three ingredients, but these salads are perfect hits if you prefer a variety of ingredients that are well balanced on the plate and on the palate.

Chef Justin, as a tribute to his wife, ordered the Brazilian Black Bean Stew ($11.99). He said it was delicious though it was more the American interpretation than the stews you would find in the streets of Rio.

As expected, Roberta was absolutely speechless about the Mac and Cheese ($16.99). How could anyone not enjoy this dish of corkscrew pasta, four cheeses, chicken, ham, peas, tomatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms and bread crumbs? My daughter, Margaux, swears by this dish.

My wife ordered the Fish Tacos. The corn meal crusted fish was moist and airy. After adding the guacamole, tangy slaw, pico de gallo, mojo, fire roasted salsa and lime sour cream, you're guaranteed to be satisfied. However, I would have preferred a spicier salsa accompaniment; but I  can understand why the restaurant would serve it on the milder side.

The biggest surprise of the evening was the pricing on the 2006 Silver Oak, Alexander Valley, cabernet sauvignon. At $69.00, this bottle is priced at $1 less than retail and not the expected three figures it would normally fetch at restaurants. So I didn't hesitate and I ordered a bottle for our table. The wine did not disappoint. It was big, bold and as our former chef would say, "bad ass."

Despite my soup, our experience was as pleasant as my previous visits. And if our new executive chef approves, then who am I to disagree.

2006 Silver Oak Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon. It was a steal at $69.00
The ever popular Mac and Cheese
Bread and Spreads starter
Warm Spinach Salad
Michigan Harvest Salad
Fish Tacos
Brazilian Black Bean Stew


Juan Cuatrecasas Asua said...

Great blog
I wish to link you to mine
It´s about wine
Please if you like it be my follower, like I have done with yours.
Great regards from Spain
Juan Cuatrecasas
Bilbao, Spain

great place to dine said...

For the bottle snob: their draughts are great, but if you're hoping for a more craft-centered bottle selection, you'll be disappointed. Much of their imports are big name breweries, and the craft bottle selection is all distributed by the big guys. For a place that aims to support local, this is off the mark.

filipino singles said...

I like The Green Well. We drove across town last month to get there because we wanted a meal that wasn't previously frozen or 'cooked' in a microwave. We got that AND so much more: a menu constructed around local foods, superb service, a wonderful atmosphere, very fair prices. The barbeque pork melted in my mouth. The polenta was creamy and light. The andouille sausage was just the perfect amount of spicy.

11th Hour Service said...

The individuals working for this company was great, our food server was so professional, nice, and best service I have had at any restaurant. The food was amazing, and I cannot wait to go back. Feels good to eat local foods. A good place to go for lunch meetings!