Some Reservations

Recipes.Rants.Reviews

Tavern on the Square Review

on January 27, 2011

Tavern on the Square

Location:

100 Ionia Ave

Grand Rapids, MI 49503-4115

616.456.7673

Hours:

Monday – Sunday,

11:00 am – 2:00 am

My co-workers and I headed to Tavern on the Square for lunch on a Wednesday. We arrived just after 12:30pm to find a rather light lunch crowd. We were greeted instantly by our friendly host and shown to our table.

Our immediate first impressions was this place was warm and cozy, clean, not too loud, good music (bonus points for playing Live Jackson 5)…kinda posh lounge-meets-16th-century-colonial-house. Just go with me on this one. Not too cluttered and had a very friendly atmosphere. Once seated our host came down to our level to give us an overview of the menu and go over the specials. Our waitress arrived promptly and was very friendly, she took our drink order and then pointed out some of the highlights of the menu. We had ample time to look over the menu, and if you are looking for a Downtown GR spot for lunch, you are not going to find a better menu. The Tavern on the Square got it right for lunch. Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, and a few sides. Thats it! Thats all a lunch menu has to be, if those things are executed well, there is no need to flip through endless pages of overly excitedly named appetizers and over sized dinner portions on your already time crunched lunch hour.

We placed our orders, collectively the table ordered the Blackened Chicken Sandwich w/Fries, the Turkey Burger w/Fries, Half a Troppo Salad and Half Applewood Turkey Sandwich. While waiting for our order the waitress brought out a complimentary bowl of Sweet Potato Chips, nice touch! These were crisp, well seasoned and not too oily, a good addition for a lunch snack.

Our food arrived quickly and looked great. First the fries, they call them Carnival Fries, and the waitress explained that they are hand cut everyday and made to order. These are some seriously awesome fries. For being hand cut they are the perfect size, not too big, they are seasoned and fried excellently, I wonder if they are fried just once at high temp or if the use the double fry low temp/high temp method, they had a great texture, crispy on the outside but still tasted like potato on the inside. If you do make it here, please do yourself a favor and order the fries.

The Blackened Chicken Sandwich was ordered by my co-worker and I was proud of her for this order, her lunch orders are always predictable, so to see her step out of her apple and walnut salad realm was good. She loved this sandwich, said no flavor was too overpowering, it had a mild and smooth taste and that the toasted bread added a nice texture and complimentary flavor.

I ordered the Turkey Burger, I don’t eat red meat, but love a good burger, so I am kind of a Turkey Burger expert. Even if you are a red meat fiend, this is one of the best burgers around. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, every bite was moist and almost dripping, the cheese was melted over the entire burger, and was a good sharp cheddar, the Brioche bun was warmed and a great choice for this burger. My current first place Turkey Burger is the Weber Grill, and this was just as good and 1/3 of the price.

My other co-worker ordered the Half Salad and Sandwich. She said the Troppo salad was good, she really liked the addition of fresh avocado to the salad, and said the dressing was really good. The Applewood Turkey was as good as a classic Turkey sando can get. Thick-cut bacon, good turkey and even better bread, thick and moist.

Now to be fair and sample the entire menu, of course we ordered dessert. We got the cookie skillet, and had to wait about 15 minutes for it to come, because they bake the cookies fresh while you wait, top them with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate and a cherry. Now seriously how could you screw up a dessert like this…and they didn’t. The cookies were great, it seemed to be a brown sugar heavy dough, and it almost tasted like they brown the butter before creaming it with the sugars. Adding nuts to the top of this would be a good addition to play off the brown butter flavor.

Overall Tavern on the Square was excellent, and a new favorite lunch spot for sure. Friendly service, laid back atmosphere, great prices, seriously great prices. They haven’t gotten out of control like some of the other GR lunch spots. This is an excellent addition to the already great GR restaurant scene, I can’t wait to come back with my wife for dinner. Bottom line if you are looking for a great lunch downtown, don’t want to spend a lot of money and quality and flavor are important to you, get to Tavern on the Square.


Tavern on the Square on Urbanspoon

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