Restaurant Week GR: Our Top Ten Healthy Picks

BruschettaHitting the town for Restaurant Week Grand Rapids? The annual celebration of creative cuisine is back with a focus on fresh, local ingredients artfully prepared. Perfect beverage pairings from Michigan breweries and wineries add a new dimension this year to complement each course.

The event, which runs August 13-24, is a fundraiser for the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. There are over 60 restaurants participating, with most offering three courses for $28.

With so much delicious food to choose from, we took a look at the menus and narrowed it down to our top 10 restaurant picks for creative and inventive fare that won’t set your healthy eating goals back too far. We even narrowed it down and helped you choose the healthiest options for each included course. Okay, the desserts might not all perfectly fit in the “healthy” category, but the occasional treat after a healthy dinner is good for the soul.

Happy – and healthy – eating, Grand Rapids!

Blue Water Grill Start with either the chilled cucumber soup or cherry tomato salad. Move on to the grilled garden vegetable kabob served with a smoked gouda fondue and end your evening with a summer trifle – Palazolo’s mango sorbet, pineapple coconut sauce, and macadamia nut cookie crumbles.

Charley’s Crab Chilled gazpacho will nicely set the stage for cilantro lime shrimp with Cajun rice and fresh salsa or lemon tilapia served with a Michigan blueberry-corn salad and mashed sweet yam. Savor the night with fresh local berries atop vanilla bean crème brulee.

Flat River Grill The heirloom tomato stack or grilled peach salad provide a nice, light start whether you’re feeling savory or sweet. Keep it light with baked whitefish and squash, tomato, and golden beets served with a lemon mustard sauce. Top it all off with apple cinnamon gelato.

Grand Rapids Brewing Company An inventive combo of fresh watermelon, mint, red onion, and feta sets a healthy stage. Up next: choose the grilled marinated shrimp served with faro, sweet peppers from the farm, parmesan cheese, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet corn. For dessert, panzanella featuring raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries with Nantucket Bakery Tuscan bread tossed in a sweet mint cream dressing and drizzled with dark chocolate crème anglaise sounds heavenly.

Grove There’s no set menu at Grove as it changes every week based on which ingredients are in-season and fresh, but some of their sample menu items – think salmon ceviche, Visser Farm beet salad or spring vegetable panzanella, and a number of healthy seafood options – make us confident this Uptown neighborhood favorite won’t disappoint.

One Trick Pony Chilled carrot coriander soup or a summer salad with organic mixed greens, Michigan berries, Ferris pecans, and champagne vinaigrette will get you off to a good start. For your second course, opt for the French cut free range chicken served with roasted redskin potatoes and farm-fresh green beans. Finish with a vegan raw berry tart.

Osta’s Lebanese Cuisine You can’t go wrong at Osta’s. Choose the hommous, baba ghanouge, or tabooli salad to start. A house Lebanese salad won’t leave you too stuffed to enjoy the Chicken Tawook or Beef Shawarma, both served with Hashwi rice and warm pita bread.

Shiraz Grille All the starters here sound refreshingly fresh – choose from a cucumber, tomato, and feta salad, cool and creamy yogurt and cucumber soup, or a summer fruit salad with yogurt and mint. We’d go for either the peachy Persian chicken or vegetarian Gheymeh, which is yellow split peas and eggplant cooked in a rich and savory tomato sauce with Persian rice for course two. End on a cool note with cucumber lime sorbet.

Six.One.Six Go for the heirloom tomato soup with pickled local beans or tuna poke terrine with radishes and Yuzu aioli. Parisienne gnocchi comes with roasted heirloom tomatoes, pearl onions, celery hearts, fennel broth, and fresh basil. A blueberry almond cake rounds out the meal with some sweetness.

Terra GR Dip raw summer vegetables and crostini in the red beet and white bean dip to start. Choose either the heirloom tomato and watermelon salad or the miso kale salad as your second course and indulge in the smoked heirloom tomato gigli pasta with homemade pasta, charred peaches, goat cheese, basil, scallions, and sarvecchio.

Wipe the drool from your mouth and call your friends! You’ve only got 12 days to experience all this healthy deliciousness. Visit Experience GR for a list of all participating restaurants and more details about the week.

Photo credit: Food Thinkers

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